Hey there, I’m sorry it’s been a little quiet on here lately, but summer has finally arrived, so I’ve been trying to spend as much time out in the sun as possible. When I’m not working that is. I’ve also just returned from a week-long holiday that took us to Nuremberg for a music festival and to Lake Constance for a few days of much needed relaxation after rocking out for 4 days. The weather was just amazing every single day, even though it was almost a little too hot for my taste, but hey, I’m not complaining about that. Of course I want to tell you all about our recent adventures and I’ll start with the music-side of our trip which took us back to Rock im Park, one of Germany’s biggest and personally my favourite music festival. We’d already been there last year and since we had a great time it was clear we needed to be back.
It seems there are basically 2 different types of music lovers – the ones who love festivals and the ones who hate them. I’d always wanted to visit one, but I have to say that a lot of things I’d heard and seen about festivals made me doubt if it would actually be enjoyable for me. First of all, I don’t really like camping. It’s not the hygiene or lack thereof that I’m worried about. But I need a decent night’s sleep. I don’t function well without it and something that’s supposed to be fun can easily turn into a nightmare if I’m sleep-deprived. So the prospect of sleeping in a tent on uncomfy ground being kept awake by drunken party people didn’t seem very appealing to me. Then I’m not the biggest fan of huge crowds. I love going to concerts, but being stuck in the middle of thousands of people makes me feel utterly uncomfortable. So the thought of 70.000 people piling up in front or constantly moving between stages kinda scared me. And while I like drinking and having fun, I’m definitely not a person who enjoys being pissed 3 or 4 days straight or to the extent of not being able to walk, talk or stand properly. Neither do I like being harassed by people who act this way while trying to enjoy the music. These were the thoughts I had before I went to Rock im Park for the first time. And you know what? None of them were actually true in the way I had imagined them. Except for the camping part of which I had my fair share at Southside festival where I basically didn’t sleep for 3 days because it was a) freezing cold and b) the only place we could find for our tent was on a hillside. But: there’s a solution to this which you’ll find, among others, in my reasons for loving music festivals.
1. Music, music, music – all day long
Of course, for me the main reason to visit a music festival is the music itself. I always have a few bands I definitely want to see. This year for example these were Portugal. The Man (who I’d seen as a support band in March), Maximo Park (who always make for a great show), Metallica (because I’d never seen them before and well, it’s Metallica) and Linkin Park. But I also love to explore new bands who I have or haven’t heard about before. We often just wandered from stage to stage and stopped when we liked the sound of the band playing. This year I really enjoyed Kasabian, Fall Out Boy and New Politics and I’ll definitely buy a few albums of theirs. I know a lot of oldschool festival-goers have been complaining that the lineups, especially of Rock im Park and Rock am Ring, have become very mainstream over the past years and the “Rock” in the title has been neglected more and more. I do agree with that at least to some extent, but I’ve always been able to find plenty of bands I like.
2. It’s not like they show you on TV
As I said before, my opinion of festivals was highly influenced by the way it was depicted by media. Drunk, half-naked, screaming people, garbage, dirt, pee, puke everywhere. Of course you get that, too, at least to some extent. But it’s not like you won’t enjoy yourself if you’re not the 24/7 party animal. I actually found the festival crowd to be a very pleasant bunch of people. The atmosphere was always very relaxed and everybody was just trying to have the greatest time they could have, whatever that means for the individual person. Of course, you will get hit on by a drunk person from time to time if you’re a girl. But as long as it doesn’t get annoying, that’s ok. And the boyfriend always made sure they left quickly. Of course, several 10.000 people will leave their traces, so garbage definitely is an issue. But it’s not like you can’t sit down on the ground anymore or something like that. Just make sure you don’t wear your newest clothes and especially shoes (you most likely won’t want to wear them anymore judging by all the undefinable things you’ll find on their soles). Using portable toilets definitely isn’t for the squeamish, but it’s bearable if you know how to breathe through your mouth and make sure not to look around too closely. And be cautious if a toilet is free despite there being a huge queue. You don’t wanna have a look into that one. As always there’s also a luxury option if you really can’t bring yourself to use a portable toilet. The normal version usually costs you a little fee (at RiP it was 0,50€) and you’ll probably have to bear with quite some waiting time.
3. Moshpit or chilling in the back? You can have it all!
One reason I like Rock im Park so much is how the festival area is laid out. There’s lots of space in front of the stages, so if you don’t like being in the middle of the crowd you can just sit down on the grass in the back and still see something thanks to the huge screens on the side of the stages. There are also a few trees around, so we were even able to stay in the shade when the heat was too unbearable during the day. This actually saved me because I don’t really cope well with heat. We had temperatures of around 35 degrees for almost all 4 days, so it was really, really hot. On the last day, I dared to step into the sun in front of the stage to see Maximo Park at 2 pm. I jumped and danced around, but after their set was over I was in desperate need of some shade and water. The barriers in the crowd are also set out pretty nicely, so it never gets overcrowded (at least from what I’ve seen) in the area in front of the stage. We went to the front of the main stage to see Linkin Park playing and there was still plenty of space in the back. The only time when it can get a little tight and pushy is when entering the front area, especially right after a band has finished playing. But it’s never been too bad when I went.
4. You don’t have to sleep in a tent
The great thing about Rock im Park, especially for me as a camping-hater, is its close proximity to the city center of Nuremberg. The train will take you from the main station to a stop nearby the festival area in a few minutes and then it’s only a short walk and you’re in the middle of it all. It’s so convenient! We stayed in a hotel near the main station, had a nice lie-in, then went for breakfast and showed up at the festival well rested and showered. I know a lot of people think that camping is part of the real festival experience. But for me it’s just the perfect way.
I’m currently looking into other festivals to attend this summer. Probably only for a day trip since I’ve already planned most of my holiday. I really, really recommend to visit a music festival if you’re into music. It’s so much fun! I’m really dying to go to one again soon.