It was mostly a trip to memory lane: Billy Talent, Hammerfall, Alestorm, Bad Religion, Skillet, KoЯn, Baroness, Agnostic Front, Battle Beast, and Annisokay whose singer couldn't make it, so it was replaced by Caliban's. Oh and also Bring me the horizon, which somehow managed to:
- have horrible soundcheck;
- painfully loud even wearing ER20XS,
- saturated (!!!) the speakers,
- gave the vivid impression that the singer was doing playback
- had songs where the two guitarists and bassist were simply walking on the stage.
- Cherry on the top, the effects on the singer's voice were sometimes cut a bit too early, outing him as a surprisingly weak singer.
As usual, Powerwolf was still an immense pleasure to witness, as well as Gloryhammer. Electric Callboy was a nice surprise: it was fun to hear what modern metal is sounding like those days, and it's always welcome to have bands bridging gaps between musical genres: here between metalcore and electronic music.
Weather-wise, rain on Wednesday and Thursday, and blazing heat the remaining days: Quechua 's Fresh & Black tents were a welcome innovation to the world of traditional oven-like ones.
I was curious about what a Swiss festival would look like, and wasn't disappointed:
- 20CHF to park a car, 8CHF per shower, 10CHF deposit per trash bag, VIP/GOLD/EIGER/MONCH/… tickets (no clue about what those meant: I took the regular ones), "camping claims" to reserve your camping square in advance, 2CHF for a locker, pay to get a deployed cardboard tent, … welcome to Switzerland!
- No bottles/cans allowed on the festival, albeit tetrapak up to one liter were allowed. I still have to find a beer brand coming in paper bricks…
- "Crowd Surfing, Wall of Death, Circle Pit" were expressibly forbidden, but happened anyway.
- Reusable cups and dishes, with a deposit, meaning that the trashcans were surprisingly empty.
- People with a green "Hunter and Gatherer" t-shirt, collecting litter, to whom you could donate your cups and dishes, effectively giving 2CHF per item to the Greenfield Festival Foundation. Those volunteers were given a 3 days pass for free in exchange of 3 hours of collect per day.
- A lot of food shops, which I didn't make use of, relying almost solely on an amazing vegan kebab one, since it provided the best ratio tastiness/price/quantity.
- Everyone speaking perfect English (contrasting with the weirdly translated website), and often French as well, making it hard to brag with my German skills, since they recognised my accent.
- Strict bold "no-drugs policy" that was of course completely unenforced.
- Clean and non-smelly toilets, albeit one could, for 2CHF per person and time, use privates "clean toilets in a quiet atmosphere". No idea what this meant, I used the regular ones.
- A quiet/counselling/… area, by Metal Church by the local protestant cult, as well as a chapel ("The tent chapel is decorated with a beer can cross on the outside."),
- A traditional Medieval Swiss Market
- "The age restriction to attend the festival is 16 years. Adolescents under 16 are only given entrance to the festival if the legal representatives approved so. You have to bring a signed participation approval with you to the festival’s entrance.", along with a strong recommendation about not bringing kids under 8 years old. So this wasn't really a family festival, which was weird, because the Hellfest has pogo/wall of death/… yet is family-friendly.
- One of the main sponsors was a cigarette manufacturer: ads in a couple of places, an entire lounge, people selling cigarettes on-site, … meaning that there were a lot of smokers/smoke.
- Took place in a valley, surrounded by beautiful mountains all around.
- Everyone came by train, in a couple of hours ride.
Annoyingly, the festival was riddled with minor technical hiccups, both on-stage (sound issues, weird soundchecks, …) but also for attendees: I had a 2 days ticket (Thursday and Friday) but wasn't allowed to plant my tent on Wednesday, so I had to buy a Saturday ticket at the entrance to do so. Speaking of camping, a "quiet area" would have been nice: we were sleeping between two large groups of people who took turn blasting music all day (and night) long.
All in all, it was a nice ~small festival (one main stage, and a super-tiny one), affordable, with a decent lineup, and without any major hindrances/issues. Would recommend if you'd like to attend a smaller/bubble-wrapped version of the Hellfest.