A few weeks ago, I went to Rock am Ring, a German three-day festival located at the Nürburgring race track. It started off as a one-day event in 1985 but turned into an annual event due to its commercial success. After a two year break the festival was re-introduced in 1991 with a new concept and in 1993 the twin festival Rock im Park was introduced which takes place at the Zeppellinfeld in Nürnberg since 2004. Rock am Ring was moved to a different location, after 29 years at the Nürburgring, to the Mendig Air Base in 2015 and 2016 before its return to the famous ‘Ring’ in 2017.
2018 the festival had three stages with the following lineup:
|Volcano (main) Stage||Back’s Crater Stage||Alternastage|
|First day||Greta Van Fleet
Walking On Cars
Jimmy Eat World
Thirty Seconds to Mars
A Perfect Circle
The Night Game
Black Stone Cherry
Body Count feat. Ice-T
Bullet For My Valentine
Ego Kill Talent
Taking Back Sunday
|Third day||Nothing But Thieves
The Bloody Beetroots
Chase & Status
Thy Art Is Murder
I started the first day in front of the Volcano Stage watching the American rock band Jimmy Eat World as I couldn’t see their set at Slam Dunk the week before. They played a good mix of their older and more recent songs which was highly appreciated by their fans. After their set I moved over to the Crater Stage to see the rest of Jonathan Davis’s (vocalist Korn) set. He presented his current solo project which sounded very good.
Following up, the next band on the stage was the British electro alternative hardcore band Enter Shikari. Formed in 2003 in St. Albans, the quartet creates a unique sound combining heavy guitar riffs, and both screamed and clean vocals with electronic arrangements. Their set was a mix of older songs and their recent releases which satisfied both old and new fans. Everyone screamed the lyrics back to the band, danced around and enjoyed themselves in circle pits. Not only the atmosphere but also Enter Shikari’s musical performance was on point. They enjoyed their time on stage and were highly thankful for their fans’ support.
After Enter Shikari, the American hip hop and metal band Hollywood Undead from Los Angeles entered the stage. They combine heavy guitar riffs with wrapped vocals which sounded very interesting.
Next up, I moved back to the Volcano stage to see the headliner of the day which was the American alternative band Thirty Seconds To Mars. Being one of my favourite bands, I saw them a few times before (you can read about them here) and was quite curious how they would perform after their latest release which was very electronic and mainstream oriented. Unfortunately, the set was very short as they started half an hour later and they didn’t play many of their older songs. Disappointing was also the fact that Jared talked a lot between the songs rather than trying to play as much music as possible during the little amount of time they had left. Nonetheless, the old songs and the show itself was still amazing especially the colourful fireworks at the end during ‘Closer To The Edge’.
Ending the first day, I went to see the beginning of Marylin Manson’s gig on the Crater stage which was great. The mix of his gothic style, the heavy music and the crazy show is brilliant!
The second day started in front of the Crater stage with the British metal band Bury Tomorrow who are just about to release their fifth full-length album. Even though, it was an early show, there were a lot of fans in front of the stage, running around in circle pits, singing along and enjoying themselves. After the show, the band came back and took their time to talk to every one who came along, which is a great gesture. Following Burry Tomorrow, the next band on the Crater Stage was Nothing more, am American alternative rock band, who had a special stage show with their singer standing on a huge drum tower. Next up was the American rock band Black Stone Cherry who played a nice set with a good mix of both older and newer songs of their six full-length albums.
Moving on to the Alternastage, the Brazilian rock band Ego Kill Talent were just about to finish their set before the British alternative rock band Don Broco, one of the highlights of the festival, entered the stage. The quartet who formed in 2008 in Bedford seemed to have a lot of energy and fun which they transferred onto the crowd who had a blast themselves. Playing a good mix of their new and older songs, the fans jumped along, run around in circle pits and screamed the lyrics back to the stage. Musically the band was on point and delivered a great performance. Everyone seemed to have a good time and enjoyed the set.
Next up were the American alternative band The Maine, followed by the German rock bands Heisskalt and Milliarden, before The British metal rock band Asking Alexandria, another highlight of the festival, started their set. The moment the quintet entered the stage, the crowd went mental. There were many crowd surfers, circle pits and everyone screamed the lyrics of the songs back to the stage. The band played a good mix of some of their older songs, mixed with songs of their current release which was highly appreciated by their fans. In the middle of the set, Danny (vocals) and Ben (lead guitar) performed some songs acoustic which created an amazing atmosphere. Musically the band was on point, every member delivered a great performance and seemed to have a lot of fun on stage. Not only the band had loads of energy, but also the crowd who had a great time and enjoyed the show.
After Asking Alexandria finished their set, I went back to the Crater Stage to see the Australian metal band Parkway Drive who formed in 2003 and definitely was a further highlight of the festival. The quintet delivered an amazing show with a lot of pyro and a drummer who played the drums upside down. Everyone on, as well as the fans off stage had a great time and showed loads of energy. After Parkway Drive’s set, Avenged Sevenfold who are an in 1999 founded American rock band, were the last band for the day on the Crater Stage. Unfortunately, the Canadian hardcore band Alexisonfire played at the same time on the Alternastage. Hence, I wasn’t able to see them.
Moving on to Sunday, the last day of Rock am Ring, the British alternative band Nothing But Thieves opened the Volcano Stage just before the American alternative band Pvris came on stage. Unfortunately, there were not that many people on site yet but that’s because it was quite early. Nonetheless, the fans in front of the stage seemed to enjoy both bands’ performances. After Pvris, the Welsh group Astroid Boys started their set on the Alternastage just before the British emo band Moose Blood entered the stage. They played a good mix of older and newer songs which was highly appreciated by their fans who screamed all the lyrics back to them.
Going back to the Volcano Stage, the American punk rock band Rise Against were just about to start their set. They delivered a great show and played a good mix of their more recent but also older songs. Both the fans and the band members seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the show. By that time, the three sections in front of the main stage (the area in front of the mainstage is divided into three sections with limited numbers of people who can access each section at one time to control the crowd and prevent over-crowding) were filled a lot more than earlier. Following Rise Against, the American punk rock band Good Charlotte played next. Founded in 1996, they just released their seventh full-length album and played a good mix of their more recent songs but also some of their well known hymns which was much appreciated by their fans who screamed all the lyrics back to them.
Just after Good Charlotte’s set was finished, the headliner of the festival and one of the highlights, which was the American rock band Foo Fighters, entered the Volcano Stage. Formed in 1994, the sextet released nine full-length albums so far of which they played a good mix of some of their older hymns and some of their newer releases. However, even though the set was planned to last around two and a half hours, they had to finish after a bit over two hours as Dave Grohl’s voice gave up completely due to a cold. Nonetheless, they tried their very best to create an amazing show for their fans. Therefore, Taylor Hawkins sung a few songs in between and the crowd supported the band from the ground singing and screaming the songs back to the stage. Despite Dave not being well, the band seemed to have a great time on stage and the fans enjoyed the show, as well as they appreciated that the band still came on stage.
While the Foo Fighters were the final act on the Volcano Stage, the British alternative band Gorillaz, who mix rock, art-pop, hiphop and electro, started their set on the Crater Stage. Their show was very interesting enriched by loads of visual and colourful lights.
The weather was quite moody. Unfortunately, the first day started off with pouring rain. However, towards the end it stopped raining and just remained rather cold. The second day started dry after a bit of rain in the morning, and allowed the sun to come through a few times. For the last day, the sun was fully there and it was boiling hot. Nonetheless, the temperamental weather changes are something the festival is known for. It wouldn’t be Rock am Ring if it wasn’t pouring and boiling hot.
All in all the organisation of the huge event is well. However, there were several issues and the staff often didn’t have the same information – everyone said something different. The security staff was very stressed an unfriendly. Sometimes they seemed to just have a brief security check at the entrance but at least they did check people. On the festival site itself, everything seemed to run smoothly and was organised thoughtfully. There weren’t too many queues and it felt safe. However, there were not enough bins and therefore a lot of rubbish was spread everywhere. The food stalls did not offer a big variety. There were a lot of fast food stalls offering burgers, pizza, noodles or sausages, but not many options for vegetarians or vegans. Nonetheless, even though it seemed to be less crowded than usual and the missing stream of rock fans walking to the festival ground, passing all the risky parked cars along the side of the street, was missing, it was a great festival with a very calm and well behaved crowd who seemed to have an amazing time.
Overall, the festival was well organised, and the helpful staff created a secure and welcoming atmosphere (with exception of some of the rude but not very carefully examining security personnel). The lineup offered a variety of different genres and something for everyone, however, it seemed to become rather mainstream oriented over the years. Many of the festival attendees also complained about the schedules for the different stages as may bands with a similar fanbase played at the same time on different stages. Hence the fans had to decide which band to go to even though they would have liked to see some of the other bands as well (e.g. Asking Alexandria played the same time as Bullet For My Valentine and ended just when Parkway Drive and Muse started, Avenged Sevenfold and Alexisonfire played at the same time). All in all, it was a special time, a great weekend with amazing bands, good music and a lot of fun 🙂
You can also follow me on my Social Media channels to not miss out new posts 😉