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12.03.2010. Travelling across Europe: PAGANFEST complete photo report and some more.

Scroll all the way down for a full photo report.


Wow, finally a week end when I ‘only’ have to shoot a festival, and don’t have to travel somewhere. I’ve been on the road for a month, first in Regensburg shooting Dúné, then in Hamburg in the studio with Indica, in Munich snapping Emilie Autumn, covering the entire Finnish Metal Expo and Industry Day in Helsinki, then travelling with the Paganfest package for several days in Germany and Austria until last week end in Stuttgart, then back to Munich to shoot Airbourne and finally Shining last night. Sigh… 


Somehow I still find the time to cram in a full-time day job AND the time to rework and send my clients the pics immediately… But yes, I have given up on sleep and on any kind of real social life. And you all wonder why I spend so much time on Facebook. Well think about it: your friends and clients are all living in Finland, the UK or the USA, so when you can’t see them on tour, how else are you supposed to stay in touch with them when you’re in city X, Y or Z? It’s not like anything great ever happens in Munich, really. We do have the world’s largest sauna, but what fun is it to go alone, especially when you can’t bring your own Lonkero. 


Waiting for the show in Vienna. 


Basically, it’s like this: I spend most of my time working and planning the next adventure. And in between I try to catch up with ‘reality’ on Facebook. It’s not sad: everyone is doing it too… You might have seen my video blog on Finntroll getting ready for a show in Vienna: the whole band spends most of their waking hours online either on WoW or Facebook/myspace. No wonder, what else do you want to do when you’re told to ‘hurry up and wait’ in a boring backstage in a venue in the middle of nowhere?



Waiting for the show on Facebook, in Vienna. 



All this to say, I’m pretty glad that I can go home tonight and ‘just’ work on the mountain of editing required for my FME ‘surprise-feature’ before watching Saw VI and taking a hot bath. I’ll need the energy, because I’m going to have to shoot 6 death metal and grindcore bands in the worst venue in Munich tomorrow: no lights, no photo pit, no food, and a floor filled with the drunkest, widest and clumsiest people in Bavaria who may even like to hardcore-dance.



Getting ready for the show in Munich. 



Where was I? Ah yes, the Paganfest. Well what is there to say about that… This time it’s Finntroll, Eluveitie, Dornenreich, Varg and Arkona. The ‘pagan’ bands are always being put on tours together. A little over a year ago, on the Heidenfest, pushed by the same company, Finntroll and Eluveitie were featured together. I guess for the fans (and I’m one of them) it’s starting to get a wee bit hard to follow. There are those who are ALWAYS on these tours, like Eluveitie, Equilibrium and Korpiklaani, and then there are those who sometimes are and sometimes aren’t, like Ensiferum, once on Paganfest 2008 then deciding not to take part in 2009 to instead promote their latest record, exactly when the Paganfest AND Amorphis tours were running in September-October 2009… (pagan overload anyone?) And finally there are those who simply refuse to be on these pagan packages, like Turisas who only jumped on the USA leg of the 2008 Paganfest.



More Facebook, in Vienna. 



At any rate, as I travel with the tour all around the German-speaking parts of Europe, I can clearly see that maybe it's just me. The Backstage is packed, the Gasometer is full, the LKA is like a human-powered sauna... Apparently these tours are doing quite well. I keep hearing metal 'purists' complaining about how 'pagan metal isn't real metal', and that 'real' bands like Unleashed have nothing to do on these tours... Well when you get Arkona on the stage (and whether or not they speak a word of English) or when you add Alestorm you can clearly see that the audience cares not about whether this is so-called 'true metal' or not. They're there to drink your mead dry and humppa till dawn. They're not there because this music 'means something' or 'represents' some kind of dark anger, like the audience in other countries. The Germans are surely there to dance and party. And THAT is why the tours are so successful.


Wenches and mead. Vienna. 



This brings me to think about the future of such packages. Based on my own observations, there are bands that hit it, and bands that don't. There are bands you go watch because you like 'real metal' and bands you watch to dance a polka. Maybe the variety of genres is what make these tours special after all... I didn't really understand why Dornenreich replaced Swashbuckle on the tour at first, or why Die Apokalyptischen Reiter and Unleashed were on the 2009 edition of Paganfest, but it's quite clear. Dornenreich pull in the 'doom' crowd, the Reiter bring in the Germanophones (this of course, you can only measure when you see them at a German-Austrian show) and Unleashed brings in (sorry guys) the 'daddys' of metal, who've been listening to good old death metal since the mid-80s.



Humppa humppa töttörö. Munich. 


'Future of these tours', you ask. I don't know. Paganfest 2009 was in September-October 2009 and Paganfest 2010 in February-March 2010, only a mere 3,5 months later and still the franchise hits the jackpot. I once spoke to Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow about this. His reply: 'people who are into this pagan stuff get together and feel unity, i think it's becoming a cool tradition in that sense, they just want to get together and have a good time"'. So it's clear to me. I haven't been on the Paganfests outside of the Germano-sphere much, so I don't know how many people they pull in or what the reply is, but at least as far as I can see, it's simple. We're living in times of economic depression, where many of us are worried about our future. It seems we're treating metal heads the same way the Romans treated their conquered lands: by giving them 'bread and games'. Or maybe Maurizio Iacono of Canadian-Italian 'Roman-Metal' band should probably say : 'Give them mead and games, and the Republic's people will live in peace'.


Bored before the show? No problem. You can always steal the band's stage props. Stuttgart.




For a whole photo report, click HERE.



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