It seems like many changes await this traditional gathering. Following its end, we were informed via the official Facebook group that 2020 might be the last year it’s held on its current location due to planned road construction. What a stupid reason. The good, old “let’s ruin everything by putting a massive road in the middle of it” move by the ministry of transport and infrastructure. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal if the location wasn’t the very heart and soul of not just this festival, but other ones as well. What people come here for isn’t the music or the beer. It’s waking up to birds chirping, your day started with the magnificent sight of the Slovenian Alps, putting on your best shades and going down to the beach of your choice for another quick nap before discovering some unpolished gem at New Forces stage.
In an attempt to prevent this national tragedy, the festival’s been visited by the Slovenian Minister of Economy, appropriately dressed in black, who admitted that he had no knowledge of this event, let alone the massive numbers of guests, accommodations booked, restaurants filled and so on. A glimmer of light was shed on this situation and we can remain somewhat hopeful.
Another big change to the festival is actually a series of changes, some of which have already been put to action, called the Green MetalDays project, a 5-year plan towards a fully sustainable music festival with a minimal carbon footprint. Now, I won’t play smart here at all because I’m as informed about ecology as the next person – not enough. All I can say is that the new rules and changes I’ve seen implemented are working. The old game of “generator or black metal?” was retired by the fossil-fuel generator ban, which truly resulted in a quieter camp with many more solar panels visible. For 2021, the plan is to ban all outside food from the camp & festival area to minimize packaging waste and introduce a festival market where fresh food can be purchased. Combine that with the 2023 plan to make the all festival food plant-based, and you have yourself a fully vegan metal festival. I don’t think this will impact the audience numbers, rather the profile, and surely boost the local economy even more. I’m personally in favor of plant-based diets, not for a moral or an ecological reason, but a purely medical one (seriously, it’s good for you). Rumors have reached me that this year, one of the less popular food stands messed up royally. On the menu was a vegan burger, but no staff bothered to check the contents of the default burger buns they served them in, which contained milk. I’m positive this is the first and the last time this happened.
I fully stand by the vegan festival idea, in a non-militant way. I don’t think people will feel forced to adhere to a specific diet while there but might feel compelled to give it a shot and realize it’s not as different as they thought. Maybe they even notice the positive effects on their digestion and energy levels!
Like all mortals, even I can’t resist the occasional craving for a plate of hot, greasy ćevapi. That’s where the city of Tolmin and its many masters of the grill come in. The local restaurants and bars became a staple along with the festival. I can’t imagine visiting and not leaving my soul (and my money) at the house of debauchery in front of Mercator. I’m sure many others feel the same way.