BANG YOUR HEAD 2019 – New Business Model? Yes!
January 2, 2019, 16 days ago
BraveWords scribe Mark Gromen checks in with the following preview for Germany's famed Bang Your Head!!! Festival:
On paper, the premise of a multi-day, outdoor festival, devoid of traditional mega-star headliners, would seem like a non-starter. However, in the metallic underground, there's a diehard element that decries such expected normalcy (witness successful events like Sword Brothers, Keep It True or Up The Hammers, etc), preferring to revel in unearthing previously undiscovered gems and/or witnessing long running, overseas entities that have never toured domestically.
Last year, in Balingen, the promoter made an impassioned speech about no longer being able to compete for pricey talent, against behemoths like Wacken, Download and Hellfest. There was even talk of discontinuing Bang Your Head!!! Thankfully, rather than throw in the towel, Horst Franz opted to stockpile this year's show (July 11th-13th, with a warm-up, club show, featuring Battle Beast, Grave Digger and others, the preceding Wednesday) with a thrilling mix: established acts who haven't toured much lately and a slew of hungry, media darlings who lack the financial/label support to engage in a full scale terrestrial assault of their own. Oh yeah, Steel Panther and Skid Row will be there too.
In all honesty, this will be my twentieth consecutive trip to the southern German city and I can't remember being more interested in the entire line-up, top to bottom. Why? Well, as a photog/journalist who attends several festivals each year (be it elsewhere in Europe, Canada, or even on the open seas, with 70,000 Tons), inevitably, there's a certain amount of overlap, with the Biggest Names. Same for continental fans. With two or three options, every summer weekend, many take in several fests annually. I saw Carcass, six times in a few months, couple of years ago! No chance of that with Bang Your Head!!! 2019. First of all, there's a ton of exciting (newer) bands who have never played North America (and are very unlikely to, anytime soon), all under one (non-existent) roof: Attic, Screamer, Audrey Horne, RAM, Traitor. If you don't know anything about these guys, do yourself a favor and get educated, quickly, before they advance beyond clubs (although it might already be too late, as in Balingen, they'll all be main stage attractions, at least for one day).
While the line-up is destined to expand even further. It's already packed, offering a greater variety, as this year portents an increased visibility for the harder end of the metal spectrum: Keep Of Kalessin, Einherjer, Exhorder, Mantar, Venom Inc., Ektomorf and Soulfly. Still a mix of old and new.
Of course there are some bands who have performed on the lone fest stage before: Candlemass, Krokus. Metal Church, Enforcer, Armored Saint, Brainstorm, Flotsam And Jetsam, Evergrey and Dark Tranquillity. Although bigger stars, doubtful anyone but the busiest frequent flier will have more than one or two chances to see any of them this year, even the North American based groups.
Overall, 2019 is poised to be a well-rounded line-up: traditional, heavier, occult, classics/newcomers, a little something for all tastes (and intervals to hit the beer/merch stalls, for those less adventurous). Hop a flight to Germany (Stuttgart and Munich airports are closest, although Frankfurt is the huge international hub) and a short train ride. Most camp right in town, which is stocked with food stores, restaurants/bars, even a public pool, all within walking distance of both the festival grounds and the train station. Few European festivals are so accessible. Join us!
More info and updates can be found at Bang-your-head.de.