September 8, 2013

ROCKSTADT EXTREME FEST 2013: A Gonzo Report - Day 0

So it began... on the 29th day of the eight month of the 2013th year A.D. before sunrise. I awoke at 4AM, brushed my teeth, got dressed and bolted out the door in a rush to the railway station. The train which was about to take me to Braşov was already waiting for me. A young Japanese woman asks me to help her with her luggage, in near perfect English. I happily oblige, glad to have an opener and already envisioning myself as a caramel-coated Haruki Murakami. Tough luck - instead I fall asleep and wake up three hours later, in Bucharest, where the dark lord of TZEEEAC, Gherasim, is quietly waiting for me on a bench. I have a Cola Zero and we board back on the train, spending the next 3 hours looking at dumb pictures on his iPod Touch. The landscape morphs around us and before long, we've hit our destination: Braşov, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Romania. 

We're connected as shit, so a mere 10 minutes after we hop off the train, in a daze, I get a phone call from CioLAN, a local overlord. We're meeting for food and drinks in a local Irish pub called Deane's. The place looks great, but the music blaring from the speakers is shitty Top 40 Romanian pop-dance, completely ruining the Irish atmosphere. Still, the food is rather good - I got the house hamburger accompanied by fried potato peels and some dips, while Gherasim enjoys a working man's meal of grilled meat and baked potatoes with coleslaw - and the conversation is lively, so I'm happy.

[Gherasim: It's kinda sad to see the pub in this state. You can feel the owner's dream to have a fabulous Irish bar slowly rotting under the siege of atrocious music. There was a power outage at some point and the toilet was in need of repair. When you flushed it (I know, who the hell does that anyway?) all the water in the tank spilled on the floor, prompting you to run like Jesus on the sea of Galilee. Despite all that, the food is really good. And having CioLAN sharing his stories at your table tends to dispel any shortcomings a pub might have.]

CioLAN then takes us to one of his favorite bars, which kinda looked like my aunt's kitchen, where we drink some fine beers - Paulaner Weissbier, Paulaner Dunkel and Hobgoblin - and talk about university woes, having a fish tank and writing shit.

[G: I'm not sure what Chester means by comparing it to his aunt's kitchen. If he's saying that it's a warm, clean and peaceful place, he's spot on. It's called Bierhaus, btw. Make sure you drop by when you're in Braşov and need to spend some quality time in the company of a wide selection of beers.]

As the beer flows, the hours bend and soon it's time for us to head for Râşnov. We say goodbye to our friend with the promise of seeing him again in a few days and we board a small bus full of rowdy metalheads, all eager to spend the next three days eating and rocking. 

[G: 15 minutes and we're in Râşnov. 20 minutes later we're still searching for that boarding house where we booked a room. Taking a few more turns and climbing yet another hill side street, we arrive exhausted at the The Waldburg Boarding House.

Also known as the Fortress
It costs roughly 25 bucks/night for a large two person room. We could have booked something cheaper, but by the time we decided to go on this roadtrip most of the rooms in Râşnov were sold out. Still, it's a pretty good deal, considering we're receiving 4 stars services. There's nothing too good for high class journalism.

Unfortunately, what I thought to be a small post-beer headache turns out to be a fever. I took some pills and now I lie in bed, waiting for it to go away. I fire up the laptop and we watch the beginning of Django, the Franco Nero spaghetti classic. The fever gets worse and I decide to sleep it off, just in case. It's 8 p.m. The night is young. #YOLO]

While Gherasim dozes off, I head to the festival site to get a feel of the day. I know I've already missed two bands or so, but I still want to check out the place. It's... beautiful. 

Gothic are already on stage. I remember seeing them live several years ago, but now they're different. There's a lot more growling in their music mix and one of their guitarists now has long hair and glasses. They played some technically-sound, yet rather bland metal, so I went around to see what else the festival site had to offer. There were caravans with hot dogs, sandwiches, grilled meats, fries and salads. There were 3 or 4 drinking stands offering a wide selection of drinks, including Silva Dark for just 5 RON - shit yeah! There was a stand where a nice lady was selling all sorts of baklavas and Turkish delights. Another stand sold freshly baked kürtős kalács (also known as chimney cakes). An official Rockstadt merchandise stand was up, selling everything from Rockstadt t-shirts to Rockstadt coffee mugs and Rockstadt lighters, in addition to the official band t-shirts. Even the guys from Beauty of Pain had a stand where they were selling a ton of band shirts, patches and boots. In short, there was lots of stuff to blow your money on, as it should be! 

Unfortunately, as much as I would have liked to stay for the rest of the shows, the exhaustion had finally caught up with me. Waking up at 4AM isn't any fun. So, after eating two fucking mititei and having a beer, I decide to turn in early. I had seen Trooper before on several occasions anyway and I promised I'd see Goodbye to Gravity some other time. After a nice trek through the woods, I reached the hotel, had a shower and collapsed in bed. The real fun starts tomorrow!

PHOTO GALLERY (Alex Csiki – Art Photo Studio):

Roadkill Soda
Days of Confusion
Goodbye to Gravity
Negative Core Project

No comments:

Post a Comment