Amphi Festival 2015

by Schnauzevoll

Hey there, Internet!

Obviously I returned from Amphi Festival, more or less alive. I am sorry for using the words ‘rain, storm,…’ so often in this post but goodness, it was a horrible weather-weekend. I also am sorry for only having iPhone pictures of this festival – And this means a worse quality for sure, I did not know that cameras like my Canon would be allowed to be used by everyone and so I went without it, the smaller camera refused to work, too. This year was the first year of Amphi Festival being located at Lanxess Arena Köln / Cologne. The new place of event includes a big indoor stage (Arena Stage) and two smaller outdoor stages (Green & Orbit), food, clothing and other booths were inside the arena, in a building next to it and on the outer areas as well.

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On Friday I went to my car around 10am and arrived at the official camping ground at 5pm, since everyone else stayed at home or in a hotel I was happy to meet two nice girls while unpacking and we put our tents next to each other. Then I tried to fix my makeup and hair (hair actually happened during some kind of traffic jam already) and went out for the night. I know there was an official pre-party on a ship but I still preferred to go to Essigfabrik. That night they had an Empire of Darkness / Dark Genesis Party., nice location, nice lineup (Unterschicht -already seen them at WGT but was awesome seeing them again!-, Accessory, Phosgore, Haujobb and Frozen Plasma), a warmup party that probably was as good as the official one, then it started raining. Knowing my luck with tram and other vehicles I still decided to walk back to the tent and probably fell asleep within a second after taking off my corset and boots. On a sidenote: next time be prepared to look for tram, walking 1 hour to get there and 1 hour to get back to the tent is not the best thing to do.

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Saturday in a word or two: Rain, Storm, Chaos. It was already raining when the camping ground awoke and the forecast said it would continue throughout the day so simply waited until there was a moment of less rain and started walking to the festival area. When arriving they already told us to hide inside the areana because there was an official storm warning which caused us having to stay inside all day, confused and in a quite overcrowded place. Of course it took a while until the Amphi-team decided what to do, the open air stages got no permission to be opened so there were some changes in the running order. In the end we went to the arena stage which was the only thing available and sat down. Sometimes they would tell us about new changes via facebook, email, handouts or on stage. Anyways, some really nice gigs happened that day, I definitely enjoyed those of The Birthday Massacre and The Crüxshadows who both had the used-to energy, bouncing around, interacting with the audience even though Rogue would not be able to climb around the stage because of missing bars so he only went off the stage to the audience sometimes. Goethes Erben were amazing as well and I can oly recommend seeing a show by them if given the opportunity, especially if you understand German, they for sure have inspiring texts. And One as headliner for the day definitely were a great choice, too and Steve Naghavi made everyone scream when he said he would have bought the festival and would return it to the Tanzbrunnen next year, probably only was a joke but it looked like everyone would agree! Back at the camping ground there was some more music, talking and laughing and when I set my alarm for 7 I realized it would only be 2 hours of sleep and probably end painful, but I guess it also means that despite the rain it was a fun day / night!

Sunday was what waking up festival camping should be like, it already was hot at 7am, making it impossible to sleep in the tent much longer. So I stood up, got ready, had a beer while charging my phone and then went on to the arena again. This time we were allowed to stay outside, browsing the stores and enjoying the open air stages that also slowly went alive. Meanwhile on the arena stage Dr. Mark Benecke and der Tod (death, comedian) presented the concerts. I have to admitt I really did not see a lot before Das Ich, simply was too excited to see them perform again so I had to run around a bit before. And seriously, this was amazing. When I compared the ’13 WGT gig to those before ‘that bad thing happened’ I was impressed that Stefan Ackermann was again able to interact with the audience this much and how much energy he must have put into his performance. Now this Amphi gig again was perfect, instead of standing there he was running around, not just on stage but also right in front of the audience, letting us join the songs. I’m sure if someone would have taken a picture of me in one of those moment’s I would be in it staring with the most stupid expression on my face but this was simply breathtaking so excuse my lack of self control. Afterwards I actually followed friends I ran into and saw a bit of this and that before I went to the greenstage for Diary of Dreams, a lot of stage smoke was used which looked amazing at dusk, but they also did a great show music wise so the audience did not care for the upcoming rain. In the end everyone went to see VNV Nations amazing headlining show, or maybe it would be better to say ‘tried to go to’ because after a while the security people closed the doors and refused to let anyone in, pushing people back, shouting. There still would have been empty seats so I am sorry this is not a thing to do. Sometime earlier that day I once again ran into ‘It’s black friday‘ and since the picture from WGT looked quite strange due to the lightning I was happy to get another one, also thanks again to Olli (Flickr) for taking the picture!

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In the end I still think the medieval fair you can find at a lot of dark-alternative festivals is missing (Goth music, the smell of fire and medieval food,…) and it really took a bit of that festival-atmosphere that the lights in the arena hall stayed off between the different bands. Might sound like something strange to complain about but there actually were quite a lot of people complaining about this as well, it was concert-like, no festival atmosphere. The security people were horrible, not saying too much here because I prefer to focus on good things but shouting names at people or pushing them without any action from said visitors at first is not a thing to do. Then again the amphi team did a great job when they were not allowed to open the open air stages, they had to act as fast as possible and managed to only have had to cancel a few acts, posting everything on facebook, via email and on handouts as soon as it was clear what would happen next even when it was just a few moments before it actually would happen. And as always it was amazing to meet so many old and new friends, wondering when we will meet again!

Have you been to Amphi yet? Which location was your favourite and what did you think of this year? Have a nice evening!