This year was the 41st edition of the Ri Rock Festival in Rijeka. It lasted four days total and it started on the 6th of December.
The first weekend of this longlasting festival was held at one of the most famous venues in Rijeka, OKC Palach. It was mostly filled with young, aggressive and heavy notes. The bands that played were Hand of Apollo, Dream Pocket, Pokle, Wuna, Rašpa, Grampa, Detmeć, Alergija and the headliners for this opening night for Ri Rock were a Serbian punk rock band Goblini. When the headliners came out on the stage the audience embraced them with a warm welcome and they did an incredible show.
The second day of the festival, also in Palach, was in my humble opinion set for more experienced and more prepared bands. The last year’s winners of the Ri Rock festival headlined by a Croatian hip hop/rap group Krankšvester. It was clear that the crowd wanted to see them because the Palach club was full when they performed. Other bands that played were The Siids, The Black Room, My Buddy Moose and the night ended with the local punk band Krešo i Kisele Kiše. The reason that the second night was reserved for only five bands was that it was the night that the awards for 8 different categories were given to the bands chosen by the carefully selected jury. There was the best T-shirt art category, the best single, the best music video, the band with the most gigs in 2019, the best album cover art, the best newcomer, the best album and to top it all off the artist of the year. There were prizes presented to the winners between every band that performed that night. The three main awards were the best newcomer which went to the band White on White, the best album of 2019 was given to the local and specific metal heads Po’ Metra Crijeva with their Ča-Metal™ genre for the album “Črne Besede Va Kastafskih Šumah” and the main award, the artist of the year, went to the doom metal band from Rijeka, Old Night nominated in a total of six out of eight categories. These three bands got a chance to play on the bigger stage next weekend in Pogon kulture in Rijeka.
The second weekend kicked off on Friday the 13th with the bands Sexymotherfuckers, Po’ Metra Crijeva (best album), Old Night (artist of the year), and the well known Psihomodo Pop. Unfortunately, Po’ Metra Crijeva couldn’t perform due to a band member’s sickness, however, the organization quickly found a great young band Fanaa which was also nominated in some categories for the Ri Rock awards. The first two bands Sexymotherfuckers and Fanaa warmed up the crowd pretty good for the Psihomodo Pop when the concert hall filled with people. They played for a little more than an hour and left the audience with the smiles on their faces and sweat on their, well everything. The night was concluded by the artist of the year award-winning doomsters Old Night. There weren’t that many people left but they gave an amazing show and the people felt that energy, and even called them to do one more song after they finished the set. One could really see that the audience that stayed ’til the end, came just for them and they proved why they were chosen for the artist of the year.
The last day of the festival was held at Pogon kulture and the OKC Palach so I couldn’t be at both places at the same time. The first artist that performed on the last day at Pogon Kulture was the legendary jazz and blues Croatian singer Zdenka Kovačiček and Greenhouse Blues Band, the best newcomer White on White, and the rap icon Edo Maajka with the band. I first came to the Pogon but after about 30 minutes of Zdenka Kovačiček performed I rushed to Palach where there were more alternative punk and metal bands such as Urar, Gilmea, Miscreation, One Step Away and Six Pack performing. The young bands Urar, Gilmea and Miscreation performed in front of the small group of people because, well, it was the last day of the festival and I guess people were a little tired. Gilmea performed without a drummer and even though it was a good show I hope they will find one soon to complete their stage tone and performance. The Miscreation still played in front of a relatively small room of people but that didn´t stop them from crushing the stage and they left people in awe. That being said I proved myself wrong about people being tired when I heard that the Pogon was full when Edo Maajka came out on the stage and also when One Step Away stepped on the stage in Palach. They pumped up the crowd perfectly for the last band of the festival, the Serbian punk/rock band Six Pack. They played in front of the people that filled Palach, knew all the lyrics and enjoyed their concert. After that, the vice president of the RiRock association gave a speech and concluded the 41st Ri Rock festival and called everyone to the bar to have some more drinks listening to the good music.
In my humble opinion, I wish there were a little more metal bands but all in all, it was a great festival and I can’t wait for what they have in store for us next year.