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W Festival 2021Klein Strand, Oostende, Belgium
26th to 29th August 2021
W-Festival 2021 Day 4 with Dr & The Medics, Snap! & Haddaway, Wegsfeer, Absynthe Minded, The House Of Love, The Christians, Blancmange, Starship, The Jacksons

The pit in front of the stage is packed with people, eagerly waiting for the last show of W-Festival to start. It is 20 minutes to ten, when suddenly the lights go out. People are screaming, shouting of joy, when they hear the first tunes of THE JACKSONS - but it is not time yet, they need to be patient a bit longer. It is only a short film about the life of the famous musicians. Pictures are flickering over the huge screens, pictures from the old days, when the family was united.

The film ends, artificial fog wafts over the stage - and white spotlights create four silhouettes. ‘Can you feel it’, they ask their very enthusiastic audience. Some of them paid extra to be very close to the stage. For most of the fans it is a very special day - it’s the birthday of MICHAEL JACKSON. And of course; they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for him.

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It is the last day of W-Festival and for the very end of the five-day-celebration at the beach, the booker of the festival has scored a band with world format. Who doesn’t know THE JACKSONS, one of the most successful bands in music history? Who cannot sing along to all their hits? ‘Blame it on the boogie’ and ‘ABC’ started for sure a huge dance-party. Lots of dancers were also spotted in the pole position for STARSHIP, who kind of did the warm-up for THE JACKSONS. ‘We Built This City’ and ‘Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now’ are only two of the hits that started a wild dance-party not only in front of the stage. Even some of the 300 people, that work on the festival, cannot resist anymore and dance behind their desks and bars - like nothing gonna stop them now. The soaring voice of Mikey Thomas still does the trick and gives STARSHIP their unique note.

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But back to the start of the festival-day. DR & THE MEDICS, mostly famous for their song ‘Spirit In The Sky’ opened the stage and did not forget to play their version of the ABBA-classic ‘Waterloo’. Since TECHNOTRONIC were stuck in the UK, the festival asked HADDAWAY to fill in for them in the early slot - together with SNAP! The former background singer Penny Ford showed with Rapper AK Swift, that they know how the SNAP! songs should be performed. Especially the House and Hip-Hop fusion number ‘The Power’ and ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’, the mother of all Eurodance songs, were pure demonstrations of power. HADDAWAY - with a strong and sexy female voice by his side (unfortunately he did not introduce her) - did a very good job, too. After his performance even those people, who tried to hide behind their coffee cups, were awake and smiling.

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The Belgium band WEGSFEER is specialized on Wave cover songs. Boring - you might think. We got a tip at the breakfast table to take a closer look. And it was worth it. We heard for example ‘Transmission’ (JOY DIVISION) and ‘Alice’ (SISTERS OF MERCY) and it sounded very, very close to the original. Wow. “Close your eyes and imagine to be in a club. Give them a chance - they are really great”, someone told me before the concert of ABSYNTHE MINDED, because they weren’t an ideal fit to the line-up. And yes, he was right. With their Pop-Rock tunes and the soft voice of the singer Bert Oslyn they pulled me right away in their musical universe with their first song ‘Beam’. Their version of ‘The Passenger’ did not sound as dirty and dangerous as the original performed by IGGY POP, but it also did the trick on me. Singing along, enjoying myself - perfect for a Sunday afternoon. All in all, their gig was a perfect introduction and I will for sure go and see a club show of theirs.

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As a huge APOPTYGMA BERZERK fan I couldn’t wait to hear the original version of ‘Shine On’ by THE HOUSE OF LOVE. The English Alternative Rock band, which was founded in 1986, made me wait for a long while - but it was fun watching them play enthusiastic through their old songs like ‘Hope’, ‘Light In The Morning’ and ‘Sweet Loser’. Not very spiritual but reverent was the set of THE CHRISTIANS, that followed right up. The name of the band does not refer to their clerical status, but to the surname of the three brothers, that were originally in the line-up and is also coincidentally guitarist Henry Priesterman’s middle name. Renowned for an endless string of soulful yet socially aware hit such as ‘Forgotten Town’, ‘Ideal World’ and ‘Born again’ THE CHRISTIANS enjoyed huge acclaim in the late 80s and early 90s. In Oostende they showed, that their time is not up yet.

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For many Synth Pop fans, BLANCMANGE was their secret headliner of the last day. They started with ‘Game Above My Head’ and worked themselves through an hourly set. They did not really seem to enjoy themselves on stage - what was a pity because all the fans tried to transfer their energy towards the stage. So, their performance was a bit like a job they had to get over it. A shame, because I know for sure that they can do much better. But the fans didn’t care. They danced and sang like they just started to party and not four days ago.

All in all, W-Festival was a huge success although there were a lot of obstacles on the way before and during the festival. But if you looked in all these happy faces of the people, you knew that they had a great time at this huge beach-party.

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)
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