Groezrock 2015 – A Reminisce.
Groezrock Festival – Meerhout, Belgium.
Summoning some of the best in new, contemporary and veteran Punk, Pop-Punk, Hardcore, and Metal (among others) that this planet has to offer, 2015’s festival went off with a bang despite starting off with somewhat soggy beginnings.
If you were at the festival and putting up your tent that first evening, you know the struggle. It was real. #Feels.
Anyway, I simply wanted to do Groezrock a little justice by scribbling a few electronic letters on my own experience as well as those who I shared it with. I’ve managed to round up some quotes from a few Groezrockers (that was terrible) along the way so it’s not just me droning on.
With stalwarts Pennywise, who’s renowned gang chant and ode to the late Jason Thirsk in ‘Bro Hym (Tribute)’, with it’s live rendition being one the most powerful examples of community within music to date, or the masterpiece debut full length by the legendary Social Distortion played in full, or rising stars Gnarwolves whipping up a pit and crowd surfing frenzy – the festival cemented it’s place in music with some legendary moments.
This festival went off.
Against Me! played an amazing set, that much was clear by the reaction of the crowd of smiling faces. Other than the fact that they played ‘Walking Is Still Honest’, the greatest part of their set, at least for me was the smile on the faces of the band and particularly, Laura Jane Grace.
‘After Groezrock, every other weekend of your year will make you feel like a dog who’s stuck inside on a sunny day, looking through the window and noticing a particularly annoying looking cat eating your favourite sausage. It really is the best festival experience that you’ll ever have. Best sets from Beach Slang and Against Me!‘ -Iwan Best
The Macbeth Stage was another great part of the festival, it was placed almost right in-front of the entrance to the arena, which meant you had live music from up and coming acts right in front of you.
It’s such a good thing to see, a festival full of such established bands to still support the “little guys”. Ducking Punches were one of the bands I managed to catch during a busy run and I must admit, I was impressed.
‘It’s really nice to be at a festival devoted to a few specfic genres of music. I loved how everyone there knew the bands that I wanted to watch or just talk about. Best sets from Teenage Bottlerocket and Defeater‘ – Louis Jenkins
I won’t be the only one that finally ticked many of this years line-up off the list… finally. I can’t imagine the amount of agonising conversations on the coaches, ferries, trains, planes and in cars that had to happen in order to decide which parts of the clashed acts ‘we need to go see’.
‘It was my 9th consecutive time at Groezrock, and each year seems like it’s going to be the best yet. They seem to know what you want to see and it’s great. It was great to see some all time favourites like Lagwagon and Satanic Surfers but my favourites from the weekend had to be Gnarwolves and Such Gold! – Bastian Roseneck
Clashes were an issue for me. I had to miss a few bands completely, but that being said, the layout of the main arena really helped matters. You could easily traverse the green space to catch even the smallest amounts of sets. Festivals are exhausting at best, but it’s always the tiny bit worth it. Groezrock, was more than worth it.
‘Groezrock was the best festival I’ve visted. I met a bunch of amazing people from the get-go. Incredible atmosphere at every stage and huge variety of bands to watch at each point of the day. American Nightmare are the only band I’ve seen that reduced me to tears and Ceremony also blew me well away.’ – Dan Hallam
Discovering bands off the cuff, or through a free gap in the schedule where you follow a friend or a group was something, despite attending previous festivals, I had barely experienced. I have to say, The Smith Street Band and The Holy Mess for example were welcome additions to the ‘BANDS I REALLY NEED TO FUCKING LISTEN TO’ list.
The variety in the line-up was something that worked very well indeed. In regard to Hardcore, the Keith Morris-fronted OFF! were flawless, and Comeback Kid and Trash Talk were huge. Bruisers such as Agnostic Front, and newer bands on the circuit such as Stick To Your Guns and The Ghost Inside made sure that varied taste was catered for.
‘Groezrock was literally my favourite weekend I’ve ever experienced. The people, the food, the atmosphere and most of all the bands were just the best thing. Best sets were probably Against Me! and Timeshares‘ – Laurence Nelson
Of course, if you weren’t spending money on food – Vegan Kebabs, what a revelation! – or sweet-sweet-lager then it was on merchandise. Products going towards the Hardcore Help Foundation, PETA and many more were worn and bought in droves. Petrol money, beer, food and band maintenance were paid for by the fans and legacies were extended with every purchase.
I swear I haven’t taken my new Descendents shorts off yet…
The sense of community was perhaps the best of all. In fact, there is no ‘perhaps’ about it. That was exactly it. Meeting new like-minds, embracing random strangers in a pit, or at the front during a ‘moment’ or while strolling along deciding on a food stand. Community is Punk and Punk is community.
You could literally talk to anyone, at any time, it was always welcome because the music really brought people together. I’m fairly certain I’m in some random and hastily taken selfies somewhere. I did have a bit to drink…
‘I’ve basically never left the UK since I was old enough to remember and the first time I did I ended up at Groezrock, which turned out to be one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. (Almost) Everyone was super friendly, everything was reasonably priced and the breakfast tent was my saviour! Definitely planning on a return visit. Highlights for me were Ceremony and Title Fight; best time I’ve seen either band and they both had unreal crowds!’ – Kim Robinson
I could easily rattle on about Groezrock for hours, days, weeks and I’ve only been once. I thoroughly recommend it as a festival whether you like Hardcore or Pop-Punk, Punk Rock or Post-Hardcore or even “alternative” music in general. The people at that festival are there for a love of music and a love of those who love music. It’s quite heart warming if you think about it.
Anyway, lets end on a iconic number shall we, as they played it n’ all…
Aerial photos credited to Bram Fotografie