Do You Like Big Music Festivals?


I understand that in Europe, festivals are the most popular way to see well known, bands play. Is that true? I used to read about one named Castle donnington, or just plain Donnington and it was a festival in England only for heavy metal bands. Is Donnington still in business and holding a heavy metal festival once a year, or did they go out of business? From what I read in the European metal mags it seems like Donnongton was the premier festival in Europe for heavy metal. They’d have a headliner like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden and many excellent bands also on the card.

What are some other names of popular heavy metal festivals in Europe? I’m asking our European members of the forum for help on this :slight_smile:

How are the people at the festivals? Do they get very drunk and/or high? If so do they get difficult to be around? or are people generally pretty cool and not overdoing drink and drugs for the most part during the festivals? Do you think a festival is better than going to an arena to see a headliner and an opening band in one night for maybe 3 hours of music?

Personally, 3 hours of very loud music is enough for me. I also like know that I have a reserved seat and hopefully more often than not I’m able to find pretty good seats. The intriguing part of a festival for me would be getting to see so many different bands, but I don’t like huge crowds. I can deal with the crowd at an arena for a concert, but dealing with a massive crowd for days one end could be a bit much. I don’t know; I suppose there are upsides to festivals as well as downsides. I went to Ozzfest which isa American festival. I went in 1997 and saw the Black Sabbath reunion which was a huge deal because people had been waiting forever to see Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne together on the same stage again. I loved being there to see and hear them!!! It was an historic thing to experience!

The band before Sabbath was Pantera! Hell Yeah! Dimebag Darrell was playing his Confederate Flag guitar in honor of The Great Southern Trendkill and it was awesome! I love The South. They play an excellent show that night, they were extremely tight and in hindsight, I know that Phil was using heroin back then for his back injury ands somehow he managed to perform at top-level or close to it. Dime played some blazing solos and the whole band was just really tight and powerful.

On the smaller stage there was the former singer from Kyuss. Remember them? His last name is Garcia and I think the band he had that day was Unida. Some people call their type of music “stoner rock.” have you heard of stoner rock? Do you like it? I do, but not a much as my former bass player. The bass player in my band back then was a young woman who had a huge crush on Garcia, ha ha! We were there together, me, my bass player Vicky and her husband Mike who is a good friend and is also an excellent car mechanic. His favorite band is Motorhead. Vicky’s is Black Sabbath. We freaked out when Balck Sabbath played “Behind The Wall of Sleep”! We didn’t expect anything so obscure from them. It rocked!

John Garcia’s Unida - my former bass player’s absolute favorite vocalist - she worships this man, heh heh


I went to Wacken in Germany (at the time it was the biggest metal festival on Earth) in 2008. Iron Maiden was headlining and there were five stages and almost 100 bands playing. All styles of metal, from black metal (Gorgoroth) to thrash (Kreator) to power metal (Kamelot), progressive (Cynic) and everything in between. It was a killer experience and an awesome pilgrimage to make as a younger metalhead. I also went to Bloodstock in the UK which was about 10,000 people, so a lot smaller. They had Iced Earth, Helloween and lots of other cool bands that I was really into.

I’m glad I went to those festivals but I don’t think I would do any more big ones like that. I prefer smaller festivals, maybe 3000 tickets or fewer. My metal band was on tour in the EU during March and we got to play some really cool smaller festivals in Hamburg and Athens with some rabid crowds. We did our first German festival last year. There is nothing like seeing a hall of over a thousand drunk Germans literally singing your guitar riffs or the crappy lyrics you wrote when you were bored at work.


I’d rather just go see one band with maybe an opener or two, in a smaller more intimate venue, than a massive outdoor festival. Call me old, I just hate dealing with the lines and the crowds. If I’m going to pay $15 for a 20-ounce beer I’d rather just get it over with as soon as possible and take the T home at the end of the night, rather than wait in line in the stadium for a half hour to overpay for a beer and then sit in traffic for another two on the way home.