It was sweaty, dirty and pulsating. It was music everywhere. It was hell in Copenhagen.
Why descend to hell? The answer is simple. It is so much better there. You get sand in your eyes, the temperature changes more than the mood of a jealous partner. From time to time the wind blows tornadoes of refuge. But who is complaining?
Mother nature is no match for headbangers. You could have released a Biblical hailstorm of My little ponies or let tens of thousands of Justin Bieber fans jump around. That would only have caused those present to make the famous devil sign. Nothing rocks a rocker. Except for bad music. But Justin Bieber wasnt here.
There is something special about these rockers. They look deadly brutal. They appear ready to eat little children and shit barbed wire. But in reality we are dealing with teddy bears. There is not an evil thought around. The heart of a rocker knows of no discrimination. He or she couldnt care less about inconsequential matters such as color, sex or sexual orientation. Music is whats important. There is something spiritual about it.
Beer all around, the beat of music, hair flowing in the wind, leather, tattoos and beards. Laughter and screaming everywhere. Nothing to destroy the good mood.
As opposed to Sweden Rock many of the participants in Copenhell are young but as devoted as they come. Age is no issue for headbangers do not concern themselves with judging others.
The idea was that I should photograph and document the entire event at Copenhell. But the God of Hardrock had other plans. I missed the first day not that anyone cared.
Festival people are an odd bunch but odd in a good way. And the best of them are the headbangers. To be packed like sardines in a can and for days wallow in dust, sweat and overcrowding is of no concern to them. What is wrong with these people? Absolutely nothing!
This may sound like a recipe for conflict, but it isnt. Were dealing with proud people sharing a tiny patch for a few days and united by music, beer and other people. It makes no difference if you are a devotee of death metal or melodious synth/operarock. They are all friends.
Once again I realize that music is what brings people together and I realize how important it is to share a common culture. As I wrote about Sweden Rock.
Copenhell attracts people from all over the world despite being a small event. They are all here to have a good time. As I walk around talking to visitors, Im greeted by the hardrock sign. There is no reservation, everyone is open and ready to share the memory of his or her first encounter with hardrock.
Kiss, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Thy Art Is Murder, Black Sabbath, Within Temptation, Judas Priest, Behemoth, Emperor, Dio, Antrax. People mention hundreds of bands and styles and do so happily and with pride. For many rock is as sacred as God. Some think that the day they found their favorite band was bigger than the day they had kids. It is almost religious.
And I understand them. I really do. To find your tempo, your scream, your niche and your voice. Its all magic.
No other music has struck me so brutally as hardrock. Be it a modern classic by Arch angel, a thundering intro from classical Iron Maiden or a collective scream by Watain.
Hardrock liberates, cleans and turns you upside down. So get out of here Lionel Richie and Bruce Springsteen!
My best experience at Copenhell was my old childhood hero Dee Snider, lead singer in the classical band Twisted Sister, who sang the ancient hits Were not gonna take it and I wanna rock. The band celebrates its 30 year jubilee this year,
Many in the audience were not even born when Twisted Sister was on top. Makes no difference. They know the tunes better than I do. A couple of times they drown out the band and Dee Snider is astonished at this fantastic audience
I leave the grounds with a big smile on my face. The young generation has entered the wondrous world of hardrock. There is a future.
Footnote: Dear reader, I realize that many of the bands I have mentioned are unknown to the ordinary reader. But fear not. The music isnt dangerous and Dispatch International is not about to become a satanic rock site.