I woke up at 8, had my breakfast beside the Rhein, got back to my room, wore comfortable clothes, got my ticket and fully charged camera, took a taxi and started my once in a lifetime experience towards a place that made up one of the best days of my life.
Loreley Hill was located on the other side of the river, so I had to take a boat in order to reach there. The boat leaves every 15 minutes and they charge each passenger 3 euros. After they embarked all the passengers we started to leave the harbor. It took about 10 minutes to reach the other side considering the low speed of the boat. It anchored right in front of the bus station. I got out of the boat, and found the specific bus for transfer of Loreley visitors. I reached there quite early, so I had a little time to walk around and explore that beautiful neighborhood.
… The road was spiral like and I was enjoying the breathtaking view as we were going up the hill. After a few mintues, the first sign of the concert emerged: the tents of the adventurous fans in the camping site. We were dropped before the main door of Loreley. I had to enter the queue and wait for my turn to exchange my ticket with a special bracelet that was required for entrance. Then I walked up the stairs and found myself before the most amazing open air amphitheater I’ve ever been to.
Loreley amphitheater was built in mid 30s by Hermann Senf mainly for Nazi theatrical performances, and since 1976 has been used for rock concerts. The atmosphere reminded me of the famous Woodstock festival back in late 60s in USA where the devoted rock fans gathered to listen to the best musics while drinking, smoking and partying all day long. However, the Loreley festival was much classier and there were no signs of drug abuse, nudity or sexual activity.
You could see multiple kiosks around the place serving the guests with various beverages and snacks, and of course selling the bands’ merchandise.
Two months prior to my arrival, I started corresponding with Camel editor in chief, asking this nice lady to possibly provide me an opportunity to get the members autographs. She was kind enough to accept my demand even though it was a very difficult task to do considering it was a festival and not their regular concert setup. She said that I must go to the merchandise section and they would direct me backstage if possible. So, I didn’t waste any moment and went directly to this old gentleman, introduced myself and asked him about the possibility of meeting my idols. He said the same thing indicating that since it was a festival it might be very difficult to get to them and besides, they hadn’t arrived yet, but I could come back an hour before their performance and it might be possible to meet them in person.
Six bands were to perform each day and the most famous one was the last to perform. Camel, Marillion(fish) and Steve Hacket were scheduled to end each night’s show. I started wandering around, bought a beer, some CDs and souvenirs for my friends back in home. After a few minutes, a beautiful young lady entered the stage and presented the first band to initiate the festival: Lesoir.
…I had the time of my life listening to great musics, drinking and observing music nerds who were sitting, laying or hanging around just like me. Then Beardfish came, a very unique band with long beards. I sat down after I had my third beer and two hot dogs. Rock fans are mostly different from other people. They enjoy every moment of life, they lead the life they want and wear what they desire. And one of the most unique aspects of this festival was the attendants’ unique costumes which happened to be the only difference between me and them. Anyways, after Beardfish another band showed up on the stage. A band I was not familiar with. First, I didn’t pay any attention to them and was playing with my glass. But, as they started their show I felt that how amazing they were. The sensual voice and performance of the lead singer Anneke van Giersbergen drew my attention, specially when I found out that she was their lyricist too. After a few minutes a man who was sitting beside me started a conversation, asking me if I knew this band. And just to mention that F became a great friend of mine afterwards. He started introducing Gentle Storm to me. I told him that I’d come a long way just to be there and he said how he noticed my excitement and wished me a very happy time during the ceremony.
After a long talk, I went to get another drink, gazed at Rhein from above, under the huge flag of Loreley and waited till my special moment arrive, my moment of ecstasy!
To be continued…