Brakrock Ecofest 2019 – Part 1

After a week long road trip through Northern France, Western Belgium and the Netherlands, my Julia and I ended up in a small Belgian town called Duffel. Duffel would be the punk rock Mecca for the next three days and it all started on August 1st with the warm up show.

To be honest, I only went there for two reasons; reason number one was Captain Trips and reason number two was a block of cheese. When I told Jo from Coral Springs that I would spend a day in the Netherlands, she asked me to do her a favour and buy a block of cheese and bring it to the warm up party for Rich from Captain Trips because he loves Dutch cheese. The block of cheese ended up on stage during the great set of Captain Trips. And I really liked what I heard and saw.

The second act was an acoustic NOFX cover band that I honestly wasn’t able to watch because they played some pop ballads between NOFX songs. Nope, not my thing.

After that, Buster Shuffle were on and there are two things I’m not really into on a Thursday night: having no block of cheese anymore and traditional old school ska. That’s why we left after two songs to get some rest for day 1 of Brakrock Ecofest 2019.

We didn’t arrive early enough to see the set of St. Plaster and I only heard the set from Blowfuse while we were trying to see all the stuff the festival area had to offer. Now some words about the venue and the festival. The thing I liked the most about Brakrock is the fact that it’s actually a music festival and the most important thing is the music and not some side entertainment stuff, party tents or some kind of chilling around on a beach. It’s a big DIY punk rock festival with 2,000 punk rock nerds coming to Duffel for the music only. Nothing more, nothing less. There are two big stages (River Stage and Wood Stage) and the schedule is organized in a way that there is no overlap between the stages and you can easily watch all the bands on both stages. Only the smaller Ruin Stage was clashing with one of the bigger stages. I was lucky enough to have only one clash when Masked Intruder and Hit The Switch played at the same time. As a former festival promoter, I have to say that, in my opinion, Brakrock Ecofest is close to be a perfect festival. I really enjoyed it and it seems that the bands enjoyed it too.

So after running around to see the venue while Blowfuse was on, we went for something to eat while Antillectual was playing. I only heard both bands, but I’ve seen them both before and both are really good live. And from what I heard, they delivered again.

Next was Not On Tour! To be honest, I don’t know what I should write because I think we all know that they are a great live band, great human beings and their music is insane. So that’s basically all said. Crazy live show, great crowd, they played all the hits and we all loved their set.

We skipped The Bennies and waited for The Toy Dolls at the River Stage and it was definitely worth the wait. The crowd went crazy from the first song and it was one hour of British old school fun punk. They celebrate their 40th band anniversary this year, but they are way better than most of the young bands I’ve seen in the last years. It was a set with all their classics, everybody was dancing when they played Nellie the Elephant and they even played my favorite song, Lambrusco kid.

Then it was time for the headliner and we were all really stoked and couldn’t wait to see Propagandhi get on the stage. Propagandhi has always been a special band to me because you don’t just listen to that band; it’s a philosophy to be their fan. They played an amazing set and started with Failed Imagineer and Dear Coaches Corner. Do I have to say more? The whole set was a total banger. They only negative thing was that they only played one song as encore and then had to leave the stage. It was a bit of a weird situation and the topic of encores would be a major issue on day 2.

Martin

Photo credit : Laurent Holvoet

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