WILDFEST 2024 – Friday May 10 (Festival Report)

WILDFEST 2024 - Friday May 10 (Festival Report)And once again the curtain has descended on another Wildfest. Wildfest is a smaller rock festival kicking off in a small town in Belgium, Geraardsbergen. Belgium’s only glam, sleaze, melodic rock festival is a two-day event this year hosting a total of 15 bands. It has quickly become my favourite land-based production of the year. There’s an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie and family blanketing the entire thing. This year some first-timers made the journey, while sadly some stalwarts of past years were unable to attend. But all in all, it was simply magical all revolving around the music of course. I have no idea the level and depth of work that goes into this event, but it simply must continue to occur.

From beers with artists to laughs with friends from around the world, to great performances to bowling with a rockstar to drinking with the mayor……this is my story for 2024. Please bear in mind, that while every band and performer possesses and exhibits incredible talent, not every band is to everyone’s preferences. The comments that appear throughout these blog stories are “MY” personal opinions and mine alone. Yours may be different and that’s ok. We are not all supposed to like the same things, but either way, the musical creators deserve respect whether or not they were for you personally.

OFFICIAL WILDFEST WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

DAY 2 (or Friday)

Jetlag warded off, I rose at a decent hour and with the rest of my housemates snoring with all the thunder of Olympus, I headed out for groceries. Being a holiday in Belgium, everything was closed yesterday and so we couldn’t shop. While I found the store’s layout and the packages confusing, what I did not find was all the supplies I was seeking. Oh well, this will have to do for today at least. Back to the house I soldiered….. it’s not a long walk, but those bags get heavy and the circulation of my hands began to get cut off. Back at home, folks were rising here and there and I set to making coffee, I need that!

Before long preparation of breakfast was under way. Laughs and stories from last night and last year flowing as freely as the coffees. Generally just jovially catching up with everyone. I almost enjoy this part more than the festival…..ok certainly not, but it’s a very nice start to the day. Just up the road from our house is a random little pub or cafe called Cafe ‘t Hoeksen?. We do have some Jupilers in the fridge (I made sure to find that at the store), but it’s also nice to support the local economy. Plus, to be honest, we love the looks we get when these weird rockers roll up to the patio of a small local place. The owners and patrons are so confused where we came from🤣. An enjoyable time again in the sun and now to the venue for the official beginning of Wildfest 2024.

MADHOUSE

Madhouse from Austria would open the Wildfest 2024 proceedings. They were intended to perform last year but due to illness had to retract on short notice, so I was very glad they made it this round. This is something that the Wildfest organizers are actually quite good at. That’s putting bands on the bill that I enjoy, but have never seen before……and I’ve seen a lot….lol. This year Madhouse was one of two that I highly anticipated. I was not let down at all!

A great show and fantastic opener to Wildfest. Madhouse had engaging energy and even a little pyrotechnics as they delivered a high-energy setlist. Most importantly included in that list was my favourite track “Boom Boob Shaker“!

MADHOUSE OFFICIAL WEBSITE / FACEBOOK

Spotting my new friend Arthur presiding over the Catalano merch at the table, I sauntered over. I needed a T-shirt (which as it turns out would be a story in itself later on). Catalano can take payment through cards, but it’s a QR code I have to scan to use the payment app. Well, I don’t have internet without wifi, so cash it is! But I don’t have enough……here mate, take this down payment and I’ll be back as soon as I find a victim to sponge off of!

KIM JENNETT

Holy monkey balls Batman, what powerhouse vocals from such a diminutive little creature. Now, I have witnessed this phenomenon known as Kim Jennett on stage in the past. She provided vocals for a band at one of the HRH Festivals, I forget which band even. But this was a first for her solo, doing her own material I presume. And she was literally on fire! She was a blurry flurry of motion all while singing with such emotion and power. She even jumped down into the photo pit amongst my brethren and I to engage the crowd even more. Fantastic show!

I don’t believe that Kim has an album out, but by checking her website later on it seems that quite a few of the setlist-printed songs are at least available on YouTube as video releases.

KIM JENNETT OFFICIAL WEBSITE / FACEBOOK

Somewhere around this area of the day as I circulated the room I bumped into Farty Wildheart. The vocalist of WildHeart remembered me from our quick little interview we did here two years ago, so that was cool. During our brief greeting and exchange, I asked him if there was anything new in the setlist today. He confirmed that WildHeart had been crafting new material on their way towards a new album and we would be hearing some today. Awesome!

DEVICIOUS

Now, I’ve heard the DeVicious albums and TBH, I don’t love them. I will say that the latest effort, Code Red, does strike home with me more than the previous outputs. I hoped they would really draw me in live as I want to like them more than I do. Unfortunately, this just didn’t happen.

Nonetheless, they performed well and seemed to be having fun up there on stage. And make no mistake, there was an audience for them just as there was for every band. Maybe I need to listen to the album again when I get home. It’s also funny that I have captured more photos of DeVicious than any other band over the weekend.

DEVICIOUS OFFICIAL WEBSITE / FACEBOOK

My friend Johan Liliedahl caught me and asked if I wanted to spend a few moments chatting with The Cruel Intentions for radio airplay. Absolutely I do! I am not super prepared as I hadn’t planned on an interview, but I know enough about the band, let’s do it! I had no idea who I’d be sitting with, but Johan took me into the backstage area, introduced me to Kristian and gave me a beer. *Side note: that beer in the blue can that they had backstage was absolutely vile stuff…..but it was cold, and free so down she goes….lol.** Kristian and I had a great chat which you can hear through the Mixcloud audio link below. Beware however that as we were chatting in a quite noisy area there are a lot of background sounds in the recording.

WILDHEART

Always a solid performance from these boys and it was fantastic to hear some new material as well. If it wasn’t for these guys and this band there would be no Wildfest. Farty talked with me about that in an interview that we did together on my first trip to Wildfest two years ago now. Last year Wildheart closed the show after playing at another event earlier in the day.

Wildheart again gave the Wildfest crowd a great performance. Faves off the No Love album like “A Stranger’s Eyes“, “Rumours” and “No Love” were in the list. My favourite song “Tonight We Rock“, however, was not! But the new songs, three of them I believe sounded great as well. I can’t wait to check out a new album from these guys!

WILDHEART OFFICIAL WEBSITE / FACEBOOK

CATALANO

I mentioned earlier about the unique knack Wildfest has for giving me bands I enjoy that I’ve never seen on stage before and Australia’s Catalano was the second one that I highly anticipated. Catalano‘s Nightfighter album from 2020 cracked my top ten albums of the year, so this was highly anticipated. And after meeting and hanging out last night with some of the guys, I really hoped they delivered on stage.

And they absolutely did! So many songs I wanted to hear and they had me singing right along during “Livin’ It Up“. “Go To Hell” was awesome to hear as well, but was a bit surprised not to hear “Insanity” as it’s a new single. But I was a bit devastated not to hear “Nightfighter“! Overall, a fantastic set. Thanks, guys for travelling 30 hours to play Wildfest!

CATALANO FACEBOOK

CRUEL INTENTIONS

Fresh off my 2023 stalking tour of Cruel Intentions (I saw them 8 times), I was hyped to start 2024. I do like that the band adjusts the setlist, at least it seems they do to me. Especially after seeing them a lot, it’s nice to have a mix. Kristian confirmed in our chat available above that they were playing songs never before played live tonight. As long as my favourite song “Jawbreaker” never leaves the set….lol. It was in play this evening along with many other Cruel Intentions greats. “The Reckoning” was absent, and some folks were disappointed about that. For a band that has only two albums, it’s a good issue to have that there are so many tracks worthy of the stage.

And right away my eagle eye vision picked off that Lizzy Devine was again wearing that Diemonds hat. My little Toronto band that I loved, unfortunately now defunct for some years.

CRUEL INTENTIONS FACEBOOK

TYKETTO

Tyketto has become an institution in recent years. I’d never heard of them when they played The Monsters Of Rock Cruise 10 or so years ago. I didn’t love the recordings and songs I’d checked out online beforehand. Too light for me and my tastes. But live, I was pulled in and when the show ended I had tears of joy in my eyes. While Danny Vaughn is still charismatic and vocally so strong, it just doesn’t captivate me like it did those first few times. And now he’s the only original left (though I do see Johnny Dee behind the kit from Doro fame which was cool).

Not that I hadn’t been all day, but I spent a great deal of the first bit of Tyketto catching up with friends and enjoying a few beers. All the while singing along in my head to the identifiable Tyketto classics. Basically waiting for “Forever Young“. Plus I’ll see Tyketto again at Call Of The Wild in a couple weeks. And let’s face it, it’ll be the same setlist, they haven’t had new music since 2016’s Reach album.

TYKETTO OFFICIAL WEBSITE / FACEBOOK

END OF THE DAY

It’s funny trying to piece back a long emotional beer-filled day at an event. I remember doing these things, just not exactly when I did them….lol. Case and point I’ll hazard a guess that some time about here I spoke with Lizzy Devine from Cruel Intentions. I didn’t speak to him about his band, no, no, no I’m too dumb for that. All I wanted to talk about was that goddamned Diemonds hat I’ve seen him wear a few times now. Fuck, I miss that band a lot!

I watched about half or maybe more of Tyketto, but I always knew I’d be slithering away early tonight. And after my chat with Lizzy, I deemed it time to go!

Getting home, I found Justin also just arrived and sitting down to a Domino‘s pizza and wings. I grabbed the kebab that he’d bought for me last night. If you read yesterday’s you’ll already know, that last night Justin nipped off to get food and as a good mate returned with a kebab for me as well. What he didn’t know is that I’d hit my wall and had basically slithered off home when I was by myself and nobody else was immediately around. Well, he brought it home for me. I don’t know how long it had gone unrefrigerated, but it can’t be that bad…..and right now I’m hungry AF!

OFFICIAL WILDFEST WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

CGCM Rock Radio has had an excellent time for three years running now at Wildfest Belgium and is highly anticipating a 2025 event. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions or need advice about attending!

Previous WILDFEST coverage: WILDFEST

Cheers,

The Meister

Meister Music Live To Air Radio/Video Shows on Mixcloud

Find more of my album reviews and blogs here: Meister Music

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