Festival Review: M’era Luna Festival 2022 – Welcome b(l)ack

Friday 5th August

The sun was shining when the gates opened on Friday and welcomed all the beautifully dark and stylish people in the gothic scene. The campsite filled up quickly, already at mid-day, and slowly the whole festival atmosphere came back, that feeling we’ve missed so much the last two years.

First things first; I checked in to get my wristband to enter the festival. And I realized how much I’ve missed walking across the campsite, seeing all people getting into their gothic dresses, or engaging in a campsite party among their mostly black tents, smiling, laughing, and hugging each other like they haven’t seen each other in two years (and they probably haven’t).

The first day, the pre-festival day, was about the Medieval market which stayed open until late so everyone could enjoy some great live music, drinks, and really delicious food. As the sunset arrived and welcomed the night, the huge M’era Luna sign became visible, welcoming everyone to the festival – just an awesome feeling. I’m finally here again and it feels like being home.

Friday afternoon offered a lecture by Isa Theobald, Markus Heitz, and Lydia Benecke who gave an amazing lecture about “The Psychology of Manipulation: About Love Tricksters, Gurus and Serial Killers” in the big festival hangar.

But now it was late, the Moon shone from the sky meaning it was time for the legendary M’era Luna Warm-Up Party. The first beats and melodies blasted out from the amps and lots of people joined the party. The Dancefloor Gladiatorz, DJ AndTrax, and DJ Mike Kanetzky pulled in loads of party people to a black dancefloor heaven. DJ Mike K was telling me that the warmup party was pure demolition. Sprawling energy and intense dancing at its best, and I got goosebumps. I just loved to see all the great and lovely people being back in such good spirit.

Saturday 6th August

“Hier bin ich Mensch, hier darf ich sein” J.W.Goethe

Finally, it’s here, the first M’era Luna Festival Day. I was so excited to see all the amazing people, both on and off stage. And that means all of them; the Vampires, the Victorian, the Cybers, all of them “masqued” in a huge palette of dark gothic styles.

The main stage 2022 was decorated with huge banners showing a little creepy girl with green eyes in a white dress and a big swing or rocking toy horse behind her – eerie and awesome at the same time. The stage hosted acts like Enemy Inside, Rave the Reqviem, Qntal and Schattenmann the first half of the day. In the afternoon, the audience welcomed OST+FRONT; “Ostfront!Ostfront!” loudly vibrated in the air as the crowd was shouting their name. The lights flickered and Eva Edelweiß burst onto the stage with a sign saying “lauter!” The band members followed suit and the first song, “Geld, Geld, Geld”, poured out of the amps as the frontman “Hermann Ostfront ” joined the rest of the band on stage, looking pale-faced and covered in blood. After some heavy rock riffs, the audience freaked out and engaged in an intense party. The highlight of their performance was a scary monster, and hundreds of black balloons were released into the audience – there were balloons everywhere! 

Meanwhile, at the brand new second stage, the Club Stage, harsh electronic sounds by Noisuf-X created a wall of beats. The Club Stage was an OpenAir Stage with a round tent above the audience, a great new feature and addition at M’era Luna, and bands like Solitary Experiments, Adam Is a Girl, Haujobb and Faderhead played at the stage during the day. 

Besides festival gigs, the famous Gothic Fashion Show took place at the hangar where brands like Nox Aurum, Rabenleder, Dracula Clothing, Rabenhaupt Design, Virginia The Wolf presented the latest designs and fashions with a magnificent gothic catwalk. There were also make-up workshops the whole day at the M’era Luna Academy where make-up artists gave tips for getting the perfect festival look. And of course, there was the Medieval dance at the market and signing sessions with loads of bands, and special sessions by Valentin Winter, Obsidian Kerttu, and Absentia Veil.

The second hangar hall hosted the Gothic Fashion Town this year, just next to the main stage. Lord of the Lost did a special show and performed with an ensemble; Asp featured the Little Big Men and performed as the headliner in the evening and spoiled their fans with loads of classic pieces. Those who didn’t get enough of dancing and dark electronic beats joined the official aftershow party, but for me, the night was over after a late midnight snack. I fell asleep very happy and super excited about what was to come the next day.

Sunday 7th August

“Das Glücklichste Schwarz des Jahres” (the happiest black of the year).

So, here we were on the last day of the M’era Luna Festival 2022 and again people did their best to get dressed up for a gothic afternoon. As usual, there were lots of pretty gothic dresses, amazing headpieces, and fashionable make-up styles – the most “colorful” black as far as the eye could see. No matter the age, everyone looked so dark and beautiful but the best of all was their smiling faces.

However, it was hot, really hot, and the sun scorched the festival ground, and the best way to cool down a bit was to have lots of ice cream. There was a new ice cream shop that sold black soft ice with different flavors and everybody had at least one.

Hell Boulevard opened up the main stage, followed by Aeverium. The crowd absolutely freaked out as Unzucht tore down the stage, and obviously, the frontman Daniel Schulz loved to surf the crowd. After so many years of playing the M’era Luna Festival, there are rituals and traditions that just have to be.

VNV Nation turned up with a special performance this year and performed a set with a string ensemble. Beautiful and super emotional for the viewers but also for themselves; Ronan had to wipe tears off his face at the most emotional moments. German industrial rock band Eisbrecher was the headliner today on the main stage and delivered a very entertaining performance. It was snowing on the stage to the song “Eiszeit” and lots of little plush bears were flying – hilarious!

A little surprise was the Crypt Talk show with Chris Harms (Lord of the Lost) and Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio). They gave festival visitors insights into the world of the music industry and also gave a background story about the M’era Luna Festival.

Meanwhile, at the Club Stage, the Austrian industrial act Nachtmahr made the crowd in front of the stage freak out completely. With “Mädchen in Uniform”, the dancing masses followed the “Tanzdiktator” to the next and last headliner of the evening, Front Line Assembly.

The last day ended a bit too fast. It wasn’t enough! It’s hard to put words to how beautiful this place, and the overall festival, is. That kind of “we” feeling, a sense of belonging somewhere, and a home to every dark romantic soul has its natural habitat here.

Full of longing for next year! M’era Luna see you in 2023!

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Review: Jenny von Orlikowski
Photos: Peter Bernsmann

About J.N.

Music researcher with an unhealthy passion for music and music festivals. Former studio owner, semi-functional drummer and with a fairly good collection of old analogue synthesizers from the 70's. Indie rock, post rock, electronic/industrial and drum & bass (kind of a mix, yeah?) are usual stuff in my playlists but everything that sounds good will fit in.
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