Friday, 15 June 2012

Nova Rock 2012: Overall festival impressions

I originally started writing this as a big review post, but it started to get a bit wordy, so I’m going to write about each day separately.First though, let me round up my thoughts about the festival in general, and in comparison to other festivals I’ve been to. 

What were the good bits?
The line up was pretty stonking. I managed to see 12/13 bands across the weekend and heard a few more from our tent, making it excellent value for money.
The toilets were some of the best I’ve seen at a festival (it really is a continental thing, I’m sure in the UK they are still horrific!), and the availability of proper water flushing toilets with toilet paper for free was excellent. All the toilets were cleaned regularly and there was only the occasional time when you were confronted with horror.
Another plus point was the free showers. A first for me at a festival – free showers that were wonderfully warm (just what I needed Sunday morning!) and useable, and had free shower gel. The queues were quite long first thing in the morning, but with a bit of strategic breakfasting they could be avoided.  A big big plus point!
One of the things I love about festivals is getting to try some random food. I was a bit disappointed with the range of food stalls on offer, which were a bit repetitive. However, we did eat Pulled Pork (delicious), drank hot cider laced with mead (horrible, only because I hate honey), had some excellent kebabs (they are fantastic over here) and a tasty ass schnitzel burger.
The Coca Cola grill and chill area was pretty good too, it was really nice having your food cooked for you! It could have done with a bit more shade and bit less loud music though! 

And anything that could be done better?
The organisation wasn’t that great unfortunately. The website proudly proclaimed that there would be a supermarket selling meat from local butchers at affordable prices so that you could buy it for the staffed BBQs that were available. We searched high and low and couldn’t find any such facility. Which was really irritating as I’d factored that into my shopping for the festival; we took packs of sausages and not much else, thinking that we’d be able to buy food there at reasonable prices.
Artist times were changed without notice – I’ve spotted a couple of moans on Twitter, and I nearly missed the beginning of Corey Taylor because he started 10 minutes earlier than published. I wouldn’t have minded if there had been a notice put up on the screens – it wouldn’t have been difficult!
Some of the food service was incredibly slow – breakfast every morning was a good example of this: there was one type of stall that catered for breakfast type food. It was all pretty simple stuff – rolls and baguettes, yoghurt with muesli, scrambled eggs and teas and coffees. Every morning it took us at least 30 minutes to get served. Friday morning we queued so long that the queue for the showers disappeared while we were waiting! The Spritzer bars in the arena weren’t much better, with staff who seemed to have no clue how to serve a bar quickly and efficiently.

How does Nova Rock rate compared to other festivals?
Well, the organisation wasn’t as good as any other festival I’ve been to. Download wins awards for its organisation, it is truly excellent. The last festival we went to was Rock Im Park and that is the best festival I’ve ever been to in terms of organisation, quality and service. Nova Rock was ok, but it is quite a young festival – I think more practice would work well, but also feedback mechanisms similar to Download has, especially involvement of the user base. 

Would we go again?
I’m not sure to be honest. I love going to festivals, but I don’t know whether it is because I’m getting a bit old or because I just didn’t feel the magic entirely here, I’m not sure we’ll return in 2013. Of course it will depend on who is playing – if someone that I was desperate to see played then that would be a different matter.
I think maybe the isolated nature of the festival makes a difference – I’ve not camped at Download to be fair, but the village of Donington is quite close by (walking distance) and there is public transport from there and the airport into Leicester and Nottingham, so if you don’t have a band to see before 5pm you could go off and do other things. Nova Rock is in the middle of nowhere and if you don’t like drinking yourself into oblivion, or fairground rides, or have any desire to take a bus to a thermal spa, then it is a bit dull whilst waiting for bands you want to see, especially when the weather is really hot and you’re trying to avoid sunburn/stroke. Rock Im Park also had the options of going into Nuremburg to explore if you wanted to, but even just the grounds of the festival were spectacular enough to keep you occupied. 

Overall fun: ****
Organisation: ***
Location: ***
Food/Drink: ***

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