Graspop day 2

The campsite was moderately subdued overnight so sleep was quite easy though Marina said she was kept awake giggling by a belching competition. I have earplugs – no such problem. We woke – again – later than we expected to and walked into town to do some grocery shopping (read “to buy some beer”).

The little supermarket we found was full of friendly staff along with said beer, but devoid of trolleys. They were all parked outside out canpsite having been used to ferry other people’s supplies back the previous day. The shop didn’t seem to care. They’d get them all back on Monday, and in the meantime their takings for the weekend would likely top those for the rest of the month.

On the way back we stopped off for a huge sandwich and some delicious bakery things. Marina got a coffee from three little girls sat on the street side. Their sign said “free gratis gratuit” but they had a little dish sat there for “donations”. They were doing a roaring trade, I’m glad to say.

Festival time again once we’d sampled the Jupiler and today we worked through Lamb of God, Stone Sour, Heaven & Hell, Cannibal Corpse, Drowning Pool, Korn, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and the mighty Iron Maiden who’d brought the entire stage show from Download with them. Nobody looks at home with their foot planted on a monitor cabinet as Steve Harris, and Maiden played a blinding set.

Before Me First, we met up with Patricia who I’d got talking to on the message boards regarding the ludicrous “no free drinking water” policy… which we managed to overturn this year for the first time. She’s a local and works the festival every year in one of the beer tents. In exchange for one day’s work she gets into the other two for free.

We got some more Graspop information from her as well. As a metal festival it’s been going for 12 years though it was a more mainstream event before then. Like Download, it started as a 1-day event before growing to two and then three days. It hires predominantly local staff, mostly unpaid on the basis Patricia was working. Residents of the street where the camping and festival entrance are located get free entry as. In addition, many open their gardens and garages to the public, playing loud music and serving cheap food – which the festival organisers ask them not to, but can’t stop.

Each year Graspop donates a slice of the takings to the local community. A disabled fund, or a kids’ centre or something. Its this kind of give/take relationship I just don’t think would happen in the UK. Too many people would rather spend their time writing to the Daily Mail about the “horrible long haired weirdos destrouying our neighbourhood every year” rather than looking at the positives. Someone always complains about Leeds Festival.

Oh, and I’m reliably informed that there is never any reported trouble around Graspop. The Red Cross do their bit for the drunks, but the police never have to do anything than attend. Unlike the more mainstream festival nearby a week later where there is always trouble.

The walk back to camp was a bit of a nightmare with congestion where there shouldn’t have been any and none where there should. All very strange. The campsite was livelier than it had been the night before, but exhaustion won out. Despite our Belgian neighbours yelling “Cavaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?!” (how are you?) in a death metal grunt to everyone who walked past, I was out as soon as my head hit the inflatable pillow.

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