Monday, October 12, 2015

Full Terror Assault Open Air Festival – 2015 Review, by Mike Coles

Full Terror Assault Open Air Festival – 2015 Review - by Mike Coles
What can one say but; “WOW!?!?!?!?” The first ever USA Open Air Festival hits Southern Illinois with a bang!!! For those of you who missed out (and there were many of you), I must say I am saddened at your lack of support for this year’s first F.T.A. Metal Festival. Although I was very pleased with the crowd, and the “closeness” we all had that were there (What’s up Dave!?), there were many faces here in the USA that were missing that I tended to see over the years at Milwaukee Metal Fest, Central Illinois Metal Fest., and at Maryland Death Fest. Any lame excuses one may have for not attending this year’s first ever open air festival will not be acceptable to my ears (or eyes) especially with the reasonable ticket prices they had, so please take your excuses elsewhere. I also went to M.D.F. this year, so I do not want to hear about any petty excuses about not having any, or the money to go! I made it happen and I’m a single dad with two kids whom is also broke most of the time, whom also lives pay check to pay check, but did that stop me from attending and coming back home broker than before? NO!!! And why did “money issues” not stop me from going? It’s the first ever USA open air Metal festival people!!! Is and was that not a good enough reason in itself for you lame-os that did not attend, not to go!?!? Boooooo!!! Great memories folks, great memories….
“Complaint #1” - - - Like other big fests, yes, a few bands did end up cancelling and being replaced, no biggie. I was given the privilege to see Internal Bleeding in someone else’s place (been a while fellas). Sodom cancelling for the second time at M.D.F. this year was, and has been, the biggest disappointment of my Metal festival concert voyage thus far in life, and I’m sure that cancellations in future festivals (all Metal festivals) will surely happen again. How is it any Metal Festivals fault or the promoters fault if you please, when bands drop due to visas being denied or internal conflicts within the bands occur? It isn’t, so no “trash talking” here folks. Yes, Drogheda cancelling was probably my biggest disappointment of bands cancelling at this year’s F.T.A., but hey….. Such is life. I still got my TERRORIZER (main band I wanted to see)!!!
Napalm Death
“Complaint #2” - - - “Oh my gosh!!! I have no cell phone reception!!! I have no internet service here!! Whatever shall I do!?!?” Enjoy the three days without technological disturbances, hang out with great people, and listen to the greatest style of music on this planet maybe? As most of us know who went, unless one could find a particular spot where a text could be sent out, phone reception was pretty much non-existent for my track-phone (not sure how it was for those with Verizon or bigger phone companies). An occasional text would appear hours later after it was actually sent from the other side, but is “no” phone reception really worth complaining about? Like I said, I have two small children, so yes phone reception would have been worth it in case of an emergency if something would have happened to my children while I was gone, but the peace and tranquility of not hearing that beep or ring-tone was nice for this “old timer” who remembers land line phones and who couldn’t always be tracked. So for those whom are “stuck” in this new age of technology of looking down constantly at your phone and “worrying” about the latest update on twitter, fb, or whatever else that exists…… I pity thee…. The music and the bonding in the flesh with people who were physically there was 1000x better than any fb message or tweet!!! People here actually spoke to one another and paid attention!!! Technology….. One step forward, two steps back.
“Complaint #3” - - - “You mean I have to “leave my bubble” and camp outside in the wilderness?” No fancy hotels here folks, only tents or ones vehicle to sleep in, but yes, showers were available. No walking miles and miles a day from venue to venue or hotel to venue/venue to hotel here (M.D.F.), and that to me was awesome!!! And what made the walking here at the fest 10x more bearable and enjoyable than walking in the city (Baltimore) due to the sun hitting down on you and walking on hot concrete, were all the trees surrounding this beautiful land to provide shade (I sounded like a hippie), and no cars/traffic/taxis to deal with. Yes, you had your open areas near the stages, but there were 10x more places to stand and hide from the heat/sun due to the trees. Although I love the way the Edison Lot at M.D.F. is set up, there were times when I felt like going back to the hotel due to the heat. Oh wait….. It’s a 5 mile walk back to the hotel one way and I’m not paying 20 bucks a pop for a taxi!!!
Yes, one could have chosen to drive to the not so close towns from the festival for a hotel room, but where is the fun in that? It’s an OPEN AIR METAL FESTIVAL!!! How often do we Metal Head’s living in the USA get to light up a camp fire, grill out, hang out, with other Metal Head’s unless we go to the bigger open air European Metal Festival’s (that I know I CAN NOT afford)? Most of us don’t!!! So again, all of you who may have decided not to come out and support this year’s first festival for being “city boys or gals……” Well….. Ummm…. LAME!!! For those of you who forgot to bring pants, thicker jackets, or whatever else you may have forgotten that left you unprepared for the little rain we did receive (maybe an hour tops, nothing catastrophic like what happened at Wacken this year) or the cold, live and learn, right? Next year we will all be better prepared!!
Complaint #4 - - - This is a real complaint, and my only complaint at this year’s F.T.A. Festival. Not sure who was in charge of the times of when the bands were scheduled to play, but due to leaving my “post” (I was working a t-shirt stand for the almighty Sabi!! Hey Camelia!!) near the main stage, I missed Disinter, whom were another band I was really looking forward to seeing play live again. The paper posted was incorrect and they started before the time on the paper posted, and I think that may have happened more than once with other bands. Not really sure what happened there, but that kinda sucked. The last time I got to see them perform was when they opened up for Emperor, Borknagar, Peccatum, and Devine Empire in Chicago one year, and in my humble opinion, I felt they blew all headlining acts out of the water!!! Powerful, powerful Death Metal force here folks!! Although I was able to photograph a few mediocre shots as they were closing up their last song as I was walking back to my post, I was still really bummed out I missed them perform. Next time…..
Maryland Death Fest and all of the other festivals that now exist world-wide have grown into some major Metal Festival beasts over the years, and I for one enjoy going to M.D.F., and would love to experience Wacken (Wacken next year Sabi!?), Vagos, Obscene Extreme, Hellfest, etc. But what I would also love to see here back in Illinois at the F.T.A. camp is more support from the vendors. More support from the labels. More support from the bands and fans alike, and help Full Terror Assault grow to the next level next year. I feel that next year would probably be the deciding factor whether or not this festival will/would continue and succeed, or just disappear due to lack of support from everyone in the Metal scene/community, and that’s just plain sad.
Yes, they probably do need to get more obscure acts that have not really toured the USA as Maryland has done (Bolt Thrower, Cancer, My Dying Bride, Pungent Stench Jr., etc.) in order to attract more attention from the fans, but this is their first year folks!! And although most of us have seen Obituary, Napalm Death, Misery Index, Revocation, Internal Bleeding, etc., a numerous amount of times, those are some pretty big names in the scene. But let us also not forget all of the other unsigned acts that drove from afar in order to be a part of this festival out of love for Metal!!! Thank you fellas (and lady’s)!!! The band Testimony played a freaking Sadus cover song for Pete’s sakes, an awesome surprise for me!!! And of course Gruesome playing Leprosy was pretty killer!! Great job by the way guys!!! And Cannibis Corpse (Or was it Iron Reagan?) playing Skull Full of Maggots was a nice treat as well!!
And yet another yes….. As all new festivals start out, this one had its fair share of “kinks,” but it’s hard not to notice what Shane and everyone else involved were trying to accomplish, and in my book they did just that. They put on the first ever open air Metal Festival in the USA and I applaud thee gentlemen!! It was a wonderful experience on so many levels, to say the least!! Thank you all for your hard work and for making this happen!!! Just like the fellas in Baltimore….. All for the LOVE of METAL……
Peace, Mike
PS - Many apologies to all of the bands I could not photograph due to working the stand. Priorities!!! smile emoticon
PSS - Read interviews with Limbonic Art, Mysticum, Opeth, King Diamond, Atheist, Sinister, Saviour Machine, Ballydowse, Morbid Angel, Steve Digiorgio, Danny Lilker, Annihilate the Hero, GWAR, Bill Zebub, Children of Bodom, Exodus, Anthrax, Dimmu Borgir, and tons more at - - PEACE!!!
the author, with two friends

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