Some people don’t know ‘Zwarte Cross’ . Don’t aspect it to be a standard musicfestival. The Zwarte Cross is a (motor)cross spectacle which started many years ago with an illegal (Zwart-Black) motorcross. To spice it up a little there was also a band present.
Nowadays this event has grown out to a spectacle with over 152.000 visitors in one weekend. This year again the Sunday was sold out and this means there are 65.000 in the area. Things can’t mad enough on this festival. Spectacular stunt, this year two stuntmen jumped on a bike over the main stage. Weird car-races, with the strangest, mostly colossal vehicles over the motorcrosscircuit. The stranger the better on the Zwarte Cross.
The periphery around this cross has grown out to a huge festival with on the main stage bands like Within Temptation, Raccoon, Kaiserchiefs, but also a theater, reggaestage, an undercovertent for cover-bands, an blues-area, a mega-tent and of course a metal-area. Folk-metal.nl went down at took a look.
Because three days of Zwarte Cross is an attrition, we start on the Friday while the festival is going on for a couple of hours, we enter just before Alestorm climbs on the stage.
The Scottish band (although almost the whole band lives in the Netherlands nowadays, plays on the metal-meadow early on the Fridayevening. And it’s another nice performance of these (below deck)pirates. After a weird techno-Alestorm intro the area was flooded with all their well know songs. And the audience was in for it. On a festival like this where the consumption of beer and partying are the most important things, a band like Alestorm, it’s already in their name, belongs here. Nice.
After this we discovered a large part of the festivalarea, there’s no cross on the Friday, but there’s enough to see. The nirvana coverband was one of the nice things to listen to.
And its a pleasure to the eye to see the festival is not satisfied when the stages are build. The stage on the ‘metalweide’ is chained with two huge chains, the reggaearea is transformed in a tropical beach, bluesbands play form the porch of a large American house, in this way every subarea has his own atmosphere, but everything is drenched in the bone-dry humor of the organisation.
After some ‘looking around’ we go to the Megatent where Russkaja gives a wonderful performance. The audience here is always holding back a little bit in the beginning, but they fall soon for the Russian charms of this band. They have some dificulty starting a circle pit, because most of the metalheads are still in the metalarea, but after a lot of explaning they succed. Nice performance.
Afterwards we go to the mainstage to see Within Temptation. While everybody is waiting, two stuntmen jump over the gigantic main stage. Incredibly spectacular, this kind of things only happen at the Zwarte Cross!!!
After this Within Temptation treats us on a fabulous performance, besides some new tracks, al lot of old track are played fortunately. Wow, great.
Then we have a few hours of sleep, we skip the first hours and start on the Saturday with the German band Frei Wild. Nice German rock, unfortunately no folk with this band, but they play very nice. The band has brought a fairly large number of fans along, which causes together with a quite awkward communication to keep the Dutch audience in the back.
When they stop I walk over to the Metal-meadow, unfortunately the area has suffered quite some rain the past weeks, and despite the fact the organization tries to fix the grounds as much as they can by putting down straw on the wet spots, it remains quite a mess in the metal-area. Lizzy Borden is playing here, fine music but it’s an overkill of show. Compliment ‘though to the two guitarists who play a fantastic guitar-version of our nation Anthem ‘Wilhelmus’. Personally I think we should hear this version at every international sports.
Then it’s time for Doro. Unbelievable how this lady rocks. Since her first tour in 1986!, this German rockdiva has not lost any of her rockpower. She’s playing delicious heavy metalsongs for an hour, and when she has time for one more song at the end of her set, she’s also very enthusiastic herself. Delicious to watch and not only while she’s still looking good, but mostly because of the energy which is dripping of the stage when she’s on it. And I have double fun, in front of me is a very little young girl rocking out of her little roof. Great, metal starts at primary school!!!
After Doro it’s Sonata Arctica’s turn, the main reason for me to come to the Zwarte Cross today. Building up takes a while (too long) and as you can expect the sound is not quite right at the beginning. The Fins play a nice set with a lot of new songs but fortunately also some older ones, including Full Moon, which make this performance worthwhile.
Then I decide to visit the show of Feuerengel, a Rammstein-coverband, which isn’t in the ‘undercover’tent but in the megatent. And it becomes clear soon, this is doing right to the band. The vocals may be a little bit less then the original, and they don’t play so unbelievable tight as Rammstein does, but the band puts down a fabulous show. They haven’t cut down on fire and flames and we get more than an hour of terrific Rammstein songs and we get baked and fried in a huge fire-show. This is a band you have to go and see if you’re don’t have the opportunity to see the original!
After this second day we really have to rest a while and despite of the fact the Dutch band ‘Boi Foi Toch’ has some nice folk in their music we start with the also Dutch band De Heideroosjes. They’re playing their final tour. And they completely blow the roof of the mega-tent.
After a small piece of Racoon we go to watch some stuff from where it all starten. The motorcrosscircuit is loaded and after a while some pieces are closed for coming people, because they’re to crowded. But we have found a nice spot and after a little regular cross we get to see the ‘specials’. And I have to say you can’t imagine with which huge blunt vehicles we get to see. If you get to see them because a lot of vehicles produce huge amounts of smoke, or water of soap. Beautiful so much originality!
We got hungry by all this and grab a bite at one of the many foodstands on the area. There’s something for everyone, Pizza, asian food, hamburgers, fish, chicken, you name it, it’s there.
Finally Fiddler’s Green in the megatent. I was very curious how this, in the Netherlands relatively unknown, band would stand in the megatent. Who will come to see this. At first is faily quiet in the tent, but when they start off with ‘Wall of Folk’, a nice song with a lot of tension in it, the first people start to move forward. And during their set there more and more people decide to enter the tent and. And from the moment in the first track the nice folky tunes are played people start to dance or simply move, because you can’t stand still with this kind of music. The band notices this too and has fun obviously. They’re playing for almost 1 ½ hour en so they have a little resting point halfway with ‘Lost to the Moon’, I think a little bit to much rest and ‘Rose in the Heather’ would have been a better choice. But fortunately not too much people are leaving and the party goes on when they playing the more danceable songs. And of course we get to do the phenomenal ‘Wall of Folk’, based on the, for metalheads well known, ‘Wall of Death’, but at which you don’t clash in the middle but you wriggle along each other to the other ‘shore’, so you can start all over again at the next, ‘1,2,3,4,5’. A nice party, Fiddler’s Green gained a couple of hundred Dutch fans in one stroke.
Too bad, but for us the party is over and we go home tired, but very satisfied. A wonderful party this Zwarte Cross. A festival where an fan of folk-metal can have fun, but it’s of course not the ultimate folk-metalparty. Have an open mind and enjoy besides some (folk-(metal)stuff a lot of other entertainment. There’s always something nice to see or do.