Once again it’s that time of the year when we are getting ready to hit the road and let our self go for 2 days of pure fun and pure metal. With hope in our hearts we courageously collected our things, get into the cars and hit the road. I’m use to hearing crazy stories from others that visit music festivals, and this time I have one crazy story.
So we hit the road around 4pm thinking that we have enough time to get to Rijeka and even to chill a bit before festival begins, but boy, were we wrong.
Right after we collected the last member of our little group, we had to make our first pit stop because our car was smoking. I should have know that this was the sign of trouble and that maybe we should reconsider our trip to Dark Circle Fest, but I discarded that thought and soon we were back on the road. Not far from last pit stop, we had to make another one. Car was dying slowly in the agony of white smoke. Somehow, luck was on our side this time. Out of nowhere a guy showed up with tools and temporarily fixed our car, so we can at least finish our trip.
Thanks to the mystery guy who helped us get to the fest.
After almost 6 hours on the road, which should have been 3 and half hours max, one Silent Hill and one off track suicide road later, we finally arrived in Rijeka. We were all just so exhausted and we even weren’t that cheerful about going to the fest as it would be soon over. Lucky for us we stayed across the street, so getting to the fest wasn’t that much of a torture and we did manage to get to fest for the last band of the day. Sadly, I regretted even trying to catch the last band on stage.
Considering that this was the 9th edition of the Fest I was expecting way more than they delivered. No festival site (the fest was in the club), no camp, no food on festival, just 9 bands during 2 days, not even music between sets and without any after party, with DJ or some shit afterwards, and the visitors were asked to leave club as soon as the last bands would be done with their set. Like I said, this was 9th edition. What the fuck? This was some other dimension. This is not the Dark Circle Fest we use to know and love, even though the name is here this is not the same fest.
I would like to apologize to the bands we missed: Fervent Inc., Zlobnik, and Dropthehammer, I’m sure guys were great, but the car didn’t wanted to cooperate. I was actually looking forward to see Dropthehammer live for the first time.
The first day ended with Krlja, but it wasn’t enjoyable at all. Too much distortion on bass guitar, and it sounded like torture (and not the good kind). We are still not sure who to blame for the sound, but it wasn’t what we expected from the fest.
Bible Thrower, Rifft, Their, War-Head, and Infernal Tenebra were playing the next day, but going inside overheated club to listen bands without enough air was a big chalenge, however we did check them all and the bands were good and really on time, some of them got really big crowd, and they were doing their best. Some of them were even taking the stage for the very first time, and others started small pits in the crowd. I even saw a little teddy in crowd. I don’t know story behind this one, but I’m sure it’s hella fun.
Now back to the fest and whole impression.
The festival ticket was 100kn (cca 14 eur) for 2 days for really shitty performance (not the fault of the bands) whit half-assed organization of the use-to-be-cult-festival and after the bands play their set – off you go. I have bad attitude towards this year’s entire fest and with really good reason.
When I first discovered Dark “O” Metal Fest back in 2014. (which is actually original Dark Circle Fest before they re-brand it), it was the first freaking year of the fest, the ticket for 2 days were 40kn (cca 5.3 eur) and 25kn (cca3.3 eur) for a day. So just the ticket price alone was amazeballs, but when we add to that that the festival was located in old paper factory Hartera in Rijeka, which was beautiful spot for a festival like that (instead of the club in the center where the fest took place this year), and we had organized free camp inside the Hartera so we would be safe and dry in case of the storm. First year of the fest included food stands, merch stands, different dance floors, metal cinema (with most important documentary films for metal culture), water wars with toy guns with water, football tournament for all metalheads, plus 20 bands for 2 days. If you don’t believe me here is the link to OG Dark Circle Fest from 2014, so you can see for your self how it was when the fest started. I’ll screen shoot the page just for shit and giggles if they decide that they should hide their shame.
So if they did all of this for the first year, with waaay smaller ticket prize, than what the actual fuck was this year? It looked like half-assed planing with even worst organization just because the name is strong, but the quality went to shit.
And don’t get me wrong I am the biggest fan of Dark Circle fest. I’ve been on every single one from first to the last one in Hartera back in 2019. First three years I went alone or with friends and last three years I was there as a reporter. I have seen both sides of the fest and I tried everything that each year of what fest offered. We buried Dark Circle Fest that year in Hartera, with big 666 we said goodbye to Darko in 2019, and we were hoping to see our favorite fest rise once again bigger and better than ever and instead we got Dark Circle no.7, Dark Circle no. 8 and Dark Circle no. 9 which were as far from original festival idea as the last three Star Wars films were from original trilogy, which even Disney decided to toss, the last three movies, in trash and rework the story.
Dark Circle no.7 was desperate try to cover the cost of the last fest (Dark Circle Fest 2019) and it was organized in Palach more as after party in January 2020, while Corona shit was starting. It was one day event with couple of bands and you can’t call that festival. That was just sad attempt to keep the fire going, but okay they tried.
Dark Circle no.8 was organized with summer days in mind, but with strict rules because of Corona, so the fest was once again organized as one day event, but this time on beach Kantrida, (where was beach party during Dark”o”Metal Fest III), which once again looked like desperate attempt in order to save the festival and rise it from ashes.
And this year disappointment just grew. The only thing that saved our trip was Rijeka it self. We had amazing time walking around the city, going to the near by beach, playing guitars and visiting Hartera, so that the guys who never got the chance to attend old version of Dark Circle Fest can see where Metal use to have home in Rijeka.
Program it self is okay if the name was just random metal party, but to use name that stood for festival with lots of fun activities, and for the same price as it was when Dark Circle Fest was something big in Hartera. No. Sorry, but no.
I am now begging the Organisators, please for the love of the Odin and Thor, go back to Dark “o” Metal Fest III. That year made Dark “o” into Dark Circle, that year was real fest, that year you gave us hope and expectation how it should be every next year. We will forget about no. 7, 8 and 9, but please for the 10th edition of the festival, please remake the third year of Dark “O” Metal Fest. It would be better to let it rest in peace, than to make something mediocre again under the name Dark Circle Fest and cast big shadow over the beautiful history of Dark Circle Fest in Hartera, Rijeka.