Graspop Metal Meeting

Graspop Metal Meeting BelgiumGraspop Metal Meeting takes place at Kastelsedijk, Dessel, Belgium

Graspop Metal Meeting 2012 dates – 22nd to 24th June

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OZZY & FRIENDS – headliner Friday 22nd June
LIMP BIZKIT – headliner Saturday 23rd June
GUNS N’ ROSES – headliner Sunday 24th June

Twisted Sister, Motörhead,  Trivium, Dimmu Borgir, Children Of Bodom, Amon Amarth, Lamb Of God, Sick Of It All, Paradise Lost, Sacred Reich, August Burns Red, Death Angel, Obituary, Nasum, Comeback Kid, H2o, Ensiferum, The Spudmonsters,  Emmure,  Betrayer, Whitechapel, Skeletonwitch, Winterfylleth, Killswtich Engage, Hatebreed, Devildriver, Exodus, Alestorm, Sabaton, Slayer, Europe, Pennywise, As I Lay Dying, Ihsahn , Unearth, Leprous, Texas In July, Jon Olivia’s Pain, Megadeth, Kyuss Lives, Possessed, Young Guns, Machine Head, Gotthard, Adrenaline Mob, Sebastian Bach, Cannibal Corpse, Spoil Engine, The Treatment, My Dying Bride, Lagwagon, Gojira, While She Sleeps, Cancer Bats, I Killed The Prom Queen, Kobra & The Lotus, Black Spiders, Godsmack, Slash, Black Label Society, All Shall Perish, Behemoth, Fear Factory, Eluveitie, Ugly Kid Joe, Thin Lizzy, Primal Fear, Aborted, Heidevolk, Saille, Dear Superstar, Rival Sons, Tracer, Powerwolf, Suicidal Angels

The History of Graspop Metal Meeting
The first edition of Graspop was organised way back in 1986 as a local pop festival with mainly local acts. Two decades later, Graspop has evolved from a small-scale family affair to a major and internationally acclaimed metal event. This obviously didn’t happen overnight.In the summer of 1995, what should have been a festive tenth anniversary edition of the Graspop festival turned into an organiser’s worst nightmare. The turn-out was abysmal in spite of top acts like Joe Cocker and Simple Minds. An overkill of pop festivals jeopardised the concept of Graspop as a family happening and this left the festival with a difficult choice. Organiser Peter Van Geel realised that a repeat of the same formula offered no prospects for the future.

The success of the 1993 and 1994 editions, when the bill leaned towards the heavier side of the musical spectrum with the likes of Motörhead, The Ramones, Paradise Lost and Biohazard, gave the organisers food for thought. They decided a radical change of course was in order and resolutely steered the festival toward the heavier music genres.
Around that time, concert organiser Bob ‘Biebob’ Schoenmaekers was faced with an entirely different set of problems. The Midsummer Metal Meeting – an indoor festival – was bulging at the seams since it was impossible to expand indoors. Bob came up with the idea of organising the first open-air festival, but he lacked the organisation able to mobilise sufficient manpower. Promotor Herman Schueremans finally brought both parties together and the rest, as they say, is history. The decision was made to join forces in transforming the Graspop Festival into a genuine metal festival. The event was renamed GRASPOP METAL MEETING and was to be organised in Dessel every last weekend of June.

The first Graspop Metal Meeting was scheduled for 30 June 1996 and immediately the change of course proved to be roaring success. Over 10,000 metalheads got to see fifteen bands on two stages with Iron Maiden and Type O Negative as headliners. The marquee concept was also a slam dunk.

The next year, in 1997, the event threatened to be a washout due to unseasonably bad weather, but the true heavy metal fans were not to be deterred. In spite of the deluge, the turn-out was even better than the year before and the metal masses banged their heads to, amongst others, Tiamat, Megadeth and Alice Cooper. GMM opted for three stages, with the introduction of the ‘skate stage’, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that the site at ‘De Witte Berg’ was not only too wet, but also too small.

For the 1998 edition, the festival relocated to the much larger Boeretang site and Peter Van Geel and his team booked an even bigger act to conclude the festivities. Headliners Black Sabbath played their show under a – once again – threatening sky, but they did draw quite a crowd as attendance numbers slowly but surely crept towards the 20,000 mark.

The bill for the 1999 edition may have been slightly less impressive with closers Manowar, Danzig and Cradle Of Filth, but by now the Graspop Metal Meeting had built a solid fan base and the festival was also starting to make a name for itself abroad. The 2000 edition marked the triumphant return of Iron Maiden and together with the likes of Machine Head, Cro-Mags and My Dying Bride, they turned GMM 2000 into a true metalfest. A wet metalfest, of course, because the weather gods were having their usual bad day.

In 2004, the ninth Graspop Metal Meeting spanned three days. The campingfest opened the proceedings on Friday, while full programmes on three separate stages were scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday. Attendance climbed to 75,000, putting paid to those critics who had long claimed metal to be a fringe phenomenon in Belgium. Iced Earth and Exodus were top of the bill on Friday, while Alice Cooper, Cradle Of Filth and Agnostic Front closed on Saturday. On Sunday, Judas Priest celebrated the return of Rob Halford and Dimmu Borgir and Hatebreed blasted the crowd into oblivion with blistering sets.

The 2005 edition marked the tenth anniversary of the Graspop Metal Meeting and an amazing 80,000 metal fans thanked the organisers for ten long years of unremitting effort. The campingfest became a thing of the past as GMM now scheduled three full festival days on four stages that welcomed over 60 bands. After top acts like Slipknot, System Of A Down and Slayer had set the festival grounds ablaze, headliners Iron Maiden wrapped up the three-day anniversary party in style with a vintage ‘early days’ set.

Just like all previous editions, GMM 2006 was a roaring success. On Saturday, bands and fans had to suffer in the blistering heat, but the following day torrential rains swept across the Dessel festival grounds. The cloudburst just before the Helloween gig was particularly spectacular. Korn were forced to cancel their set just days before the festival, so there wasn’t enough time to find a suitable replacement. Fortunately GMM could count on Soulfly, Opeth, My Dying Bride and Alice In Chains to play a somewhat longer set. Saturday’s headliners Guns N’ Roses ran late, so no surprises there. Mr Axl Rose saw fit to let his fans soak for 80 minutes before taking the stage.

Attendance breached the 100,000 barrier this year! Although this is a new record, but in view of our 2007 lineup (Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Heaven and Hell, Korn, Slayer, Life of Agony, Black Label Society, …) this can hardly be called surprising! This year’s edition also saw the introduction of the all-in festival ticket, giving metal fans access to free public transport to the festival site. Unfortunately the sun took the entire weekend off this year, but no amount of bad weather can break the spirit of our die-hard metal fans!

GMM 2008 was definitely not unlucky thirteen. Not only were the seventy-odd bands on top form, the weather gods also smiled down on this year’s metal fest: no rain, not too hot and the occasional breeze. From an organisational point of view, Volbeat and Opeth’s late cancellations were the only hiccup.
GMM 2008 was unique in more ways than one. KISS had their first (and probably last) show on Belgian soil, At The Gates and Forbidden reformed whereas Ministry were on their farewell tour. Finally, GMM 2008 will be remembered as the year we introduced the Festihuts and judging by the success these small wooden cottages with actual beds will most likely become a Graspop fixture.

GMM 2009 marked the 14th edition of our prestigious festival and once again the key word was innovation: some 130,000 metalheads inaugurated the new festival grounds “Stenehei” and the new 24h zone created a corridor between the campsite and the actual festival arena. This year also saw the introduction of the boozebags and the new Graspop token now pays for both food and drink.

The sun decided to play along this year and beat down mercilessly on endless hordes of banging heads. Luckily free drinkable water was available all across the festival grounds.
Our thoughts go out to Killswitch Engage, who were forced to cancel their show due to a death in the family. Thankfully, the Belgian band In-Quest came to the rescue and they certainly flew the flag for Belgian metal. The other bands were on top of their game as well so despite the sweltering heat, they turned GMM2009 into a bone-crunching metalfest!

Graspop Metal Meeting Line Up – 2011
SCORPIONS, JUDAS PRIEST, SLIPKNOT , Volbeat, Korn, Journey, Foreigner, Iced Earth, Epica, Parkway Drive, The Damned Things, Dio Disciples, Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Heaven Shall Burn, Sepultura, Corrosion Of Conformity, The Rods, Watain, Angel Witch, The Dwarves, The Black Dahlia Murder, Arkona, FM, Protest The Hero, Endless Dark, Revoker, Whitesnake, Cradle of Filth, Bullet For My Valentine, Black Label Society, Lacuna Coil, Monster Magnet, Arch Enemy, Moonspell, Triptykon, Electric Wizard, Adept, Spirtual Beggars, Pain, Kylesa, Suicide Silence, Times Of Grace, Firewind, All Shall Perish, Kvelertak, Black Spiders, Ghost, After The Burial, Channel Zero, Rob Zombie, Avenged Sevenfold, Cavalera Conspiracy, Mastodon, Opeth, Kreator, Dublin Death Patrol, Bring Me The Horizon, Moonsorrow, Legion Of The Damned, Amorphis, Soilwork, Anvil, Wayne Static, Terror, D.R.I., Architects, Escape The Fate, Gwar, While She Sleeps, Baptized In Blood, Rise To Remain


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