Hammerfest IV – The Planetmosh Experience

Normally after attending festival or a gig I would write a review about the overall experience of the event, what I thought about the venue, the bands, how the crowds reacted, etc, and for those of you that have looked at all of our Hammerfest IV posts, you will see that I have done just that.  However, this time round I thought I would also write a little something about my experience of Hammerfest.

Now I am the first to admit that when I go to festivals I can rarely remember what bands I have seen over the course of the few days, and that I am sad to say is due the supply of adult beverages.  So I knew straight away when I got my press pass that this festival would be very different from the ones I have been to before.  For one, I’d be sober for a lot of it, and two it is indoors.  This was my first time at Hammerfest and before I got there I did struggle to imagine a metal festival indoors, at Pontins.  Howevger, for those that went I know you’ll agree that it does work, and with the weather being good, but not summer warm, I was very glad to get indoors.

So…what is a festival like for a music journo such as myself?  Well…it goes a little something like this:

 

Thursday

Arrived at Hammerfest after a highly amusing road trip from London with my mates, went to collect my press pass and successfully avoided the long check-in queue in the process.  After grabbing my press pass I headed off to check out my new home for the next few days and get my bearings before my first set of interviews.  I wasn’t sure what to expect at first as when someone tells you you’re in a chalet for some reason I had images of Swiss ski chalets in my head!  Admittedly, these were not quite up to the same standard, however, they were comfy, secure, had hot water (if you pressed the shower button every 30 seconds) and you could roll out of bed and make a tea.  Bonus!

So, after unpacking I headed off to Stage 3 to catch some of the set for the first band; Firebrand Super Rock.  Opening up any festival has got to, in my opinion, create some sense of nerves, as it is kind of setting the tone for the rest the weekend.  I could only stay for a few songs as I had to head off and conduct my first interview, but what I saw I liked.  After heading out I met up with some more of the Planetmosh crew and bumped into the singer from Fury.  After a quick chat we decided to arrange an interview for later that evening before they did their set on Stage 2 (check it out).

I also bumped into another, this time fairly drunken band, and taking advantage of the dictaphone I had, I thought now would be a great time to conduct an interview.  Needless to say it wasn’t as informative an interview as it could have been but it was very, very funny and certainly showed me things I hadn’t expected. (You know who you are!)

After that I wandered around the arena trying to get my bearings and seeing as many bands as I could whilst also meeting up with many of my friends.  Now for those of you that arrived at Hammerfest on the Thursday you will have seen the sheer drunkenness that ensued for many, and I am afraid to say that my mates were right there with them.  I would name them but what would that mean to you?  Needless to say it was very strange not being the most drunk person there for once.  That and thank you to two of my mates, and the random strange person who thought it a good idea to lean all their weight on me and then to launch a tickle attack.  I’m only little, it wasn’t fair!

After I escorted my particularly drunk chalet mate back I headed to Stage 2 to catch the last of the band.  There I bumped into the singer from Fury and follow Planetmoshers and chatted and drank, before heading back with group in tow for more drinks as apparently the bar had closed.

 

Friday

Let’s just say that you know it’s not a good sign when your chalet mate walks into the room in the morning, takes one look at you and begins to laugh.  Charming! But given that I’d had 5 hours sleep I thought I was doing pretty well. Well, I was awake – baby steps, people, baby steps.  After some very slow moving and tea drinking on my part and some top breakfast cooking on their part, I made it over to the press area in time for my first interview at midday with RSJ.

After this followed a series of other interviews throughout the day, with only a couple of chances to race over to the various stages to catch a couple of songs from the bands I interviewed.  Unfortunately for me I didn’t get to see most of them, and I would have loved to, but with at least 9 interviews to conduct there’s not always a lot of free time.  Plus, I have to say that hanging out in the press area is fun – a lot of fun.  The bands I interviewed were really nice and funny and the Planetmosh crew, well, what can I say? Except, hilarious, and not just a little bit naughty.   I managed to grab about 20 minutes break in the day to catch up with my mates before heading back to do more interviews.

The penultimate interview of the day was around 6pm with Evil Scarecrow and if you have watched the video then you know how that went.  I can say that that was my favourite interview of the day just for its sheer randomness and entertainment.  You’ll notice that I didn’t ask many questions; I had more on my list but somehow I got a bit distracted.

After this I managed to grab something quick to eat before heading in to watch some bands on Stage 2.  After a long day at work there’s nothing like a nice cold beer, unless that’s someone else’s beer who decided to walk right into you.  Cheers dude!  Shortly after I head on up back to the press area for my last interview of the day at 9.30.  Following on from this, one of their beers gets grabbed, they move it out of the way – and who is in the way?  Yup, me! All over and down my top.  Nice! So, after we pack up I go back to change and meander into the bar of Stage 2 for a drink and some more bands.

Towards the end of the final band I bumped into one of my interviewees and had a chat which was slightly interrupted by a pint of beer being dropped right next to my foot.  (Yes, that’s three lots of beer). Ah well, it was obviously a sign that I hadn’t drunk enough of it, and to be fair I’d only managed a couple by that stage.

Just as we were being asked to clear the area (closing again?!) I bump into the lovely chaps from RSJ and had a couple more drinks and general hilarity before heading back to find my chalet for some well deserved sleep.

 

Saturday

In hindsight it probably would have been better to have swapped the amounts I drank Friday and Saturday as I had a much lighter interview schedule today and had a much clearer head.  Which is also good as it was my turn to make breakfast.  However, I am rubbish on little sleep and got the call to hold the fort in the press room and given that I smelt a little like a brewery, chalet mate did it again whilst I got ready – again, thank you!

I didn’t have my interviews until later on in the day, but there is always things to be done and people to talk to, and preparation to finish so I did spend quite a bit of the day in the press room again.  But then I like chatting to the Planetmosh group and you bump into bands you have interviewed previously and chat some more.  What I will say for the bands at Hammerfest and all those working in the press room is that everyone was great to talk to, motivated, helpful and really friendly.

Over and above chatting away, I did run around to catch a few more bands, as well as meander around the site checking out the stalls, speaking to people and generally getting a feel for how everyone else was enjoying the weekend.  After this it was back to the press room and our interview sofa for some more band interrogation.  Again I spoke to some great bands and was very pleased indeed to get to speak to Mikey from Skindred! A great band and such nice person to interview – go have a listen.

At about 6pm I was given the nudge to go outside, watch some bands, drink some beer and generally enjoy myself.  After doing a bit more the polite nudge became a shove and I was evicted from the press area ordered to go have fun.  So I dropped off my interview stuff, grabbed a couple of beers and headed over to my mates’ chalet to catch up on what looked like to be some pretty successful drinking.  After an hour or two we headed back over to the main stage for music and then the VIP bar (why? because I could) for some more beers – I was under orders after all.  Then it was time to run to Stage 1 to watch Skindred’s set which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Such a long set but at the end it felt like no time at all.  I’ve never seen them play before and was very impressed.  I even got in a bit of exercise with jumping about and dancing around.

Next it was back into the VIP bar for some more drinks and just general hanging out and chatting to mates, new and old.

 

Sunday

This is the morning I always find the most strange at festivals as it starts just the same as the others and was bright and sunny, and yet it didn’t hold any of the promises of the previous few days.  Just a bag to pack and a trip back home to be made.  However, unlike the others I did manage to help with the breakfast this morning and I did some washing up (yay me!). After this there was time to go about saying bye the rest of the Planetmosh crew and my other friends before getting into the car for a much more subdued road trip back to London.

It was definitely a different experience of a festival to be working instead of sat in a field drinking, but it was one that I completely enjoyed.  I had the opportunity to talk to some really top people over the course of the weekend and film some very funny interviews, as well as see some great bands.  I am already looking forward to Hammerfest 2013 and whether that will see me propping up the bar or sat in the press area, I know I’ll have a great time.  Thanks to all those who made it such fun and I’ll see you next year!

About Rowena

Interviewer, Reviewer, Radio DJ (Metal Nymph Presents) and Digital Media Wizard at Planetmosh.
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