Sunday July 25th Fluff Fest Rokycany, Czech Republic
Sunday morning we woke up and walked back to Fluff Fest from the central city. We hadn’t realized the distance nor the historic landscape through which we had walked the previous night. Since it was Sunday in the Czech Republic, nothing was open for business, so we wandered through town, checking out the 800-year old churches and buildings. Although the Czech Republic is a Protestant nation, we walked by a large old Catholic Church and took some pictures of the tapestries. It’s hard to imagine the ethnic and cultural conflicts that have happened across the continent over the last few millennia. Being largely areligious, I surmise that the folks who worship here are steeped in traditions that I can only begin to comprehend. To choose a faith and practice it in the face of feudalism, war, genocide and political imprisonment is something that I have no experience with, and can hardly imagine. It’s not my cup of tea, but man, I can respect commitment if nothing else.
We got done playing tourist, slogged up the hill with our personal wares, and began to setup merch for the day. We shared table space with the guys from Vitamin X and were totally stoked to meet Wolfi and Marco. Vitamin X has a long history in Europe, and plays a mix of hardcore and rock with comedic political lyrics. We got to hang out and peddle some wares for most of the day, taking in the fest and the vegan food as best we could.
Chuck merchandising while Anchor dude makes love faces: http://www.blessedlabelclothing.com
We played last in the party tent, following Your Fucking Nightmare and the River Card, and right before No Turning Back on the main stage. We came out to the Wide Awake intro, and as soon as we clicked into “Right Idea,” all hell broke loose. From behind the drums, all I could see were piles of kids and an army of kids moshing and singing along. Vic from rearranged came onstage and sang SSD’s “Glue” totally bridging the European and American straight edge for one song. At one point, it felt like the stage might give way—an exciting and terrifying proposition for any hardcore band. I have no idea what the capacity of the tent is, but I was certainly flattered by the amount of kids who not only know who Right Idea are, but came out to sing along and say hello at the table after the set.
We owe a special thanks to Thomas, the promoter for Fluff Fest, who brought us on and let us play. He puts together a ridiculous festival, full of vegan food, political and social exchange and great bands. Each year at Fluff Fest is better than the last, and I would put my Euros down that next year will be ridiculous too. We grabbed Vincent, our driver for the second portion of tour and drove back to Prague, where we stayed with Michael, one of Pavel’s friends. It was a really nice flat with a view of the entire city from the balcony, plus our second encounter with a washing machine all tour.
We awoke to Staffan making us porridge with bread and juice. He even packed us a large bag of snacks and toilet paper for the rest of our travels! This was the final straw for all of us and we declared Scandinavia the best place in the world to be a touring hardcore band (later to be tied by Hungarians and Poles). We checked emails, showered and were out the door by 830 am on our way to Berlin where we’ll switch vans. Grzeg is a tour driver, so he has a job that starts tomorrow for tourists (not the hardcore band kind). We’ll head back through Malmo, swap some Kr for some Euros, pick up Ida from Beyond Pink and then onward to Berlin where we’ll switch vans and drivers and then head to Fluff Fest for the weekend. As of right now we’re in the van where stomachs are full, eyes are closed and spirits are high for the upcoming weekend. Grzeg has taken to callin Chuck Falk, “Chuck Fuck,” something we can’t stop laughing about everytime his Polish accent loudly announces the new title.
Saturday July 24th Berlin Germany to Fluff Fest Rokycany, Czech Republic
We parted ways with Grzeg and swapped vans late last night. We were all sad to see him go. His humor, even without English was great. We began the drive to Fluff Fest with our new substitute driver, a Polish guy whose sense of direction may be slightly less keen than Grzeg’s. After a few wrong turns, we were about four hours late to the fest, arriving just in time to see Anchor. There must be 4,000 people at this fest, with three stages. We’re playing the middle-sized tent, so there should be just enough room for dives without having to play through a huge sound system. To be quite fair, the open-air hardcore fest is a foreign entity to all of us. There are dozens of vegan food tents and hundreds, if not thousands of people camping. It seems like half of Germany brought a distro tent or is selling records either inside or outside the fest. Rearranged killed it on the party stage, so we saw what kind of response fast, straightforward bands tend to get. They played super well and it appears that this isn’t just a metallic HC fest or amazingcore show. We headed to Torgeir’s hotel downtown and passed out, getting ready to play tomorrow.
So, we're not necessarily flowing in chronological order right now. Forgive me as I fill in the time between Gothenburg and Poland...