1st May – far too early in the morning: time to head for Groezrock. After an everlasting journey on six different trains we finally arrived in Belgium.
On the way to the festival we even came across the first band, Atilla. Although they were looking a bit lonely next to the road they surely rocked the stage.
After spending quite some time in queue to get the camping tickets and to finally enter the area I had the feeling that I really am there. Groezrock. The tent was set up quickly so we could head for the pre-Groezrock-acoustic-show.
It wasn’t so easy to find this so-called “stage” as it turned out to simply be four wooden boxes pushed together. Nevertheless I’m pretty sure this pre-festival-session was my highlight during the 3 days in Meerhout. On this stage everyone capable of handling a guitar could play a song. But not only amateurs took the stage. Darren Johns from Crazy Arms and Wil Wagner from The Smith Street Band gave a taste of what we could expect from their upcoming performances. After about four to five hours in the cold the “stage” finally closed down and the first day at Groezrock was over.
An awesome acoustic show with many great artists and amateurs aswell as meeting new friends is the best way to start the festival.
2nd May – the real beginning: The first band we checked out was ASTPAI who are fellow Austrians. Despite the rather early time (they played at 12 o’clock) the delivered a great performance which was concluded by the singer stage diving.
To be prepared for the rest of the day we decided to get hold of some food. Although I’m not a vegan I decided to give the food a shot. “Just like Mom’s” had prepared one of the most awesome burgers I ever got to eat. During the entire festival I never ate anywhere else.
The next band to see right from the front row were The Menzingers. To be honest I didn’t know any of their songs so they had the chance to surprise me. However, the band didn’t catch me. I mean they did a nice job but the sounded just like 20 other bands, there was nothing special. The last song they played was one of the covers I saw at the acoustic stage the day before – I prefer that version.
The Menzingers were followed by The Lawrence Arms. They did a decent job but I have to say they sounded better on their record than the did live.
After taking a little break we where back in front of the stage to see The Descendents perform. These rather old guys had so much energy the completely took the stage and really entertained the audience.
The next band to hit the stage was Brand New. They were the biggest disappointment of the festival to me. I always liked their songs but live they were a catastrophe. There were so many effects on their songs it sounded like an hour-long interference causing a tinnitus.
However, the last band of the night totally made up for this: NOFX. They totally rocked the stage and electrified the audience. They were another highlight to me.
3rd May – freezing up: From the very beginning the weather wasn’t to good but after having about five sunny minutes it got really cold. But that’s no reason to lose the good mood.
The first band to see this day were River Jumpers. They showed a lot of energy and did a great job. Unfortunately I only got to watch about half of their show as they were scheduled the same time as The Smith Street Band. They also did a rather nice show but the singer had more power when playing the acoustic stage.
The next band I caught a bit of were The Casualties. They were just as loud and fucked up as we expected them to be so we decided to eat some lovely vegan burgers instead of watching their entire show.
After getting our stomachs filled Snuff was to take the stage. They on the other hand delivered a great show.
It wasn’t long until the next band I decided to check out, Screeching Weasel, played their show. They also did a solid performances.
Next we went to see Crazy Arm who’s singer we got to see at the acoustic stage. They were my third highlight of the festival. He managed to transfer the energy he showed on the little stage to the big one, better that Wil Wagner did. They animated the crowd and despite the rather cold temperature everybody had a good time.
The last band for us before we finally called it quits were the Hives. Compared to many of the other bands you could clearly see that they are used to playing huge stages and animating and entertaining the crowd. The singer Pelle Almqvist constantly engaged in a conversation with th audience while most of the other bands didn’t really communicate with the crowd at all.
A few things about the festival in general: Everyone who is used to bigger festivals like Southside or NovaRock will be surprised how clean everything (especially the toilets) are at this festival.As this was my first festival I can’t make any comparisons but may of the people I talked to said that once they’ve been to Groezrock they wouldn’t want to go to any of the big festivals anymore. Groezrock is very visitor friendly. The prices are acceptable for both food and drink. As we are talking about it I have to say one more time how delicious the food was. A huge variety is offered and especially the vegan food surprised me. Another huge plus point is that all the stages (except for the very small Macbeth stage) were canopied. It feels like they care about the visitors and not just about making money.