Every festival freak out there knows that M’ERA LUNA festival, which takes place in Hildesheim, Germany every year, is really unique and colorful! As soon as the line-up for this year’s festival was announced, I knew I had to go there. What I liked about the line-up was that it was a mixture of symphonic/gothic rock with EBM/darkwave stuff and it was surely going to be amazing! Furthermore, this year, I decided to attend to the festival as a ‘Lotse’ (volunteer) which meant that I would be working and enjoying the festival at the same time.
The festival would start on Saturday, 10th August, but as a volunteer, I had to be there much earlier; right after my 1-month-of-vacation in Turkey on 8th August, I went directly to Hildesheim. I was quite excited at first; I kinda got to know a few volunteers before on the Facebook group but my emotions were mixed. However, it was much better than I expected! Firstly, we had our own camping place which was a HUGE plus for someone like me who is not so familiar with the whole camping stuff. The other volunteers were also beyond nice; everybody helped each other and got to know each other.
As a volunteer, I would also get to see the whole festival BEFORE it began; during Thursday and Friday, the constructions and the food/shopping places were being built and it was so interesting to see the festival area totally empty! It was nevertheless full of energy.
The most interesting day for me (apart from the whole festival of course) was the Friday, 9th of August. As I got to work in the entrance, I got to meet so many interesting fans with the most interesting outfits. This was surely different for me because I never got to see so much variety in an average metal festival.
Back to M’era Luna festival… The first band I could see was SALTATIO MORTIS. I saw them live on Metalfest in 2012 and they did not change ever since; they were still energetic and they managed to keep the crowd lively and happy. What caught my attention was frontman Alea ‘Der Bescheidene’’s speech about racism all around the world (they even had a song against it, “Wachstum Über Alles”) and their announcement of the new album, which was released couple of days ago.
The next artist I could see was the Austrian industrial techno act NACHTMAHR. Everybody had been hyped up about the act this year and this could be seen from the queue formed in front of the hangar stage. It was impossible to enter to the stage; I had to wait 10-15 mins and I could understand why.
The crowd for NACHTMAHR was also divided. The people in the front mostly applaused and took photos whereas the crowd in the far back (including me) consisted of the industrial dancers, who were amazing in my opinion, and people, who just wanted to hang out and get a taste of the whole vibe.
Highlights of the whole performance were surely the two female ‘entertainers’ during the performance (one of them ended up topless towards the end of the performance) and the whole slide show. There were lots of sentences from artists/authors in this slide show that made me go ‘Wow’ but the most interesting was the sentence “War is not the answer.” And I think the message was clear on this one. This whole slide-show/animation thing was surely a contrast to the whole dynamic performance and it built the essence of this Nachtmahr show.
The last band I could see the first day was the Finnish rockers HIM. I last saw them on Helldone Festival in December and I was quite disappointed with the band ever since. Especially after “Tears on Tape” came out, I thought that HIM would never be the same again. So I also did not have high expectations this time. However, HIM surprised me! They started the set with the songs from their new album “Tears on Tape” and from there on, it was like a journey through time. I really liked the setlist they chose for the festival; it was not too much rock’n’roll (did I mention M’era Luna was not 100% metal/rock festival ? :D) but it was not too ‘cheesy’ either. They played some ‘classics’ like Wings of a Butterfly, Join Me and It’s All Tears but also some of the ‘new’ songs like Hearts At War and All Lips Go Blue. The crowd seemed to love the brand-new HIM as well. The frontman Ville Valo seemed ‘healthy’ and ‘fit’; he played his cool acoustic guitar most of the time and this time, it was actually the other members (especially the guitarist Linde) that were in the spotlight so that was great to see! The only thing I did not like about the performance was the last song “When Love and Death Embrace”; I always found that song ‘too’ slow and it was just like a lullaby for an energetic festival like M’era Luna. Nevertheless, the performance was nothing like Helldone festival and I can clearly say that HIM has improved since December and they kick ass more than ever!
The second day started with a ‘traffic-shift’ for me. I had to stand in the entrance road for 6 hours and tell the ‘confused’ drivers where to park and stuff 😀 This meant that I would be missing the performance of the Finnish goth’n’rollers THE 69 EYES. Something rather different was waiting for me that day though; I decided to dance a little bit and headed to the hangar stage for German EBM act [: SITD:]. The whole atmosphere was just like Nachtmahr; it took me a while to get into the stage but once I got there, the people were going crazy! I especially loved the moves the industrial dancers were making and the whole performance definitely brightened up my day.
M’era Luna was not all about artists and performances though; the ‘Mittelaltermarkt’ and the ‘Gothic Fashion Town’ looked promising as well. As a person who loves gothic clothing, this festival was the perfect location for me. I even ended up buying 2 great gothic tops! 😀 Mittelaltermarkt was also astonishing although I think that there should be more space for more middle age stuff next time; surely there were lots of ‘goths’ around but majority of the festival freaks were also fans of Viking/pagan stuff as well!
One of the highlights of Sunday was BLUTENGEL. I wanted to see this act for a long time and M’era Luna was the perfect festival for this! I would have preferred Chris Pohl and Ulrike Goldmann to perform during the night since Blutengel songs go perfect with the night but I can’t complain; Chris Pohl and the performers managed to give a great performance to an enthusiastic crowd. My favorite songs from the whole set were “Die with You” and the last song “Engelsblut”.
As the night has fallen on M’era Luna festival, everybody had been waiting for one band only ; NIGHTWISH. The band has been through a lot recently; it’s been a long time since the former vocalist Anette Olzon left the band and with the success of the movie/soundtrack/album Imaginaerum and the replacement of the temporary tour vocalist Floor Jansen, all eyes were surely going to be on Floor’s performance with the band.
As soon as the band started their performance with “Dark Chest of Wonders”, I knew that it was gonna be just a spectacular show. From the first song, Floor Jansen, who is also the vocalist of Dutch metal band ReVamp, proved that she fit perfectly to Nightwish. There were no complaints about it; she totally rocked the whole performance and she gained a lot of respect with her sympathetic attitude.
Throughout the whole performance, the band performed old songs (Nemo, Ghost Love Score, Ever Dream, Bless The Child, Wish I Had An Angel) as well as brand new songs (Storytime, I Want My Tears Back, Last Ride of the Day) and fireworks accompanied some songs so it was like a circus for the festival; some people were headbanging while others were just singing along and applausing. Nightwish deserved all of it though; it was my first time seeing the band but I wasn’t sure how Floor was with the band. I knew that she has an amazing voice but I wasn’t sure if she would actually rock the ‘old’ Nightwish songs and she did! She might even be THE singer of Nightwish. She has the perfect voice and the perfect stage appearance.
2 days of great music and 4 days of fun volunteer work… M’era Luna 2013 was definitely the best experience I ever had. It was also a different atmosphere for a metalhead like me; I got to see another side of a festival and got to know so many cool people! As the Germans say, ‘bis nächstes Jahr!’ 😀