Gurtenfestival is placed in the capital city of Switzerland in Berne on the hill called Gurten. A proper citizen of Berne would call it „Güsche“. Now thanks to the advent calendar of Ticketcorner I’m able to go to the festival for 4 days and have some VIP amenities available too. I didn’t know beforehand how grateful I would be for that special treatment.
This year the festival started on Wednesday instead of Thursday. But still so many people queued up to get their ticket changed into a wristband. After that they had to wait another 1 ½ hrs to get to the Gurtenbähnli to bring them up the hill. Lucky me I could jump the queue and walk straight in. The VIP area is really nice and on Day 1 there weren’t too many people there either.
First main act was Rag’N’Bone Man who sang again very well. Although I couldn’t really hear that much because of the chatter of the people around me. I really don’t understand how people can spend that much money and waste it on chit chat. We went on to see Nothing but Thieves who were good but I cannot put my finger on what was missing in their performance so that I cannot say: „Ohh I would see them again“.
Royal Blood was the next act on the mainstage but they weren’t my favourite either so we chilled in the lounge area. Unfortunately it was really cold and windy and very uncomfortable. So we were glad when we could walk over to the tent stage where we saw an amazing Jack Garratt. He looks like a kid who didn’t get what he wanted but God he’s good and he is really funny too! He started to play very famous songs by Justin Timberlake or Michael Jackson and then stopped. It was kinda frustrating but also very funny. At the same time Dabu Fantastic a Swiss band was playing the forest stage. Since I knew how good they were I preferred to see someone I haven’t seen before. We only heard the last bit when we had to leave the tent to be early for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
As always the two American lads put on a great show and the audience loved them. However I liked them better the last time I saw them at Hallenstadion when they had the full show going. At the end they held their traditional dance off with two random people from the crowd and wow they were really really good. Macklemore said it was one of the best dance off’s they’d ever seen and I have to agree. To finish the night we watched a bit of From Kid who were okay but couldn’t really catch my attention and so we headed home soon after.
I was very looking forward to see Pegasus after I’ve seen them a week before on the ferry on lake Zurich. Again they didn’t disappoint. At 3.30 they had a lot of people in front of the mainstage and had them dancing and singing and waving and jumping. They are just an incredible live band! We then headed to a band from Zurich called Faber. They are Swiss but sing in German which is quite special. Next act on the mainstage was Lo & Leduc. I was really excited to see them in their home city at this brilliant festival. They were blown away by how many people turned up. They told us that they played one of the bars, then the Waldbühne, then the Zeltbühne and now the mainstage. It was an awesome 1 ½ hrs set until they finally had to make way for the next act.
We heard the last bit of Nemo who is a very young Swiss German Rapper but I really like his upbeat feel-good sound. It was finally time for Imagine Dragons. I’ve also already seen them at Hallenstadion like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis the day before and I also liked that concert better than this Gurtenfestival appearance. Maybe it was because I stood in the VIP area and not very close to the stage where I think the people had good fun. Funny enough after what felt like 20mins they turned off the lights completely on stage and for a very long time too. People thought it was already the usual walk off-walk on-encore part but I was like this is way too early. It turned out that it was some kind of power cut as the singer Dan Reynolds couldn’t hear anything in his in-ears. Few minutes later the show went on and like Coldplay’s bell I heard the drum sound in “Radioactive” really clearly for the first time.
To round off Day 2 we decided to see Trust. This band has already very famous band members such as Stress and Gabriel Spahni from Pegasus. Stress was actually singing which is quite different to what he usually does. In the end the tired eyes won and we headed down.
Unfortunately I had to work on day 3 so I only got up the hill for the 2nd main act Züri West. I thought the crowd would react similar to Lo & Leduc and create an incredible atmosphere but that wasn’t the case. The band didn’t interact with the audience and didn’t sing all their famous hits. Overall everyone was very disappointed. My concert buddy had the joy to see Lucky Chops before this main act. And she really liked them. They’re an instrumental band and good fun!
We also caught a bit of the performance of LP but we still don’t fancy her live voice a lot. Casper’s set must have been very good because when we reached the main stage the whole crowd did the usual rap/hip hop moves by moving one arm up and down. From my experience Hip Hop concerts have the best atmosphere. We headed to the tent stage next where we saw a German band called SDP. They had a punk rock feel and some very racy lyrics. I quite liked their performance and at one point they had huge beach balls bouncing off the audiences’ hands.
To finish this evening Fritz Kalkbrenner sang behind his turn tables. He started with: “Hallo ich bin Fritz und ich fang dann jetzt mal an!”. I’ve never heard a funnier start. He continued being funny throughout the set and he seemed very down to earth to me. I realized that his music is not my kinda cup of tea but I did enjoy his set and many other late night party dancers would agree.
The day I was anticipating the most and it turned out to be my favourite day! Somehow there weren’t a lot of people anymore even though it was a Saturday or maybe we caught the best time to get food and found good spots at concerts. Anyway it was a very chilled fun day.
We started front row with Saint Motel on the main stage. What an awesome band! They have good up-tempo music to dance to. The saxophone was great but my highlight was when the lead singer walked through the crowd to the sound tower on the other side and climbed up. It looked very funny. Another highlight and a speciality of this festival is the dancing security. You won’t find any grim unfriendly looking security here. They help you in any way they can and even start dance moves.
Since Kate Tempest was late we decided to see Veronica Fusaro also a Swiss singer on the Waldbühne. What a wonderful setting. The stage is facing a steep part of the Gurten hill so people can sit down or even stand and everyone can see the artists down there. Veronica has a beautiful voice and good songs – perfect for the occasion, a hot sunny summer day. Close to the end we headed for Kate Tempest on the Zeltbühne – big mistake. We didn’t like her at all. She has a weird way of rapping and her songs seemed to me like she was trying to convince me to join a cult or something similar.
Seven was absolutely brilliant. He made everyone dancing, singing and clapping. It was an amazing show by awesome musicians giving their all to us. They visibly enjoyed playing and this is automatically transferred onto the audience. 1 1/2hrs of pure joy! Thank you for that.
Unfortunately we couldn’t see Asgeir an Islandic musician but he is supposed to be very good. Next up were Beginner a hip hop combo from Hamburg who have been successful for years. They created a beautiful colourful set on stage and also gave a 110% on stage. What I personally liked was that they were actually promoting the next act Marteria as well. There was no visible competition between them. My favourite words from Jan Delay was: “We need all your energy – oh wait no – you need energy for Marteria too. This is what you’re going to do. Give us all your energy, then load it up again with all those energy stations around this place and be ready to give all your energy to Marteria again.” Loved it J
Death by Chocolate was too rocky for us so we went to see Walk off the Earth. Brilliant decision. They are an incredible live band. We loved their own songs and the covers they did. Awesome musicians who I would like to see again.
Finally, the act I was waiting for, took the stage at 12.30pm. Marteria absolutely rocked the 20’000 people at Gurtenfestival. I have no words to describe this. Before every song he said “Alle Hände” and all hands went up. We danced, we sang, we rapped, we jumped, we enjoyed every minute of this 1 1/2hrs set. During his song “Marteria Girl” he asked the guys to take all the Marteria Girls on their shoulders. At that exact moment I knew I needed to find a tall, big strong guy who will join me for Marteria’s concert in Zurich on Dec, 9th 17! J During the last song it was total “Abriss” which you can translate to “Go totally mental”. Marteria took off his shirt and asked everyone to do so as well and swing it above their heads. (Me being a pro I took a scarf with me… Hello I’m still a girl ;-)) During the final final 20 secs he created a mosh pit and on his commando everyone jumped into it.
The party went on all night until the sun greeted us with an amazing sunrise which looked like painted by Bob Ross. The clouds turned purple and Marteria’s biggest hit so far “Wir bleiben wach bis die Wolken wieder lila sind” came true. Just a brilliant finish to a wonderful 4 day Gurtenfestival in Berne with amazing weather. I have to say thank you to Ticketcorner for this incredible prize and to Gurtenfestival for these many special moments with great artists and to my lovely concert buddy.