Thursday afternoon... Lex, Vou, Robbo and I are on a train to Koblenz to then hop a bus to Nürburg ring race track for the 25th annual Rock Am Ring Festival... not going to lie, we are already pretty excited for that night our festival starts with us seeing KISS...
We get off our bus, walk and walk and walk and walk... eventually hearing that campsight B5 has a bit of space... As we go down the hill we see flying high and proud the southern cross, union jack and commonwealth star on a blue background... Yes we thought we'd found some other Australians... But it was not to be, they were just Germans with an Australian flag because they liked Australia. Mikhail and friends (code named Bananna-Man, Spiderman, Sportsbag, hot shoulder tattoo girl, guy with glasses and man of dignity as we're terrible with names) insisted we camp next to them and impose on their hospitality... and impose we did... They were absolutely great guys and girls and they really made our experience even better... Spiderman even had a jar of vegemite... it was AWESOME and those kids were HILARIOUS.
Very quickly we developed our own little games gently poking fun at the Germans around us... particularly those in a position of help/service/authority who had to deal with our questions. Game one, Lex would see two Germans wave to each other and wave back... confusion would follow as they feel the need to explain that they weren't waving to him. Game two was picking on the literalness of the poor people here... ''See you later!'' says Lex, ''No, ve probablz von't'' comes the reply. Or perhaps Vou's ''Gimme your coldest beer!'' ''Zey are all zee same temperature'' replies the little man in the beer tent. I can only imagine the reaction to being told to turn the volume to 11... ''Vee can't do zat... zee speakers only go to 10 and zat is very loud'' (which is true, I swear that#s the loudest festival I've ever been to... thank god for my earplugs).
Now with the knowledge that this is a public forum (not to mention the fact family read this) some details are being deliberately obscured to protect the innocent/guilty and illusion of such... But not as many as you may think... Some just aren't remembered clearly (not for chemical reasons... just due to the size of the four days... there was more experiences in those 4 nights than I thought possible. Very quickly we determined that the whole festival is insanely nuts and that the germans do not fuck around when it comes to Rock and Camping. We had my small 2 man hiking tent and a slightly larger, yet still small, 2man tent... The guys next to us (and next to them and across the road and next to them etc) had a tent each, plus a big public kitchen area, chairs and speakers the size of my bed BLARING nearly 24/7...
I have very little recollection of the specifics of seeing Kiss... other than it was very Oh my God!... Dare I say it, it was perhaps literally ZOMG!111... There were about 80,000 people at the festival so if you can imagine 2 Big Day Outs watching Kiss simultaneously you get the idea... We then went silly at the afterparty were I went ass over tit like 3 times in the spilt drinks and generally pushy ness of it... lots of fun and wow my knees hurt in the morning... 2 fails in one night also started my run at the festival hard...
We then woke up to our first full day of the festival to blaring German ska... Needless to say I was pretty happy about that. Interestingly the ''alternative'' stage at the festival was the softest and most chilled out (opposite to home).
Day 2 saw us finishing the night watching RATM and Ben Stiller and His Sporty Friends (or something like that). These guys played a song that was effective chorused ''1954, 1974, 1990 and 2010 we are the masters of football''. On that note Vou was wandering around in a socceroos jersey and we got some great reactions there (given we're in the same World cup group)... The look you get when you assure them that australia will ''go easy on them to make a game of it'' is priceless... But when a guy looked at Vou and just said ''Australia? I feel sorry for you...''
On the way out we caught ''the broilers'' who seemed like a cool ska band I need to find out more about. And Lex also retired early to get some snacks...
The next day saw a set by Dizzee (whom with Bonkers and Dirty Disco sounds pretty gay... but fun) and an AWESOME set by Gogol Bordello (Break the Spell... or as we were yelling ''make the smell'' and ''wear the colour purple for me''). It also saw some EPIC levels of sunburn already on display... I don't think the Germans have the same ''no hat no play'' approach to sun safety as Australia... This is despite us finding and using SPF 50+ sunscreen. The tshirts are also good... ''Someone always has got to be a dick'', ''if assholes could fly this place would be an airport'' and ''crazy, drunk and goth'' (on a guy who wasn't goth) being favourites.
As I lay dying (whom we weren't super familar with) was greeted by Vou's funniest line of the festival. ''We're going to play you a new song now it's...'' ''PLAY YOUR OLD SHIT!!!!!!'' Vou screams (without knowing ANY of their songs at all). Muse also played suitably epically... best set of theirs I have seen. In fact the only complaint of the day was my ''pasta mario'' experience... it was a cheap pasta food booth thing, and while tasting alright it made ''pizza mario'' seem amazing... and Pizza Mario was just disgusting reheated pizza... if you can screw up pasta with tomato sauce enough to make it worse than the pizza something is up... Not that it really tasted bad (just spicy) the problem more lay in the noises and smells created for the evening later... soz about that Robbo...
There is also almost zero police presence here... which seems alien when compared to what you get at Australian festivals... think about all the cops at Soundwave. But there are also a lot less noticiably drug fucked people and angry drunks etc... I didn't see one person in a fight, being escorted out or even in trouble the whole time... I didn't even see anyone throw up or evidence of it... It was pretty well a casualty free event... although I did see a few crutches etc so I think some knees and ankles may feel a bit abused.
There were also a lot of kilts and Australian ''pretenders''... which was a bit odd. The ''emu'' signal did live on and flourish at Rock am Ring though.
By Sunday the camp site is definitely starting to feel very dark ages... I was beginning to expect a feudal lord to show up... I imagine this would only get worse if we were at a campsite with a castle in the background. My morning stretches (given how tight/sore I was feeling) were greeted with great bewilderment and puzzled looks by our german friends with their morning beers... Vou apparently got a lot of ''what is he doing?'' as I pulled out every stretch I knew in a desperate attempt to feel limber for the day. ''I think I bruised my soul'' had already been uttered by this point. With rain beating down on and off from the Cancer Bats I was a little concerned about the waterproofness of my tent... But she preformed admirably with everything staying dry and only a few bends and one tent peg missing at the end... I'm very proud of her.
The sounds seemed like a cool band, need to look them up more when I get home and the Crystal Castles show was AWESOME. That chick did seem remarkably ''chemically enhanced'' though. Lex's big funny came early today with '' No Vousden, seriously your mum is way rougher than mine''. Watching Bad Religion and Rise Against was awesome too... Bad Religion did an awesome show... And thankfully the festival scourge of ''once a year moshers'' isn't just limited to australia.
We also met Lou the 16 year old German girl who goes to the festival with her dad... who was so drunk he couldn't make it out of the campsite Sunday... Clearly there is a slightly different vibe to is here than at home... Not to mention that wasn't the first parent/child pair I'd met... Seems like a weird idea to me, but whatever works for them I guess.
The final act Sunday was Ramstein, and I can't express in words how awesome that show was. It was the most perfect way to finish our german festival... Ramstein on home turf in front of about 80,000 people. The set was incredible... no wonder they took an hour to set up. I'm (clearly) not the worlds biggest Ramstein/metal fan... but seriously.... wow... just wow... Fire breathing masks, hovering platforms, costume changes, sparkly suits, crowd surfing in a rubber dingy and a the keyboardist spending 45mins on a treadmill playing kinda gives you an idea of how good it was... But now multiply that by eleventy-twelve to get how good it REALLY was...
Monday morning saw four shattered, shrivelled and empty husks of men pack up their tents and walk up the hill in search of dignity, their souls, a bathroom and something to stop the chaffing (in no particular order). But we made it without a single casulty (only minor ''snacking'') and a distinct lack of major hangovers... But by now we'd already begun to forget we'd even seen kiss... it was a very large few days. We abused facilities at a variety of hotels, welcome centres and reestaurants over the days, smuggled in litres of whiskey and coke down our pants (given coke was as expensive as beer inside) and due to the relatively lax security (no dogs and only minor frisking) only Lex managed to get himself caught... where they let you keep it, just not come in with it... The refund for the plastic cups is a great idea too... but I doubt it would work in Aus.
So that was Rock am Ring... to quote Vou it was AMAZEBALLS
Löve, Hügs änd Kißes