WILDFEST 2024 – Thursday May 9 (Festival Report)

WILDFEST 2024 - Thursday May 9 (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.


THE ARRIVAL (or Thursday)

WILDFEST 2024 - Thursday May 9 (Festival Report)Flying overnight from Toronto to Brussels, I arrived with an electric excitement coursing through my psyche. This dampened the tired jet lag and held it at bay. While at Wildfest, we reside in a rented house in the town. It’s a close walk to everything we need and really a great accommodation option over hotels. The five housemates include me, Justin and Andy from UK and Thomas and Evelynne from Switzerland. It’s a multi-national affair. A plane delay for the UK boys dashed our hopes of lunching at our favourite burger restaurant in Brussels before getting into Geraardsbergen. While I waited for them at the airport, the Swiss members of our contingent left central Brussels en route to Geraardsbergen.

Once we all connected and got ourselves situated in the house it was off to the town square and a bar called Sapphire. Friends from all around the world began to gather and before long it was across the square, chasing the sun as well, to The Preacher‘s patio. Beers flowed and enjoyed with Aussie band Catalano while more and more Wildfesters continually arrived. The Preacher would serve as the scene for the Unofficial Wildfest Pre-Party taking place this evening. The event run by Beyond The Labyrinth‘s Geert Fieuw featured bands All I Know and Mr. Myst. What a wonderful excuse to roll into town a day ahead and meet and greet friends along with the beginning of the live music weekend. And for only 10 euros!

What Do I Know?

PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn De Jonghe

All I Know took The Preacher‘s stage first. This band performed at Wildfest two years ago and have some great songs. “Turn Back Time” has surfaced in my live-stream radio show on several occasions. Unfortunately, however, they’re not overly prolific in the creation department having only this one album, Vanity Kills, from 2010. As I write that, I’m also pleased to say that they showcased some new songs tonight as well. The new material seemed a little heavier and more riff-oriented, which is right up my alley. All in all an engaging set as beers flowed and folks hugged each other, all smiles.


A short break, which we filled with beers, small Jupiler bottles that sadly were more than double the price at last year’s event. Which to be fair was at a completely different venue. Some folks drifted out into the square in search of food. Which in all honesty is what I should have done as well. But no, beers overruled the stomach.

Getting Mysty In Here

PHOTO CREDIT: SwissRockChick

Before long Mr. Myst took stage. Mr Myst played this event at the other venue last year and I expected that their setlist would be similar given that nothing new had been released in that timeframe. That’s ok, still a great band that also gets the CGCM Rock Radio airplay treatment. Their cover of Michael Sembello‘s “Maniac” was a highlight last year and loaded with special meaning for our group. A quick comment to the guitarist as he rushed to the stage confirmed it would indeed be a part of tonight’s plan.

Unfortunately only a few songs in and left standing on my own with several beers consumed and the jetlag of an international flight weighing heavy, I snuck out the door. Apologies to Mr. Myst, I was just too drained to continue tonight. By all reports I heard the set went extremely well. And indeed “Maniac” made its appearance. I also heard that members of Catalano joined the stage for the final song.

Sounds fun and I’m sorry I missed it.


Personal Thought

**Last year the Unofficial Wildfest Pre-Party took place at a different venue in town. It was a much smaller establishment, but that really assisted in creating something special about the atmosphere. While The Preacher is larger and a lovely venue as well, this year was “missing something” from last year and several of us agreed. Maybe it was the random local old farmer men sitting on stools at the bar. Maybe it was that those tiny Jupiler bottles were only 1 Euro there as opposed to 2.50 Euro this year at Palace. I don’t know, but overall was a really fun time and I sincerely hope Geert presents the event again next year at whatever venue he chooses. I’ll be there!**


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


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