Festival-goers feast their eyes!

At the stroke of 4 pm the young dogs from The Pink Slips kicked off a completely sold out 23nd edition of Graspop Metal Meeting. Their high octane set got thousands of heads nodding for what promises to be yet another slam dunk edition of Belgium’s premier metal festival. 

But before the gates to metal Walhalla swung wide several Belgian bands had already given it their all on the Jupiler Stage, in the Classic Rock Café and in the Metal Dome. Opening acts often have the ungrateful task of pleasing the early birds and warming up the masses for what is to come but that was far from the case today. Once the floodgates were open, droves of metalheads started pouring in. Today was busier than usual in the normally tranquil Kempen Region. Those willing to brave long queues were rewarded with a handful of top-notch shows and lots of fringe animation. A giant Ferris wheel, bumper cars, the popular ‘Ducks of Thrash’ hook-a-duck stall, a battery of food trucks, the cosily dingy Jack Daniel’s Bar, …  the metal hordes needed another set of eyes to take it all in.

There was no action in the Marquee on opening Thursday but on Main Stage 1 Grace McKagan – Duff’s daughter – and her Pink Slips, the eternally impressive ‘Queen of Metal‘ Doro, Black Stone Cherry and Iced Earth blazed through ferocious sets. Jonathan Davis did a stellar job on his first outing without his Korn bandmates. On stage, battle-hardened and seasoned metal musicians voiced their appreciation for the Dessel metal fest not once or twice, but time and again. Make no mistake, these genre favourites love to come to Dessel.

The most highly anticipated set on day one was obviously the exclusive Guns N’ Roses appearance but the occult rockers from Ghost were also a major draw. Meanwhile Papa Emeritus III has abdicated, not to be replaced by another namesake but by the sinister Cardinal Copia. The new show obviously pleased the packed stands right next to the Marquee – yet another novelty. The perfect place to take in a show at your leisure because that, too, is Graspop Metal Meeting: linking up with friends at a cosy get together with some 50,000 soulmates and soaking up four days of the very best hard rock and metal have to offer. 

More of the same is coming up tomorrow with the likes of Iron Maiden, Parkway Drive and Avenged Sevenfold, to name but a few! As the festival is completely sold out there are no more tickets at the box office