I think that most hardcore kids can agree that this year’s line-up wasn’t nearly as good as the one from 2013 or 2014. However, I’ve come to know Ieperfest as a more-than-music-festival, and that’s exactly what I enjoy most about it. Each year friends from all over Europe (and the world) gather in this tiny village in Belgium for this progressive, all-vegan fest that inspires to do a little better in life and live a bit more conscious than the day before.
Since I’ve been ill all week, no extensive report this time but a summary of my highlights:
On Friday, I arrived just in time to catch Higher Power on the main stage. After seeing them tear it apart at the Cognitive Dissonance all-dayer in Londen last September, I couldn’t miss out on their set. It was a little odd seeing them play such a huge stage, but they did surprisingly well. Stoked to see how this band will grow in the years to come.
Unfortunately I missed out on Violent Stomp and Wolfpack, but Arms Race killed in the Trench later that afternoon. Violent Reaction was up next and with their highly acclaimed record Marching On under their belt, this was assured to be a banger. The crowd set off at the very first note and kept up the energy level throughout the set. Definitely one of the highlights of this weekend.
In 2014, Broken Teeth from Manchester absolutely tore up the Trench. This year, they were challenged to do the same on the main stage. With their new record At Peace Amongst Chaos out via Nuclear Blast, this was a moment of truth. Were they gonna be able to set off an entire field of people? Well, the answer is YES. Instant moshing and grooving was the result of their heavy (yet a little sloppy) set.
During the day I went to say hi to our friends at The Dutch Weedburger. To my surprise they had launched very cool and unique new product called Wish ‘n Chips – as the name suggests, it’s a plant-based alternative for fish ‘n chips. Its briny taste is remarkable and so is the texture (soft on the inside with a crispy coating). It’s served with homemade potato chips, grilled lime, pickles and a great sauce, so definitely give it a try when you have the chance!
After catching up on some much needed sleep due to a great afterparty, we got back at the festival site around the time Desolated entered the stage. I’m not a huge fan of their music, but their set was tight as fuck. H2O was up next and with the sun reaching its high point, the PMA was alive and well. In my humble opinion, Toby Morse is a huge inspiration and a great role model, so it’s always a pleasure seeing this band play such a good set no matter the circumstance.
xBishopx played the Trench later that afternoon and they were the first band to actually bring some decent speeches to the stage in between songs. It was a good reminder what unites us as a hardcore community, but more importantly, that it’s important to take that spirit beyond the safe walls or fences of a venue or hardcore festival. Question everything and speak up when people say ignorant, racist bullshit. Sit down with them and have a conversation, one on one.
Unfortunately I missed out on a lot of great bands on Sunday like xViciousx, Ashes and World Eater. Luckily, Bart was there to capture their sets nevertheless. Risk It, Iron Reagan and Valient Thor all played sick sets after which I headed back to The Netherlands.
Shout-out to the organization for pushing their progressive values to another lever this year. Can’t wait to see next year’s anniversary bill.