Graspop Metal Meeting is one of the biggest European festival for my beloved music but, as strange as it may sound, it never was on my Metal radar.
Summer 2016 was then the first time I went to Dessel, a little town in Belgium, to attend this 20 years old event…and now I can’t wait to be back!
So why I liked it so much? Was everything perfect? Its wasn’t, but good things far outweigh the negatives.
So here’s my humble opinion on why you should also go to Graspop Metal Meeting.
GRASPOP METAL MEETING: VERY GOOD REASONS TO CHOOSE IT AMONG OTHER EUROPEAN METAL FESTIVALS
1. Perfect organization.
From the moment you got your wristband to the camping facilities, the stages and stands layout and the covered beer garden, everything was nicely planned.
2. Quantity (and quality) of bands.
You can like or despise a band, but quality isn’t based on tastes (unfortunately!?!). At Graspop, you will find an undeniably huge number of really valuable bands (that you may like or hate).
On 2016 edition, 106 bands played day and night on 2 main open air stages, 2 big stages under 2 vast marquees and 2 other smaller indoor stages.
Established acts as well as newcomers played every possible subgenre.
3. Relaxed and cheerful atmosphere.
Everyone was really enjoying their stay and the concerts. There were only smiling and friendly faces all over the place. I only witnessed crazy and funny behavior and no fights. Dutch air? Who knows, but Netherland’s border is really few km away 😀
4. Belgian beer.
Belgian beer is famous all around the world for its premium taste. Therefore it was a really nice touch to have a Belgian Beer Bar where you can buy a glass of different types of this Gods’ nectar and then taste it under a very nice (and useful against the rain) covered beer garden.
Graspop is held in Belgium and the town itself is very close to the Dutch border, so it’s very easy to reach with every means of transport.
Going by plane, you have several airports to choose from and the prices of the tickets are generally not very steep. Once you land, there’s a shuttle that will take you (upon payment) to the festival ground from every nearest airport. I had a bad experience with one of this buses (I missed some bands I really wanted to see because of it) but that’s another story I may tell you if you like.
6. Free Wi-Fi.
I know, I know, you shouldn’t pay attention to your smartphone, but come on, we can’t deny the importance of a free Wi-Fi service. Getting important news real-time, get in touch with friends you want to meet on the festival ground, sending updates home and so on…FOMO is surely real, but I was really thankful for this convenience.
7. DJ sets to end the night.
Is there a better way to end a great day of screaming guitars and decibels race than rocking to all time Metal hits?
No matter how tired you are, headbanging and moving to the rhythm of well-known classics is the perfect party-time ending.
As I’ve written before, IMHO it wasn’t a perfect festival, so here are some imperfections I found:
The admission ticket price is consistent with other European music festivals, but everything else is not.
Food and beer were particularly expensive and so I was always worried about spending too much…bummer!
To whom is interested: vegan choices are pretty limited.
2. Tokens system.
You have to change your money for some plastic tokens in order to buy everything. It’s easier for queues, I admit it, but tokens values are a mess and you never fully comprehend how much you are paying…ending up spending way too much (see previous point).
3. Constant rain.
Obviously, this is not a festival organizers’ fault as they also did their best to contain the damage, supplying millions of bark chips and floorboards for the soaked festival grounds. Nevertheless, I must say we essentially pitched our tent in the water (losing some pegs in the process) and so it wasn’t very funny to sleep in a “floating tent”.
Anyway, I want to highlight that, regardless of the terrible weather, everyone was having a great time and we survived once again! We are made of steel, after all 😛
On the same subject, the biggest tip I can give is the same first one I wrote about in my Wacken festival post (click here to read it fully): dress in layers and bring warm clothes as nights are pretty cold in Belgium. And NEVER forget waterproof clothes and gear!
Dear Graspop Metal Meeting, it was my first time to attend, but it certainly won’t be the last!
Have I persuaded you to go?
And if you’ve been there already, did you like it as I did?