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Summer Breeze 2012 Review Part I

By: Dan Barkasi

For the last three years, this guy has made the trek to Wacken Open Air. Plans were in place to make it four; however, the lineup simply wasn’t doing it. Not that it was completely terrible, but it was filled with bands I’ve seen plenty of times and not so many of which are difficult to catch for somebody from US of A. And when you’re plunking down the kind of money it takes to go to a European festival, the lineup had better be worthwhile. So, the thought of taking in a different festival came to mind.

A few different festivals were high up on this guy’s list, but one had such an incredible lineup budding. And as the announcements kept coming, this fest kept getting better. So the decision was made – sell off the Wacken ticket, and acquire one to this festival.

This festival was Summer Breeze.

With the decision made, there was much planning to do. Going to Wacken for three years, you get the routine for that specific event down to a specific science. Now, it’s chaos! Hordes of chaos! Well, not really. Planning was actually very easy for Summer Breeze.

There are two major cities of which are of close vicinity to Summer Breeze – Stuttgart and Nürnberg. Nürnberg is a little closer, but Stuttgart isn’t too much farther. There are buses running to and from both cities and the festival grounds, so it’s really up to which city you’d rather check out. Stuttgart ended up being the location of choice. So from there it was booking flights, bus transportation, and a hotel for before and after the festival.

Pretty much the same standard was applied to how the trip was set up with how Wacken was planned. Fly out on Monday and arrive on Tuesday. Have all day Tuesday to check out the sights – which included one of the most amazing botanical gardens/zoos I will ever see – and head to the festival Wednesday morning.

The free day in Stuttgart was a great time. The hotel stayed at – the InterCityHotel – was quite nice, and the location was perfect. It is situated right inside the main rail station. The hotel even provides a free transportation ticket that you can use for any and all of Stuttgart’s public transport systems (bus and subway/train) for the duration of your stay. This inclusion was quite the nice addition, as you can get just about anywhere in the city with it. And as mentioned previous, the zoo/botanical garden (named the Wilhelma) is outright incredible. It’s a sight not to be missed, if that sort of thing tickles your fancy.

And yes, much German Fanta was acquired and consumed, along with lots of Mezzo Mix. For those unfamiliar with Mezzo Mix, it’s a cola with a hint of orange juice. And it’s incredible. This was first discovered at Walt Disney World in Epcot, where they have an area named “Club Cool” where one can sample different sodas from around the world. And Mezzo Mix was one of them. Another German soda addiction, you say? Indeed! And if you go to Epcot, try the Beverly. It’s so, good. Yeah, that’s the word. And get a picture taken when you first try Beverly. Those are always classic moments.

So with the journey to Germany completed, a fun day in Stuttgart had, I caught the bus on Wednesday morning, and headed off to Summer Breeze!

The festival is located just outside a historic Bavarian town named Dinkelsbühl. The festival provided free shuttle buses to and from the town during the event. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time to be spared, thus never getting the chance to check out the town itself. The bus did drive through it, however, and what was seen was absolutely incredible – especially the historic architecture.

The bus dropped us off right at the main entrance of the festival, where of course you exchange your ticket for an extra super cool wristband, of which gives you entry to the festival grounds. This is the standard in Europe, and you see a good many people with half of their arm covered in these wristbands from other festivals. Jealous? Most definitely. But no time for that! It was time to begin the first day!

Day 1

After acquiring my wristband, it was time to find a good spot to pitch my tent. Not that my own personal tent wasn’t already pitched from anticipation. Alright, alright, I’ll stop. To those unfamiliar with how these European festivals work, the high majority of people camp out. It’s very fun to do so, and adds to the experience a bit. Summer Breeze had a full supermarket set up on the camp grounds, with just about everything one would need to survive. That would come in handy multiple times – especially for water/soda.

It must be noted that Summer Breeze is a smaller festival than Wacken, which is somewhat moot due to Wacken being by far the biggest in Europe. Summer Breeze is one of the larger fests, however, and brings in around 40,000 people. The organization of the campgrounds was very good, with each section marked off by letters, and with large flags marking each section making navigation easy. Where I settled was about a five minute or less walk to the main festival ground. So after completing the tent setup and getting everything else in order, it was time to check things out.

Wednesday was the pre-fest day. The main festival area with the main stages wasn’t open just yet. The tent stage, named the Party Tent, was the only stage running that day – unless you count the Camel Stage, which is a tiny stage with a few small bands of a lighthearted nature. Not much to report on there.

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