A throwback to my visit to Graspop Metal Meeting 2017; good memories of an amazing time rocking Dessel’s festival fields. For three days, thousands of metal fans communed in an atmosphere of friendship, understanding, tolerance and an unwavering love of heavy music.
For those who don’t know, Graspop Metal Meeting (often shortened to ‘Graspop’ or ‘GMM’) is an annual three-day heavy metal festival, that has taken place each year since 1996. The festival has been held at the ‘De Stenehei’ site in the Belgian town of Dessel since 2009. With a lineup that spans several generations of heavy music, Graspop Metal Meeting is the devil’s favorite playground.
This was my second time visiting Belgium for Graspop. But, it was my first time to attend the full festival, from Friday evening until Sunday night. Three days of screaming guitars and wrist-fracturing drumbeats… who said that heaven on earth doesn’t exist?
It was one hell of a festival, with multiple highlights and, of course, some disappointments as well. We haven’t seen every single show, but here’s a short summary of what we did see:
Rammstein (Friday, Main Stage 1, 00:00)
The main headliner of this festival was definitely Rammstein. Friday tickets were all sold out in no time after Graspop organization announced Rammstein’s attendance on Friday evening. And of course the Germans of Rammstein never let their fans down. Their show was really spectacular, filled with fireworks, implacable guitar violence and a diversity of outfits that you couldn’t have imagined even in your wildest dreams. They sang their most famous songs from each and every album, but the popular album ‘Mutter’ was the most present.
Five Finger Death Punch (Saturday, Main Stage 2, 21:10)
With lead singer Ivan Moody taking time off the band, due to his battles with alcohol, former Divine Heresy and current Bad Wolves vocalist Tommy Vext was filling in for Moody. Graspop was only their third show with Tommy Vext on vocals, but it was great!
The Charm The Fury (Sunday, Main Stage 2, 12:20)
A nice surprise on a Sunday morning. It was my first acquaintance with this Dutch metalcore band, but what an awesome show it was! Playing early in the day, they managed to get quite a crowd to the tent. I just love how front woman Caroline Westendorp combines screaming and singing. It was an absolute stunner and a name to remember for the near future.
Alestorm (Sunday, Main Stage 2, 14:05)
Another one of those pleasant Graspop surprises. I had never really experienced “pirate metal” before, but to be honest I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the performances and the music itself.
Evanescence (Sunday, Main Stage 1, 19:10)
One of the bands that we really wanted to see. I fell in love with Evanescence from the second I heard Amy Lee’s voice. Their their debut album ‘Fallen’ is still one of my favorites in my music collection. Based on multiple reviews, we were afraid their performance would not do right to the recordings, but Amy Lee’s voice sounded amazing and they were very solid and entertaining. Their show was an absolute success.
In addition to the above, we also saw great shows of a.o. Dee Snider, Epica, Europe, Tarja Turunen, Europe, Alter Bridge, Airbourne and Gotthard.
They say “Life is better with friends”. And so is Graspop. My boyfriend Count vlAD and I had a wonderful time with some of our dearest friends. So, I suggest that if you’re going to Graspop Metal Meeting, better bring your friends with you to make it more fun.
After three days partying in sunny Dessel I was exhausted but satisfied. It was time to pack up and go home with nothing but great memories… and a mild sunburn.
⊗ Was it worth the visit? Hell yeah!
⊗ Did we get to hear some great music? Hell yeah!
⊗ Do we want to visit next year’s edition? Once more, hell yeah!