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Dark Troll Festival 2019 Preview

in Thursday, 30 May 2019 at Burgruine Schweinsburg
by Erika Kuenstler & Sarunas Dreseris

Nestled away in some verdant hills in Bornstedt, Germany is a special little festival called DARK TROLL, one of the most scenic festivals I’ve ever been to. Taking place at the start of summer, this festival has all your metal heart might desire, from balmy days with blue skies and breath-taking scenery, to cold beer among friendly people, and of course a fantastic line-up. Thanks to this, DARK TROLL is an insider’s tip to the European festival scene and has seen a large increase in the number of international visitors in recent years. This year sees DARK TROLL FESTIVAL celebrating its 10th anniversary.

I could go on and on about what makes this festival so special (and indeed I have in various articles about the festival over the years), but ultimately, what distinguishes this festival from others is its atmosphere: Even if you’ve never been here before, the festival feels like home. This is in part due to the festival organisers, who do everything to ensure that the festival has an easy-going and relaxed feel to it. Everything has a very familial feel to it, all the way from the smiling and friendly security though to the ever-cheerful bar staff. All this has led to a massive increase in the popularity of the festival over the years, with this year’s instance of the festival having sold out in December last year, thanks also in part 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 and ultimately a third camping site further down the hill. With numerous stairs to climb each day, most fans camping on the lower sites find it easier to stay in the general festival area all day, rather 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 pretty much throughout the night.

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 Thuringian Bratwurst is so good that even a staunch Vegetarian friend of ours caved last year and ordered one of these tasty sausages); 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, Folk and Pagan Metal bands from both Germany and abroad. This year is no exception, with many amazing bands lined up to perform.

Being the 10 year anniversary, DARK TROLL FESTIVAL will be celebrating with many of the favourite bands from recent years. The debaucherous Australian party that is LAGERSTEIN will be returning once more, as will ODROERIR, who were very well received last year, and will be celebrating their 20th anniversary together with DARK TROLL’s 10th. FINSTERFORST will be making their fourth appearance at DARK TROLL, standing testament to the band’s popularity in at the festival. Other reappearances are, amongst others, HIMINBJORG and SAOR. Closing off the festival is ENISUM, who put on a stunning performance at the festival in previous year.

Some other highlights to look forward to are LUCIFER’S CHILD, a Greek band founded by George Emmanuel of ROTTING CHRIST. They will be having their very first show in Germany at DARK TROLL FESTIVAL, as will the Ukrainian Death/Doom band 1914. And while we’re on the subject of first performances, let’s not forget :NODFYR: who will be having their first live performance ever at the festival. Giving his second ever appearance in Germany is ROMUVOS, a one-man project based in Israel, but originally from Lithuania. However, the band I am looking forward to most is KAMPFAR, who very unexpectedly announced that they were breaking up during their show at Wolfszeit Festival two years ago. But this year sees them back, ready to celebrate their 25th anniversary at DARK TROLL. Polish MGLA are also sure to put on a spectacular performance; I already have goosebumps just thinking about how well their spellbinding sound will match the mystical surroundings at DARK TROLL FESTIVAL. Also not to be missed is WINTERFYLLETH, who all too seldomly play in Germany. The Hungarian Atmospheric Black Metallers of SEAR BLISS will also undoubtedly be amazing and will fittingly also be celebrating their 10th anniversary. In short, this year’s line-up is jam-packed with some really special performances to look forward to.

So in case I haven’t stressed this enough, this is a completely stunning festival that should be an absolute must-see for all Metal fans, particularly if you're into more Pagan, Folk, and Black Metal music. In sum, 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 there!

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