‘Du bist das MPS’ (You are the MPS) is the slogan of the 2016 edition of the MPS festival.
And this statement is true in many ways. This Medieval culture festival, which has become the biggest one in Europe is based on many success factors. One of them is organiser Gisbert Hiller (Gisi), who has carefully build out this festival since 1994 to what it is today, an event for everybody who loves, medieval atmospere, fantasy, folk, a good time. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody. The people, visiting this event, are of all ages. Young couples with their even younger children, are there. Amongst all the nice things are Drakkar swings and a Ferris wheel. But when these children grow older they still like to come to the festival, there are youngsters of all ages coming together with friends or even with their parents! And looking around, I see visitors of all ages, young old, from 0 – 80, and I apologize for forgetting the ones above 80.
A lot of these visitors are dressed, together they form the medieval/fantasy inhabitation of the festival-grounds and thus they are the MPS, these inhabitants could a break a festival like this, but they don’t, they make it even bigger than it already is. Congratulations Gisi/MPS for creating this whole new world in which people can be who they like to be, maiden, knight, blacksmith or farmer, landlord or princes or even orc.
Among all this there are encampments, where you can how people live in the old days. You can buy jewellery, cloths, swords, whatever, and of course, there’s mead and very good food as well. You don’t have to starve here, you won’t find the regular chips and hamburgers, but all kinds of very nice alternatives.
And then of course there’s the music, three different stages on which there’s always something going on. We chose to see bits of Rapalje, Omnia, Corvus Corax and Feuerschwanz and the whole concert of Fiddler’s Green today. We got stuck in traffic on our way to Telgte, so we missed out on the concert of Rapalje we had planned, but no problem, you seldom have to miss out on a band completely. We choose to go and see Corvus Corax which did a nice job, they managed to draw more and more people to their stage. With their nice instruments like bagpipes, shawms and all kinds of fantasy instruments they create a fine medieval atmosphere. The MPS may be timeless, but our time seems to be limited with a big event like this, and we decide to listen to Corvus Corax in the background while we pay a visit to all the merchandisers in their neighbourhood. On our stroll we stumble upon another stage, where Rapalje is playing, this Dutch Celtic Folk band is immensely popular in Germany and a lot of people are dancing and clapping to the nice tunes of these four very skilled musicians.
After a nice meal we go to see Omnia, but they’re still in the midst of their soundcheck. They take quite a while for this, but it pays off, because it sounds very good when they take off, luckily they start with a few older songs like ‘I don’t speak human’. Jenny has picked up the hurdy-gurdy again and that gives a nice add to some of their songs. Damn, there are so many nice bands out here today, we have to make choices and while we can see Omnia at the MPS in Borken in a month, we decide to leave when they start to play songs of their new album. Time for Feuerschwanz with their Comic Medieval Rock, it has been a while since I’ve seen this band, and I wondered how they were doing now. And I can’t say their songs have become better the last few years, they manage to entertain the audience big time with those songs like ‘Herz im Sturm’. They drag the audience literally into their show, in this one they choose a young maid from the audience and try to conquer her heart at the stage. This band remains hilarious, but there’s one condition, you have to understand German, with these guys, otherwise you miss 95% of the band.
Choices, choices this day. It has been a year since I’ve seen Fiddler’s Green as well, and this surely is a band I don’t want to miss out on. A band which stepped in the footsteps of bands like Flogging Molly 25 years ago, but nowadays they’re just as big. Like you can expect they play them all: Rocky Road to Dublin, Folk’s not Dead, Bugger Off, you name it, they can’t even play all their best songs, because 90 minutes is rather limited for these speedfolkers. But they get the audience going, people are dancing, clapping, shaking, what a great performance they give again!
Well time for us to travel back to the Netherlands, but it was worth the drive. So, I can only draw one conclusion: this was a great MPS once again, don’t you agree. And for all the other that weren’t there: Where have you been, check out the MPS when they are in your neighbourhood immediately, or plan your vacation to Germany somewhere where you can dive into this beautiful event.
For me: On to the MPS in Borken, where we can enjoy bands like Celtica, Cultus Ferox, The Dolmen, Omnia, Versengold and Saltatio Mortis, and this with all the other nice things of the MPS… Can’t wait, see you there!