10th to 12th September 2021
NCN 2021 with Day 1 Metallspürhunde, Paralyzzer, Die Kammer, Blind Passenger, Das Ich, HaPax, L'Âme Immortelle, Death in Rome / Day 2: Carpet Waves, Akalotz, Jadu, Sleepwalk, Age of Heaven, Tyske Ludder, Darkwood, Tanzwut, The Foreign Resort, Diary of Dreams, Placebo Effect / Day 3: Beyond Obsession, Vogon Poetry, Aeon Sable, KatzKab, Persephone, She Pleasures Herself, Rotersand, Spiritual Front, Front 242
Another Corona year, another NCN Special. Still, bigger events and especially festivals in summer were not allowed to take place in Germany. The happier anyone was when NCN announced another special edition for September 2021.
This year was as challenging as the last one. For some of us more and for others less. But also this year, the event sector has been hit particularly hard. And I do not only refer to artists, but also organisers, promoters, sound and light technicians, stage hands etc. Currently, things are slightly improving. So let’s all hope for something better and a “normal” festival edition next year. We are still waiting for the 15th NCN to happen with great names on the bill. For this year, people were enjoying their time at the special edition which could increase capacity to 1,500 visitors due to the current pandemic development. Two stages offered a varied program for all attendees and after the concerts, you could dance at the after-show parties at the Culture Stage.
Being at the holy NCN ground again somehow felt like returning home, especially since I personally missed last year’s special edition due to my day job. Of course, also this year’s NCN edition was held under special hygiene restrictions. You could only enter the festival ground when you were vaccinated, tested or recovered. Anything was checked at the entrance and per day, you got a wrist band in a different colour to make visible anything was really checked. Anyone entering the ground needed such a wrist band, no matter if you were visitor, crew, artist or working at the festival. In many places arrows were showing in which direction to go so that people would not clash. The whole concept had been communicated well ahead. Masks were not obligatory at the festival ground but at the toilets. Seats made sure you had enough distance to other people and at the Culture Stage, entrance was limited.
Just like last year, there were only two stages - Amphibühne (Amphi stage) and Kulturbühne (Culture Stage) - instead of the usual four stages. Everything was scheduled a little bit different. Less bands but longer time slots. Also, much time planned for changeovers. And later in the evening, two bands playing at the same time. A very relaxed festival to ensure that people would be able to spread over the whole area and to keep a distance to each other. This year, the line-up was still influenced by the current travelling restrictions. It was a little less international than usual with most - not all - bands coming from Germany and all from Europe. What did not change is that it felt very diverse. One of the many things I love about NCN is that it is the perfect place to discover new bands. Everyone can find some music they like, whether it is dreamy dark wave, groovy post punk, catchy synth pop or powerful industrial… And there are always some true classics and well known “stars” of the scene playing next to promising and interesting newcomers.
The concerts on this day started a bit past five in late afternoon with METALLSPÜRHUNDE from Switzerland on the Amphi Stage. The weather was warm and dry. We were still waiting for the announced rain and thunderstorms, but so far, no bad weather was in sight. So we could enjoy PARALYZZER, DIE KAMMER, BLIND PASSENGER, DAS ICH, HAPAX, L'ÂME IMMORTELLE and DEATH IN ROME. What a nice start into the festival weekend.
We were entering the festival area quite early and ready for the things to come: CARPET WAVES, AKALOTZ, JADU, SLEEPWALK, AGE OF HEAVEN, TYSKE LUDDER, DARKWOOD, TANZWUT, THE FOREIGN RESORT, DIARY OF DREAMS and PLACEBO EFFECT. Sadly, we were too tired for the midnight special, ROME. I am sure people enjoyed it a lot. Weather today as much better than expected… there was announced much rain and storm… but we did not get anything of that. Lucky us!
Already, the festival was over more or less. The night was a bit short since were celebrated an old tradition at the hotel to sit together and have some wine, crisps and chats. So, we were still quite tired when we entered the area. Luckily there was Green-Temper-Coffee so save us with fantastic coffee and cake. The last day offered some highlights: BEYOND OBSESSION, VOGON POETRY, AEON SABLE, KATZKAB, PERSEPHONE, SHE PLEASURES HERSELF, ROTERSAND and SPIRITUAL FRONT. A great show of FRONT 242 ended the NCN Special 2021 and people just felt happy and grateful for this wonderful experience.
And so, the NCN 2021 was over and so was a very short festival summer with only the E-Only in June at the same location and the W-Festival in Belgium. As a nice tradition, the presenters of the NCN Special entered the stage once more after the last concert and asked the whole festival crew to join them and thanked them while the whole audience cheered and applauded whole-heartedly. Well-deserved. Anyone was really, really happy about this event. So, a heartfelt thank you from my side as well to all of those who made this possible. See you next year!
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)