Entering the Pannonia Fields on Sunday took a lot longer than the other days due to the amount of people that seemed to be leaving. We finally got to the Red stage in time to see part of Less Than Jake’s set. Chris DeMakes on vocals and guitar joked about camera men “not getting paid a lot and not getting laid a lot” before inviting one of the shutterbugs onto the stage for a song. What we saw of their set was full of energy and the crowd seemed to be loving it.
The whole atmosphere on the Sunday was very relaxed with a lot of groups sitting around the stages even when bands were on throughout the day. It was the hottest day of the festival and the water stations had queues all day long. There weren’t many shaded areas available and even in the press area where there was some shade, everyone was looking a little fatigued.
Next up were Enter Shikari and those who still had the energy left were definitely ready to party. With incredible energy given the heat, Rou Reynolds danced about the stage, jumped on the amps at the front and fulfilled the reputation that they always put on a good show. Opening the set with one of their newer songs, “The Sights”, showed how relevant they still are as most of the crowd were singing along. Enter Shikari are definitely known for their unique sound and their slightly eccentric performance definitely mirrored that.
After a short break, there was a slightly unusual act to follow. Passenger, a one-man acoustic artist who even joked when introducing himself that he is “probably the least rock and roll act ever at Nova Rock” which made the crowd that had gathered laugh. Throughout the set Michael Rosenberg made jokes about only having one hit song, “Let Her Go”, which he saved till near the end, although there were lots of people swaying and joining in throughout the entire performance. Making the time to talk to the crowd, he also joked about his stage name Passenger sounding like an actual band and that “I’m such an arsehole no one wants to work with me so it’s just me and a guitar”, which again received laughter from the crowd.
Billy Talent were up next and despite our photographer not being allowed to photograph the band as his name wasn’t on the list, we stuck around to check out the Canadian punk rock quartet. Opening with “This is How it Goes” from the band’s debut album instantly got the crowd revved up again after the more mellow band that had been on the stage previously. The second song of the set was “Devil in a Midnight Mass” with the crowd bouncing so much a plume of dust was kicked up at the front of the stage, the mud from Thursday now having completely dried out.
During the band’s hour and 15-minute set they managed to fit in a whopping 18 tracks including some of their most well known such a “Devil on my Shoulder” and “Fallen Leaves”. During “Rusted from The Rain”, Benjamin Kowalewicz on lead vocals took the time to bring out the band’s original drummer Aaron Solowoniuk to play the song. It was great to see that the band still class Solowoniuk as their drummer despite him not being able to play a full set with the band due to suffering from multiple sclerosis.
The opening act on the Blue stage later in the day were The Raven Age from London. With a new lead singer Matt James, the band played a fairly short set of 6 songs, however there were definitely new fans in the crowd by the end, joining the diehards who had been there at the start of the show. There was constant energy on stage which was mirrored by those in the wave breaker as they didn’t stop moving throughout the entire set. The band had been touring Europe with Killswitch Engage so it probably felt normal for them to be playing before them.
The penultimate band of the evening were the returning act Killswitch Engage, a band that had a huge fan gathering judging by the number of t-shirts that I spotted throughout the day. As soon as the opening song “Strength of the Mind” began there were circle pits throughout the crowd which continued for the majority of the set. The band played a lot of older songs such as “My Last Serenade” and “My Curse” which didn’t disappoint those long-time fans.
Finally, it was time for Iron Maiden to take the stage, however unfortunately once again with the language barrier our photographer didn’t manage to make it onto the list. The crowd was massive and very excited when it was time for the band to take the stage. We only stayed for a couple of songs due to an early flight but what we saw was definitely impressive. With a remarkable number of studio albums, Iron Maiden have ample music to choose from when putting together their setlists. After a clip from Churchill’s speech, the band opened with “Aces High”. The stage set up was outstanding with a plane hanging from the roof of the stage and lead singer Bruce Dickinson wearing an old-fashioned pilot’s hat.
Overall Nova Rock was a huge success, with the majority of early bird tickets for next year already sold out! Whether it was from the return policy for getting money back for returning drink cups to try to stop littering or the cashless card system to save people losing their money and for quicker transactions, the organisers thought of everything to make the event run as smoothly as possible. There was plenty to do if there wasn’t a band on the stage that you were interested in, such as getting a piercing or tattoo at one of the many stalls and also enjoy silent discos and rides too. I definitely hope to return to Nova Rock.
Photos by Jack Barker Photography