1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007… those were the years I went to Pukkelpop. There’s one year missing: it’s 2002 and the headliners were Guns’n’Roses. A band that shouldn’t be on the line-up of an alternative festival, especially not given their attitude: the backstage needed to have gates between GnR’s trailers and the stage, so no one could get near pompous Axl. The concert started with more than an hour delay because Axl is a diva and thinks this is necessary. Fed up with this shit, one band (I believe it was Danko Jones) dressed up in black, blackened their faces and sneaked into GnR’s sealed-off area, lay down and hoped the twats would stumble. Give that band a medal.
2008 is a similar year: if you look up Pukkelpop 2008 line-up, your second hit would be a blog saying this was the worst line-up in years. It is. I had trouble picking a dozen artists I really wanted to see and thanks to Friday’s headliner the prices went up again. Although, in Pukkelpop’s defense they only make the day which costs them most more expensive. Apparently. I read last night today’s tickets cost €72 (and Friday’s €75), but nowhere on the site did I find the information how much tickets cost at the festival itself. And when I went to buy a ticket yesterday, I was told that the presale tickets were sold out despite still being available at the festival tomorrow. A bit confusing, no? (Also, the Pukkelpop crew also organize a festival for music lovers over 50 and the site also neglected to tell people the price, €14, was the presale price. At the festival the tickets cost €19. Still not much, but a real bummer if you go there and check the site just before you leave to see how much you’ll need to pay. Allow me to feel a little sad if one of my favourite festivals fucks up like that.) [Edit: checked again and today the ticket price is mentioned on the festival’s site. Apparently tickets at the venue itself cost a whopping 10 euros extra.]
And let’s not forget the headliner tomorrow: Metallica. A band that’ll bring a lot of annoying fans who won’t come for the other music. I hope this doesn’t make me look old and nagging, but my twelve years of Pukkelpop taught me that those bands and their fans tend to spoil the mood. I never forgot how a couple of years ago one of those rockfans stumbled into a lo-fi concert, yelled “Bo-ring!” and walked out again. I’m sorry, but I don’t pay lots of money for little twats to spoil concerts like that.
A Metallica fan told me the band doesn’t really care if other people exist, so there’s a 75% chance the Blood Red Shoes concert will be spoiled by the Metallica crew testing their equipment on the other stage. Especially if it’s raining and Metallica fans will go to the other stage to stay dry (whilst leaving the fans and people like me, who shop on all the stages, out in the rain).
You read my enthusiam? Yeah, so when I wasn’t able to get a ticket yesterday I felt sad for about two seconds and decided to spend my €72 on other concerts later this year. Plus, stay home and watch some of the bands on the internet (my provider sponsors the festival and allows its clients to watch the feed at home, provided the artists allow this).
So get ready for a scaled-down Pukkelpop review. Not at the festival itself, but from behind the computer. Let’s call it Pukkelpop Unlive.
In the meantime, if you’d like to read an older concert review, here’s the link to my review of Les Nuits Botanique. Written some time ago, but never published for some reason. It features Two Gallants, We Are Scientists, Timesbold, Forward Russia and Blood Red Shoes.
Pukkelpop Unlive reviews coming up: The Shoes, Tricky, Ian Brown, Editors, Mercury Rev (who kicked off with a scene from the cult movie Daisies!), Amy MacDonald, Danko Jones, Santogold and possibly more. The review of day one goes online tomorrow.