The darker side of jingle bell rock

  • 2005-12-07
  • By Julia Balandina
RIGA - The Green Christmas festival is not only Estonia's oldest rock festival, but also the biggest winter rock concert in the Baltics. This year the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary, which means the show will be wilder, louder and more awe-inspiring. But this is all needless to say, as the performers speak for themselves.

Anathema, a popular U.K. heavy metal group, will have teenagers clad in army boots and cargo pants lined up for front-row tickets. As Kerrang magazine put it, "If there's a band that knows a thing or two about heavy moods, it's Anathema." But this won't be the only heavy metal music on the menu; Germany's Die Krupps will provide a wide spectrum of industrial sounds. Their show may be all the more intense, as it's the group's 25th birthday.

For metal core and death metal fans (is there a difference?) the famous German band Neaera, along with Widescreen Mode and Sinking from Finland, have been invited to join this year's crew and will undoubtedly "tear the stage apart with their hard core music." Let's just hope the suggestion isn't literal.

One of the show's most unconventional bands, Sybreed from Switzerland, will end the festival on a dark and dreary note 's to the delight of every heavy-metal fan. Of course, there's a handful of well-known Estonian rock bands due to perform as well.

Since the rock festival first took place in the small town of Rakvere in 1995, it has become one of the Baltics' best known. With a debut audience of 200 people, the number of concertgoers has increased dramatically over the years. In 2004, for example, more than 1,400 people attended the festival, which is quite remarkable for Rakvere, with a population of 16,717.

The initial idea behind the festival was to provide local bands with a chance to perform live, and invite one band from outside Rakvere to add color to the line-up. Today, Green Christmas has become the longest surviving rock festival in Estonia.

During its 10-year lifespan, Green Christmas has hosted the best of Estonia's up-and-coming bands, such as Vennaskond, East Trading Wang, Forgotten Sunrise, Timeless Generation and many more. These groups have since become well known in the Baltics, thanks in part to this small-town festival. The event also has a long tradition of welcoming famous rock bands from the U.K., Sweden, Finland and Germany. And this year's jubilee, as you see, will not be an exception.

This rock festival is not for the light hearted. If Vanilla Ninja and Marie N. are your cup of musical tea, the Green Christmas Festival is probably not for you. But if you're prone to wandering through the "synthetic melodies and apocalyptic lyrics" section of your neighborhood CD store, then this two-day concert is all you could ask for.

So pull on your black trenchcoat and military boots, pop in some ear plugs and get ready for the loudest night the small town of Rakvere might ever know.

Green Christmas

Dec. 16 's 17.

Rakvere Sports Hall

Tickets: 30 euros