It has been rather quiet on the travel front here on Irresponsible Cactus after my last two trips to London and Bruges. But summer is finally here, and with summer come awesome festivals like Rock am Ring! This German music festival was held from June 5th till June 7th on an airfield by Mendig. Three days of sunshine, music, and very little sleep.
Rock am Ring caters to a certain musical audience – but when you’re into this kind of music, it’s an absolutely heavenly festival. This year’s headliners were Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Die Toten Hosen, and Slipknot. Rock am Ring features rock music ranging from classic rock to punk rock to heavy metal. It’s the biggest music festival where I live – with its 90,000 visitors it puts many other festivals to shame. Having such a huge crowd means that the program is always fantastic. More people to buy tickets means more money for the organisation to get some excellent acts. And this year’s line-up was wonderful! Bands I was most looking forward to were Slipknot (ahhhhhhhhh), Marilyn Manson, Royal Republic and Rise Against.
Like real festival-goers, we packed up our tents, got in the car for a 1,5 hour drive, and made our homes for the coming few nights. It was the first time ever that Bas and I had to put up our own tent, but we managed admirably, and within an hour our beautiful bright green tent was firmly put into place on the Green camping. We arrived in the evening on Thursday, and the first acts started on Friday afternoon. Don’t people always say that disaster strikes in threes? Well, we got disasters in spades.
- The smallest disaster, but an annoying one nevertheless, was that I didn’t sleep at all the first night. I’m a notoriously bad sleeper, and the different environment kept me awake the entire night. Not the best way to start a tough three-day festival that goes on till 3AM each day
- Friday was too hot. We barely had any shade, and basically just laid there like slugs from 9AM till the afternoon. Sadly this made our friend so sick he decided to go home
- The quality of the air was terrible, and my asthma-ridden boyfriend was inhaling his medicine like I do books
- Then, during Marilyn Manson on Friday, a gigantic thunderstorm hit the festival. We evacuated together with 50,000 other people, trying to get into our tents in time. During this storm and another one that hit two hours later, the lightning struck two times on festival terrain, leaving 33 people injured. We were fine, but that was definitely not a fun experience
- On the second day, I convinced Bas that really, he should see the First Aid people. They put him on an IV with medicine for an hour. Luckily, this greatly improved how he was feeling, and we didn’t need to go back for the rest of the festival
So, that part of the festival wasn’t all that great. The positive outweighed the negative though, and in the end we had a fantastic time. After the way-too-hot weather on Friday, we got some comfortable nice and sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday.
In the end we saw sixteen bands: Donots, Yellowcard, Rise Against, Clueso, half an hour of Marilyn Manson, Royal Republic, Lower Than Atlantis, We Are Harlot, The Prodigy, Hollywood Undead, Enter Shikari, Godsmack, Papa Roach, Lamb of God, Motörhead, and Slipknot. Royal Republic and Slipknot were exceptional, but I wasn’t expecting any different. The pleasant surprises of the weekend were Hollywood Undead, Godsmack, and Papa Roach. I wasn’t expecting much, but they were all three very fun in their own way.
The festival coincided with my birthday, so on Sunday Bas had prepared a little surprise for me. In the end it wasn’t much of a surprise because Bas is terrible at keeping secrets, but he got me a warm breakfast (scrambled eggs and tea, yum), filled our tent with 20 ballons (the 21st was messed up), and gave me a present (a trip to Paris this summer, eeeep :D). I definitely have the bestest boyfriend ever.
The trip was thoroughly exhausting, filled with adventures, and completely worth it. There just is something about sharing this experience with thousands of other people that makes it feel special. The people at Rock am Ring were extremely nice, and the organisation was great. The rules are very laid back, which makes the place feel more relaxed in general. You were allowed to bring your own food and drinks to the festival terrain; the terrain had tons of places were you could refill your water; First Aid was free; there was a Lidl supermarket on the camping, selling anything you could ever need for their regular pricing.
Combine that with great music, and you have a winning formula. I don’t think we saw one band that we thought actually played badly (though I wasn’t a big fan of Lamb of God). The audiences were lovely as well, dancing/moshing/clapping enthusiastically at every act.
We already decided we would love to go again next year. Preferably we’ll be free of medical mishaps and apocalyptic storms then.