749 words on Haldern
After writing about the bands at the Haldern festival on Friday and on Saturday, let me finish with a short sum-up. A festival is about the music, the people – both those who came there with you and everybody else and the general environment and organisation.
The festival’s environment was a big problem this year. While Haldern is generally idyllic – nicely situated in the calm countryside like most festivals – and thanks to its small size (I’ve heard the number 7000 people – but I really can’t guess this type of thing) comfortably set up – letting you park your car just next to your tent while still having reasonably short ways everywhere, there was also the weather.
And that was mostly rain. I am not really and outdoors person. My love for the big outdoors quickly vanishes when it’s rainy or cold. And that’s what the weather was like mostly. Like in late October or so. It’s just bad luck I guess and there wasn’t much we could do besides drinking it away. And there were of course the consequences of the rain. Mud in all places that loads of people passed, with the organisers’ trick of putting saw-dust on the ground only giving short- term relief. Mud on your shoes and trousers as well. At least once you had gotten the mud on there, things didn’t get worse…
Surely the festival would have been better in sunshine. I just can’t deny that. Sunshine makes it more likely that you’re willing to go, sit down on the grass and listen to a band which you consider to be so-so. Luckily everything else was good enough to keep the whole experience a good one.
As for the whole organisation. The festival worked well. Sure, there could have been more and better loos and everything. But that’s just what you expect. Some people apparently had trouble with some security guys – but everybody was friendly to our group, so we can’t complain. The things that used to be better in previous years (according to my memory at least) were the food stalls which seemed a bit more expensive and having less choice and quality. While that’s pretty common for festivals as well, I considered Haldern to be the place where even the food was better.
I also thought that the T-Shirts they made this year weren’t as good as last year’s, which are quite thick and have a nice feel. This year’s felt thin and cheap in comparison. A shame.
This was the first time I’ve been to Haldern with a big group. That was great. Although it probably caused us to spend a bit more time hanging around at the tents instead of listening to bands than we initially planned, it was good and fun. Having many people also meant we could take more food, drinks and equipment with us. Fried eggs for breakfast!
But what’s remarkable about Haldern is that the rest of the audience is nice as well. People are better behaved (in terms of noise in the morning, hitting you while in the crowd in front of the stage, puking on tents, …) and most notably more open minded than people at other festivals. People are also more knowledgeable about music than elsewhere. So that was great as well.
But the most important thing remains the music. To me at least. And with the line up being great this year things couldn’t go too wrong. Predictably I liked Franz Ferdinand and Mando Diao. But I had seen them before, so that wasn’t too much of a surprise.
On the other hand there were bands like Kaizers Orchestra (get their new EP at iTMS – 4 songs for €2 can’t be too wrong) and British Sea Power whom I knew before but didn’t pay too much attention to because their records were on the slightly boring side. They treated us with great gigs that won’t be forgotten soon.
Then there were solid performances by bands like The Coral or The Robocop Kraus which were very enjoyble. And finally there was Emiliana Torrini, the (not quite) hidden diamond of the festival.
Yup. I liked it and will be back.
Numerous links regarding the festival that I found on the web. A few long reports, some short reviews, some blog entries and also photo sites. Enjoy. There are also a few photos on Flickr, but not many that aren’t mine.