I couldn’t help comparing Fezen to VOLT at first, and Fezen seemed very small and even desolate on the first day early in the afternoon (called day 0 here). But on Satur-(Deep Purple)-day the place was teeming with people. Another difference is that when there aren’t any concerts yet or when there isn’t a concert you’re interested in, there is no circus, no bungee jumping, no theater and no psychology tent like at other festivals. But it’s a music festival! If there is good music, you don’t need any of these.
Fezen’s definite strength over VOLT is its mostly consistent line-up. Although it’s not Brutal Assault, I’d say none of the acts would send the average rocker screaming in the other direction. This is a great step forward after last year’s flop: the big electronic artists didn’t bring in enough people to make it worthwhile financially, but it managed to upset the regular Fezeners who want the old pure rock/metal Fezen festival. There were fewer stages and no electro this year. Instead, Fezen filled up the program with amateur bands who won a contest in May. Winner The Talking Horse was a real winner because they played on the main stage between Moonspell and Tankcsapda. The other bands were less fortunate: they had to play in a room that is smaller than most people’s living room and the heat inside was intolerable until well into the night. Most of these bands probably saw their Fezen performance as an opportunity to show their music to new people. Fezen organizers saw them as a way to fill the white spaces of the program booklet. It’s a shame because the idea is great. Next year Fezen should forget about this Gépház stage and put these amateur bands on some more accessible stage.
Public transportation in Székesfehérvár is still awful, so it’s no wonder that the only entrance accessible by bus was the one with limited capacity. The only way you could get to main entrance was by using a car, a taxi or walking for quite a while in the heat. The place itself is an old football ground from the old days when every Hungarian city had at least about three football pitches. This one (like many in the country) hasn’t been used in ages and it shows. To get from the main stage to the main “tent” you had to climb up a little hill where the stairs were crumbling or non-existent. The situation is tricky because the place is not owned by the organizers, so I guess it would be difficult to do anything with it. But that is not the case with the “Fezen club” where something should’ve been done with the extreme heat in the afternoons. Still, good music like Metallust’s excellent Metallica covers could make you forget about the heat. Nothing bad can be said about the organization in the most important matters. For example the most awaited concert, Deep Purple was delayed by 15 minutes so that the late-comers can get in and not miss the start.
Fezen festival is definitely on the right path with this year’s festival and hopefully the line-up will be even better next year. Last year Fezen tried to venture into the premium festival category with concerts that required buying extra tickets and the things I’ve already written about. Fezen 2013 was aimed at the regular Hungarian: cheap beer and no “magic card” for payments but good old cash. The recipe is there, now Fezen just needs to improve it. Concentrate on getting good artists and “the atmosphere” will be there without jesters and acrobats. Have a taste of this year’s Fezen atmosphere with these photos (by Sándor Mácsár) and video (by Gábor Tarr):