Friday, 25 January 2019

Column: European Festival Preview 2019

Continuing our two part series giving a short preview of the best festivals in the UK and Europe, today we look at some of the great festivals on the mainland – if you fancy going a bit further a field for your punk rock adventures!

Groezrock, 26th–27th April
Groezrock is a long running festival that takes place in Meerhout, Belgium. When you think of European outdoor punk festivals, this is probably the first that comes to mind. And perhaps rightly so, they've been putting on the biggest and best bands in punk rock for years! This year they've arguably got the most impressive headline act of all the festivals in Europe. The legendary Jawbreaker are headlining the first night of the festival. The headliner for the second night is Dropkick Murphys – not too shabby either. Other bands already announced include Millencolin, Comeback Kid, Good Riddance, Dave Hause & The Mermaid, Restorations, Joyce Manor, Teenage Bottlerocket and Marky Ramone with Greg Hetson.

SBÄM Fest, 1st–4th May
Back for it's third year this year is SBÄM Fest which takes place in Alter Schlachthof Wells, Austria. Taking place over three days, if fast sing-along punk rock is your thing then SBÄM Fest is the festival for you! The line up is superb, headlined by Toy Dolls, Good Riddance and The Real McKenzies as well as a great mixture of bands from Europe, the USA and the UK. Bands that stand out on the line up include Teenage Bottlerocket, Get Dead, Rebuke, Chaser, Authority Zero, Useless ID, The Lillingtons, Petrol Girls, Dee Crack, Krang, Snuff, Jaya The Cat and The Human Project.

Obenuse, Fest 4th May
Obenuse Fest is a one day festival that takes place in Zurich, Switzerland, in six different venues and features thirty five different bands. The festival is now in its fifth year and I've no doubt this is its best line up yet, with the likes of The Lillingtons, Spanish Love Songs, Pkew Pkew Pkew, Bad Cop Bad Cop, Tim Vantol, The Run Up, Four Lights, Antillectual, Luke Hilly and Pity Party. As a day in Zurich goes, I can't think of a better way to spend it.

El Topo Goes Loco, 17th–18th May
El Topo Goes Loco: Welcome To The Ska Punk Jungle, to give it it's full name, is a DIY festival that takes place in Mol, Belgium. Put together by Jason of El Topo Bookings (who also is a part of the Level Up Festival team) it features bands, free camping, a swimming pool, cheap beers, cocktails and great people. That's reason to attend before even mentioning some of the bands playing. But I kind of need to mention the bands in this preview or it would be a terrible preview, so some of the bands playing are The Filaments, The Junk, From The Tracks, Braindead, Overweight and Wröng.

Bearded Punk Festival, 1st June
Yet another Belgian punk festival happens on the first day of June. Bearded Punk Festival, obviously put together by Bearded Punk Records, is back for its third year and is based in Genk. No bands have been announced yet but in previous years bands such as Straightline, Eat Defeat, For I Am, River Jumpers and F.O.D. have appeared at the festival.

This Is My Fest
Here's a line up that has me very excited, mostly for one band. Wank For Peace are back to play This Is My Fest in Paris! This is the seventh edition of the festival which also features P.O. Box, Nightwatchers, Good Friend, The Arteries, Mighty Bombs, The Deadnotes, Jodie Faster, Lone Wolf and Decent Criminal. Wank For Peace are back!

Booze Cruise, 7th–10th June
Booze Cruise Festival is back for its fourth year in June. Taking place at Hamburg Harbour, the festival uses multiple spaces around the area as well as a boat for bands to play. Bringing over some of the top bands from the USA alongside the best from Europe and the UK, this is closest you're going to get to The Fest without heading to Gainesville. Bands announced for this year include Chamberlain, War On Women, Ducking Punches, Petrol Girls, Bong Mountain, Überyou, Typesetter and Not Scientists.

Punk Rock Raduno, 11th–14th July
Of all the festivals in Europe that I've discovered over the past few years, Punk Rock Raduno is perhaps the one I most want to go to. This Italian festival, situated in Bergamo, specialises in Ramonescore pop punk – maybe my favourite style of pop punk. Despite only being in its fourth year, the festival has managed to attract the biggest names in the genre including CJ Ramone, The Queers, The Bombpops, Even In Blackouts, 20belows, The Manges, Dr Frank of The Mr T Experience, The Apers, Zatopeks and Chixdiggit. Only four bands have been announced so far but what a collection of bands it is – Dan Vapid & The Cheats, The Creeps, The Copyrights and Kepi Ghoulie. The Copyrights and Kepi will also be joining forces for a set as The Kepirights.

KNRD Fest, 12th–13th July
KNRD Fest in Germany got some rave reviews from everyone I know who attended last year. It's a not-for-profit festival with a goal of supporting the punk rock scene and bringing folk from all over the world together. Taking place in a woods near to Nuremberg, the festival is now in its eighth year. No bands have been announced yet but you can bet that the very best in fast skate punk will appear. Something extra special about KNRD Fest is that it offers a pay what you like scheme for the ticket prices and also offers free camping – that's amazing.

Brakrock Ecofest, 2nd–3rd August
Brakrock Ecofest first came to my attention last year with the most ridiculous line up that included The Vandals, Satanic Surfers, TSOL, Mute, The Lawrence Arms, The Menzingers, Authority Zero, Mad Caddies, This Is A Standoff, Nothington and Useless ID to name just a few. The line up this year is similarly insane with Descendents, Propagandhi, Less Than Jake, The Bennies, Pulley, Cigar, Pears and The Dopamines – plus even more to be announced. Brakrock takes place in the beautiful area of Terelst, Belgium, and uses its surroundings to create the most unique festival experience. Brakrock is a punk rock festival that is all about having a positive mindset with a focus on sustainability in all its facets.

Punk Rock Holiday, 6th–8th August
Punk Rock Holiday has become THE European punk festival to attend over the years. Not only attracting the best bands on the planet, its setting is absolutely stunning. Taking place in Tomlin, Slovenia, in a beautiful forest area complete with a beach on the side of a lake, there is no other punk festival like this in the world. Now in its ninth year, the festival is more popular than ever. Showcasing some of the biggest bands in the world along with some of the emerging talent from Europe, Punk Rock Holiday is definitely a bucket list festival. Among the bands playing this year are NOFX, Less Than Jake, Sick Of It All, Ignite, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Bennies, Masked Intruder, Pears, Hit The Switch, The Dopamines, as well as CPRW favourites Call Me Malcolm and Goodbye Blue Monday.

It's looking like a massive summer of punk rock for all you festival goers. Europe has been spoilt with all these great weekends lined up. Click that you're interested in all of the events to keep fully update with all the future announcements.

This column was written by Colin Clark.

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