Ieper Hardcorefest 22nd Edition

Once a year there are thousands of hardcore kids, who gather for one of the biggest hardcore festivals of the world, Ieperfest. And all this happen ten minutes from my hometown. Even tough it took me three hours to make it to the festival (long and irrelevant story).

So Ieperfest came to his 22nd edition. What is awesome about the festival is that they keep their standards like only selling 100% vegan food. Love it or hate it. About that more later.

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Bands:
Personally for me this was one of the best line ups in years. Ieperfest managed to book 84 bands. Four of them played an exclusive European show. The line up was variated. There was hardcore (duh), heavy hardcore, punk, metalcore, deathcore, post-metal, doom,… well you get my point. This reflected in the people you could see on the festival.

The big eye openers were:
Malevolence is a big uprising band from the UK. They mix heavy hardcore with groovy metal riffs. They played their set really tight like it’s on their record. People were throwing themselves into the pit of ninja’s and people were singing along. To play as early as they did and to have such great atmosphere, big up. When the rain started to drop, Expire had to hit the stage. It was really awesome to see that actually +-200 people stayed in the heavy shower, just to see one of their favourite band and to sing along. Dedication. The band played tight, but nothing more I could say, since I don’t really know the band.

Blind To Faith, who managed to turn the small trench stage, which only was big enough for 200 people, into World War III. People were flying everywhere. Not my type of music but the band put so much energy into their set and the atmosphere was so great that I actually enjoyed the concert. Almost broke my camera on them (standing in the front row wasn’t the best idea though), but it was totally worth watching their set.

Also Dog Eat Dog who played before them was absolutely great. As they were one of the outcasts of the festival because they are not heavy or anything. They made a big party on the mainstage and also the people in front of the stage went wild on this American punkrock band. The audience was mixed with young, old, punk, hardcore people, and to see everyone sing and party together on Dog Eat Dog was awesome!

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On Saturday Swamps played around noon in the marquee. For me one of the better bands on the festivals. They bring hardcore in a new jacket. It doesn’t sound like one of the 1000 Terror/Hatebreed bands. They got the audience moving in a big pit. And the front row was filled with people singing along to songs like Hollow Threats, Heavy Work and Bed Of Thorns. If you don’t know this band, listen to them and try to catch them once life. Fun time guaranteed.

Angel Du$t played a bit later on the main stage. For me a big suprise since I didn’t liked them too much on the record. Also I didn’t got the hype. Was it because Justice from Trapped Under Ice played in the band? But when I saw them on the big stage and seeing everyone dancing and jumping of the stage, I kinda understand it. Also I appreciate the music more than before. It’s like drinking beer; you have to drink it more to like it (that’s what they actually tell me), so I think Angel Du$t is that kind of band, for me at least. It made me happy, so good times!

Thereafter Turnstile hit the stage. I thought it would be a big party but actually they made it into a reeeally huge party. They bring a new touch to hardcore and make it really groovy, the way I really like it. The vocalist, who is actually the drummer of Trapped Under Ice, and the bassist, who is famous for his two step on the Backtrack youtube video kept it moving on stage. So much energy on and around the stage. Sing alongs and stage divers which half of them actually touched the ground. One of the best Ieperfest performance!

‘Why oh why would you put King Nine in the trench’ were my thoughts before I entered the trench. But then I understand why. This band who is respected by many other bands and people played a very tight set. I expected more sing alongs and bigger pits but it was perfect as it was with songs from their ‘Scared To Death’ album, which is to me one of the best albums of 2013. Again, if you don’t know this band, stop reading this review and go to YouTube, and then read further.

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Some people said it was a shame to have Morning Again in the Marquee but the band decided theirselves to play there, which was a good choice. The athmospere was great! I actually never heard a song of this band before (yeah, I know, shame on me!) but I stayed until the very end. This band is one of the bands who played an exclusive European show with Damien on the mic. They played Hand of Hope for the first and the last time in Europe and for me it was an honor to be there. Also happy to hear some Sepultura.

The rain started to fall again on sunday and that brought problems on the main stage. The last band I saw on the main stage was No Zodiac. They play heavy negative hardcore. At some point the power fell out during a breakdown. People kept moshing until it felt weird. But all by all great show, rainy, not much people but heavy as duck.

FOOD:
This year Ieperfest got some catering firms like the delicious Frietketel (french fries with awesome vegan salsa’s) and Like Your Mom (vegan burger and stuff). But what I thought and heard a lot is that this year the food was pretty expensive. Like Your Mom asked the same price for the burgers on Ieperfest like they did on the Gentse Feesten. Last year I remember to buy a burger for half of the price. It’s sad that they didn’t made a more ‘hardcore’ price for the food. But hey, it’s still delicious!

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Overall:
One of the reasons I love Ieperfest this much is that every year you recognise people from the year before or from other shows you attend. So every time you lose your friends because they wanted to see some merch or they are just having a poo in the composting toilets, you can turn around, look for a few seconds and talk to someone you know or recognize from other shows. Also for some people Ieperfest are nagging too much about being green but to be honest it feels great to walk on grass (mud) and not on cups because some are too lazy to make four steps to the trash bin. And the afterparty is still legendary! Big up for the DJ’s from the second night who made a new playlist because it seems that the same playlist from Friday has been used for a few times. Bad weather, great times, good friends, perfect line up, Ieperfest!

Kevin Vankeirsbilck

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