Recap of one of the best editions of Rock im Park


For the third time after the pandemic break, Germany’s most famous twin festivals Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are back and better than ever. Despite the name, the lineup is always a wild mix of rock, hip-hop, metal, rap, and alternative acts that offer a bit of something for everyone. This year the event was more focused on rock than the years leading up which is something the fans have been asking for for years. The weather couldn’t have been better with the sun out all three days and temperatures in the mid-twenties.

Given the festival location camping is included in the general admission ticket, the biggest area is called the Animal Park and usually lives up to its name. The sustainability work done in recent years paid off and it all looked a lot cleaner than it did ten years ago. The discount supermarket Lidl sponsored a huge temporary supermarket placed between the camping and stage area making it possible for campers to get affordable produce without having to bring it with them and leaving leftovers behind. A carnival-style fair was set up at the front offering rides for those who did not find the music exciting enough. The food selections felt pretty diverse with quite a few vegan/vegetarian options and local vendors comparatively priced.

The first band of the weekend, Against the Current, greeted a huge crowd early in the day. The band’s frontwoman Chrissy was the first woman at the festival to be followed by two others which felt like a direct response to the criticism for having too few female acts in the past years.

The Interrupters followed, Utopia, and The Last Internationale (TLI) had the honour to open the second stage. If this Portuguese quartet hasn‘t been on your radar before they definitely should. TLI play catchy indie rock with a lot of energy and expertly work the crowd.

If you didn‘t know that one of Hollywood’s most famous actors Keanu Reeves has a band, you do now – Reeves is the bassist of Dogstar. Sadly, the celebrity bassist seemed to be the most interesting thing they had to offer, both performance and sounds were rather disappointing. The bass was way louder than the rest of the instruments, no one was moving in the crowd and every song sounded pretty much like the one before.

The complete opposite happened in the arena, Pinkshift was a big surprise with a strong stage presence and a very unique sound somewhere between punk and rock with Indian-influenced metal elements. The Norwegian metal band Kvelertak followed right after and the crowd was very excited. Different than most other Scandinavian bands that tend to be more in the death or black metal realm, Kvelertak mixes classic metal with punk and rock elements, making their music much more accessible to the masses.

Up next was Pendulum, one of the most iconic electronic acts of our time. After some technical difficulties, they took off and did not disappoint. The band would have performed better with an evening slot though, their music doesn’t hit the same during daylight. More punk on the Orbit Stage with LS Dunes, the singer went into the crowd during the second song and just stayed there for a large portion of the show. The fans loved it, and for one of the faster songs, there was a circle around him. During the slower tracks, the circle just got bigger and everybody watched him in what felt like a very intimate setting.

Later that day, metalcore giants Underoath went all in with a very energetic show and a playlist that covered their whole discography. To end the day, Green Day played the main stage with a 3-hour set. It felt like your favourite dish, it’s always great and you know you’re gonna leave happy, but it’s also always the same and their show hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years.

The second day was packed with acts for metalcore lovers, and it started with one of the founders of the genre, Atreyu. They made full use of the pier built overnight to make the stage bigger for tonight’s headliner, every member came to the front and woke up even the ones still tired from day one.  Of Mice & Men topped up this opening vibe with an insane setlist. Sadly, however, most people were not able to see the band due to the elevation and the band members staying static at the back.

Female-fronted bands once again dominated the Orbit stage, starting off heavy with Heriot which seemed to gain a lot of new fans with their performance which was full of deep guitar riffs and screams. For all the babymetal fans, Hanabie was the choice for today and it was the first band that forced the organizers to limit access to the arena. It was full to the brim and the Japanese metal ensemble impressed all with a perfect balance between quirky J-Pop and full-on metal, all while dressed up very Kawaii and jumping around much more than their bigger counterpart.

For all the guitar nerds or the anime-loving TikTok girlies that had Tim Henson on their FYP recently, Polyphia was definitely a very unique act. Instrumental guitar riffs and a presentation of the musician’s skills which looked like every technical guitarist’s dream were a welcome change. Most who didn’t know the band seemed rather confused by the lack of vocals, but sometimes that’s not even necessary.

The metalcore inferno continued back in the arena with Counterparts, another band that never disappoints with their mix of screamo and hardcore metal. Two of the biggest names in the scene followed with While She Sleeps, maybe one of the best performances of the day as they played all of their well-known songs plus some of the recently released tracks from Self Hell. They seemed to enjoy the festival themselves, as they were spotted walking around during the day.

French super starters Landmvrks followed up with high energy, even years after their debut album release they still thrive off it but the second one is coming later this year. Rap mixed with fast hardcore elements, heavy breakdowns, and technical riffs gives them their very unique style that forces fans to run from one stage to the other mid-set to see Machine Head. The band played a solid show with a lot of pyro, nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary but also nothing to criticize.

Italian ESC winners Måneskin came back after a two-year break, and this time filled the main stage. Despite rumors of a possible breakup, there was no sign of it during their show. The fans went crazy worshipping the band and some got invited on stage, bowing down on their knees which seemed like a rather grotesque move. More people than expected ended up going to Hatebreed back in the arena again, who surprised with an energy-loaded and co2-infused mix between hardcore punk and metal. The highlight of the day though was as expected, Parkway Drive. Unfairly placed on the smaller of the two main stages, access had to be restricted once again. A lot of pyro and crowd interaction reminded us why they deserve their status as one of the biggest modern metal bands of our time.

The last day was a little bit cooler, which ended up being just the perfect temperature. The first concert of the day was Fit for a King from Texas, their slot was a little bit ungrateful, but soundwise it was flawless. Their bassist showed off his spinning skills which last year brought him some fame on social media after a video of the band’s show at Download went viral showing him throwing his bass around in multiple perfect spins.

A positive surprise was indie rock band James and the Cold Gun, every part of their performance, music, and style reminded you of the 1970s and 1990s. Transcore icons Enter Shikari, one of the best live bands you can currently see, started their set with the album opener “System/Meltdown” off their 2012 album A Flash Flood of Colour which they haven’t played live in years. Political, provocative, and genre-breaking this band is as important as ever.

Wargasm continued the electronic punk spell with their super energetic show around front woman Milky Way, a highlight for everyone who wanted to dance and celebrate the last few hours of Rock im Park. But the best performance of the festival was yet to come, and it was no one other than Scene Queen who invented her own genre she named ‘Bimbocore’. A feminist and a queer with a heavy metal breakdown sound she screamed “fuck the patriarchy” reaffirming her stance on the matter. Everything was pink, and when groups of men started to leave it was clear she reached her goal of sorting out her audience.

Alternative rock legends Queens of the Stone Age played the mainstage at sunset and not one person stood still for this set. Elsewhere in the park Welsh pop punk revivers Neck Deep one last time made everyone go crazy in the arena before Beartooth ended the day with a confetti rain and a colourful set that showed their transformation from depressed emo metalcore to a lyrically much lighter pop rock album based on frontman Caleb Shomos’ personal mental health journey.

This may have been one of the best editions of Rock im Park in recent years, and next year is already promised to raise the bar with 4 stages and headliner Slipknot already announced. The first price level is already sold out, so it’s a good idea to be fast!

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