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Dark Troll Festival 2018 Preview

in Thursday, 10 May 2018 at Burgruine Schweinsburg
by Erika Kuenstler

And the countdown is on again! It’s just over one more month to go until one of the most awesome festivals in Germany, at least in my opinion. For the last couple of years, METAL TEMPLE has had the pleasure of heading over to the DARK TROLL FESTIVAL at the start of the festival season each year. Already at my first instance of the festival, it ingrained itself in my heart as one of my absolute favourite festivals.

One of the first aspects that set this festival apart from others is the attitude of the festival: DARK TROLL FESTIVAL is by far the most relaxed festival I've been to, with the organisers taking a very casual stance, rather putting emphasis on a pleasant festival experience for all. Everything has a very familial feel to it, all the way from the smiling and friendly security though to the ever-cheerful bar staff. This attitude has led to a massive increase in the popularity of the festival over the years, with festival tickets being sold-out well in advance, thanks to the increasing international popularity which has fans flocking in from a whole range of countries all over Europe. This is perhaps the only downside of the festival: due to the increased demand, the capacity of the nearby camping field isn’t enough, resulting in the opening of a second camping site further down the hill. With numerous stairs to climb each day, most fans camping on this lower site find it easier to stay in the general festival area all day than slog up and down the stairs multiple times. But even here, the organisers put in every effort to make the campsites as pleasant as possible, with everything from breakfast stalls in the morning to a communal campfire that burns more or less throughout the night.

Added to all of this is its location. Passing rolling hills blanketed in fields of blazing yellow flowers, a small track winds up a hill near a remote village in Germany, with apple orchards slowly giving way to verdant forests interspersed with glades speckled with blooms. And it in these lush woods we find the ruins of an old castle. Completely enclosed by a wide wall, the renovated inner courtyard gives a sheltered niche overlooked by a stage built into the remnants of what was once possibly a bell-tower. A towering spire looms majestically over all, giving stunning vantage points not just of the stage, but also a panoramic view the surrounding countryside. Encamped at the foot of this tower is a small group of re-enactors, their simplistic lifestyle from bygone centuries lending an authentic medieval air to all. And it is in this stunning setting that Dark Troll Festival takes place each year, featuring a slew of Pagan, Folk, and Black Metal bands. Added to this was four days of (hopefully) perfect weather, with clear skies and cool breezes giving a small slice of Metal heaven.

And DARK TROLL FESTIVAL doesn’t stop there; this honestly is one of the best festivals in Germany when it comes to making the festival a great experience on all levels. The ablution facilities are always clean and adequate; there is a wide range of food and drinks available, catering to every budget; the sound is decent for the most part (albeit with occasional feedback issues throughout the festival in the last few years); and there are plenty of areas to sit and just enjoy the music, which a lot of other festivals could really learn from.

Another aspect in which DARK TROLL FESTIVAL distinguishes itself from the other run-of-the-mill festivals is in its line-up. Whilst many festivals choose a few big names to attract fans and then fill up the rest of the line-up with whatever they can find, DARK TROLL FESTIVAL always has an excellent line-up that features a top-calibre selection of mainly Black and Pagan Metal bands from both Germany and abroad. Whilst some of the names are very well known, such as ARKONA, SKYFORGER, and HORNA, some of the other bands featured this year are still relatively obscure. Despite this, there are no “place fillers” in the line-up, and I have yet to come across a band choice that really disappoints.

Overall, this is a completely stunning festival that should be an absolute must-see for all Metal fans, particularly if you're into more Pagan and Black Metal music. In short, if you've had enough of thronging masses found at larger festivals, and are looking for a small, intimate, and well-organised festival, with awesome music and friendly people, look no further than DARK TROLL FESTIVAL. METAL TEMPLE looks forward to seeing you in the pit!

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Edited 09 July 2020

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