By this stage you’ll probably be sick of a list of bands so I’ll just rattle through the handful I caught through a haze of Laško.
On New Forces, Asylum Pyre and Copia both impressed, while main stage act Death Alley from The Netherlands didn’t quite get the audience they deserved for their fuzzy hard rock. Two-man Mantar gathered larger numbers – maybe smaller is better?
Municipal Waste really fucked us up on the main stage in the late afternoon, with massive circle pits, huge numbers of crowd surfers and much violence. I finally managed to get one of “those” t-shirts… and also lost my wallet while helping someone crowdsurf. I went back after the set, but all I could find on the ground were a few of my business cards.
Thankfully – travel tip here, folks – I didn’t have everything in there. Spare bank and credit cards were in my hostel as was most of my actual cash, and anything I didn’t need for the trip at all (driving license, library cards) was back in the UK.
As a rainbow flew over the Lemmy stage (like Ronnie and Lemmy making some kind of joke on our behalf), Cannibal Corpse erupted with a barrage of the most classic death metal. Epica rocked a massice audience and festival (main stage) closers Children of Bodom – despite a brief guitar issue – showed why they had been picked as the final headliners. The crowd wasn’t as big as it was for Priest, no surprise there, but it was still standing room only.
By this point, I just needed food and sleep so headed back to the hostel after checking lost property for my wallet – which was closed and re-opened at 10am.
Long story short: I got up the next morning, walked back to the festival site as the stages were being dismantled… and my wallet had literally just been handed in a few minutes earlier. Everything was intact. Payment card, credit card, pictures of my children. Everything. Metalheads, once again you do me proud.
Metal Days – should you go? Emphatically, yes. Looking at the line-up for this year, there weren’t that many bands that made me go “ooh, got to see them”. I enjoyed discovering new bands – I have at least four or five I’m definitely going to check out having seen them live – but the big points for me are twofold:
1 – the price. At €150 for seven days (with an extra €20 getting you in up to three days earlier with half a dozen New Forces bands included), including phone charging and hot showers (if you get up early enough) it’s incredible value for money. Earliest Bird tickets were being sold for next year at €125 including a t-shirt. Getting there and back is cheap enough as well, if you book flights at the right time.
2 – the location. Tolmin is beautiful in its own right and makes a wonderful host for this event. It’s not just the “festival in the woods and mountains” scenery, it’s the town and its people as well. Everyone was friendly, helpful and welcoming both inside and outside of the festival grounds. There’s a ton of stuff to do, such as bike rides, rafting, parascending, climbing, hiking… It really is a great place to visit.
Organisation within the festival was top notch, with the card payment system being less of a pain than I expected. The €1 on each drinks cup/bottle can make it easy to rack up a stupid bill if you forget to return them but resulted in the cleanest festival I have ever attended with virtually no litter (other than cigarette butts – smokers being selfish again) anywhere on the ground even after the full week. There’s a €10 garbage deposit if you camp as well, returned if you hand in a full bag of rubbish from your campsite.
2019 is shaping up and booking now. If you want to get a hostel or hotel, do it soon. The town itself fills up quickly.
Thanks to everyone who ran and organised 2018’s event. Also to the people I shared a room with and talked to, and to everyone else I moshed with and crowdsurfed on top of. I had a brilliant time and would definitely return!
Photos by Iain Purdie