Rock The Coast was a diverse, eclectic mix of classic rock such as Rainbow, Europe, and The Scorpions all the way up to extreme black metal pioneers Mayhem.
The festival is based in the grounds of Sohail Castle in the southern coastal town of Fuengirola, Spain. Unsure of what to expect I found myself walking down the seafront enjoying the beautiful views. I then joined many others for a pre-gig lager (or three) at the Bikini Beach Bar which seemed rather poorly named considering the hordes of people dressed in black rock and metal attire excitedly talking about the bands they were most looking forward to seeing over the coming weekend.
On the Thursday I was lucky enough to get an invite to the pre-event opening to see Wardruna who were playing in the castle itself. After finishing my drink in the bar that the crowds had taken over I walked the few hundred yards to pick up my wrist band. I then handed over money to add to my account as this event was almost completely cashless, making getting food and drinks so much quicker than at other events I had been to.
As an aside, though, and one of very few criticisms was the merchandise stall. It was the only area which required cash for purchases and service was very slow. I met one chap in Glasgow the week after the festival who was proudly wearing his Rock The Coast shirt. He loved everything about this weekend, but had had to queue for almost an hour to get the t-shirt!
Once I was through security I had the long hard climb up to the castle where there were a number of food vans and toilets outside the castle itself. Walking through the gateway to the inner castle we were greeted to one of the most spectacular venues for a stage. There was a large bar and by the time Wardruna took to the stage it was packed with people. After a mind-blowing couple of hours I made my way back down the hill with new-found friends, all hugely impressed by the gig and brimming with excitement for the main event.
Next day I was joined by the front-man for Spanish metal band Vice City who acted as my bitch assistant, interpreter, beer holder and tour guide. Once we had drunk our pre-festival pint we joined the long (thankfully fast-moving) queue and once through security we were then able to explore. The two main stages with the beach and beautiful Mediterranean Sea as their back drop had toilets, bars and food vans on each side. Further back near the main entrance we had a number of merch stands that were all of a similar vein to each other offering the normal reprints of band t-shirts along with patches and jewellery.
What made this festival for me though was the people I met people from all over the world ranging from the brilliantly crazy to the wonderfully chilled. One of my favourites being Mellon Head who was at the front of most of the action in the mosh pits and also the wall of death during Angelus Apatrida’s high octane set. Over the weekend almost every stage was packed out for every gig yet it never felt crowded.
The sound quality was excellent, maybe the people who built the castle had performances and acoustics in mind when they designed it. OK, maybe not but you’d have thought they did!
All the bands were brilliant but my personal highlights were Jinjer, Chaos Before Gea, Broken Horizon, Angelus Apartida, 12 Foot Ninja and Mayhem to name just a few.
The ultimate test of any festival is how quickly you want to book up to go again and I am ready now! But can we have a little more metal next year, please?
All pictures by Shellstar Media