30 years Rockharz – here we were!

Early July 2023, the metal community has already seen the first festivals this year, small ones like RMD’z at Oschersleben, or mid sized like Metal Frenzy Festival, Gardelegen in Germany or Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium and many more with Rock Harz Festival in plain sight. This year marks the 30th anniversary and promises the best line-up ever with some surprise acts.

30 years of Rock Harz Festival

Conquering the Campsite

There is only one festival embedded in such a wonderful, picturesque landscape as this Rock Harz Festival from 5th to 8th July, one day longer than usual as a kind of compensation. With its now about 25.000 visitors it is the largest metal festival in Middle Germany. Let’s see how everything worked out this year, because it is a constantly growing festival, so logistical changes and upgrades are required year after year. For early birds the gates open on Tuesday even before noon and our about twenty members of “AG Metal” and “Club Mimimii” are not the only ones taking this opportunity. Indeed, we seem to be some of those 90%, taking this chance for a longer traffic jam but one day more on the festival grounds. This however, does not come for free but costs a small administrational fee of 10.- € per person.

The Trap

Coming from different directions of Germany, we decided to meet at Falkenstein, local supermarket early enough as we thought. Early enough for sure to have an ice-cream, a kebab or buy the last missing food. There was not far too much traffic by the moment we reached the roundabout of Ballenstedt, 2600 m away from the entrance to the campsite. There we were told by a police officer to keep it open, turn around and take a different route. It was a trap. Instead of entering the campsite in less than an hour, we had to drive 10 km and line up in a traffic jam so it took us three hours instead. Others reported the same, less than an hour from roundabout, three or four hours on alternative routes.

Setting Up Campsite

Nevertheless, once we had arrived, we found a wonderful space on the campsite, about 300m behind the big stage and less than five minutes away from the infield. Placing campers and setting up the big tents is easy on this ground. We decided for as much shadow as possible because we expected high temperatures from weather forecast. We learned from the mistake with the canopies last year, so it was an easy and smooth installation of our campsite. Well, at least we had had enough time in the traffic jam to plan it in detail…

First Things First

Due to the challenges of the journey, we needed to focus on the most important topics first: Getting the wrist bands for the infield, food and drinks! Soon the first party keg of beer was opened… and emptied in no time. The barbeque heated up, meat, sausages, veggies filled the grate. Dinner, beer pong and a first visit to the Mutantenstadl followed. We enjoyed the rest of the evening til dawn, knowing there wouldn’t be too much to do anymore until the opening of the infield.

Mutantenstadl, Food and Beverages

The name Mutantenstadl is a German pun combining the word Mutant (“mutant”) and “Musikantenstadl” (an event with lots of German ’Volksmusik’). Well, this place is something very unique about the Rock Harz Festival. It’s kind of a ’Biergarten’. However, the organiser put a lot of dedication into the design and build of it every year. There is usually a large house with a balcony and the cocktail bar on the first floor, a lot of seating space with parasols protecting you from the sun and some artfully decorated figurines. The local brewery offers some specialties, usually not supplied by average supermarkets. There were a lot of stalls with food and beverages as beer, wine, met, cocktails, etc. all around. In general, the range of quality food, besides the usual fast food, was very good, even better than last year, no matter if it was vegan, veggie, fish or meat. Hot food, cold food but no bad food. Frankly speaking we had expected a dramatic price increase in 2023, but surprisingly you could find something for everyone at a very fair price. Even the prices for beverages remained the same as in 2022!


The same was true for the merch. Other than some had dreaded the prices had not skyrocketed. Since last year the festival’s own merch stall is placed next to the entrance of the infield, with counters to both sides, infield and campsite. It also sells the official band merch. The money from selling merch nowadays is a big or the biggest part of the income of most bands since physical music is not selling well enough anymore. It is always better to buy there than from an obscure black market if you want to support your adored artists. And of course there were the other, independent licensed stalls opposite of the stages in their own area.

Stage layout

The stage was the usual double stage to watch one band from the side while waiting for the next in front of their stage. There were no overlaps. Those who had the energy could watch every band in full length. As in the previous years, left of the stages you could find the Meet’n’Greet zone for signing sessions, the VIP-area, hosting the headquarter of the photographers, and the VIP stand. In front of the stages of course were placed the area for disabled people and the two towers for sound and light boards.

Cherry Picking From The Line Up

Once our stamina for extensive banging and moshing was guaranteed, we could shift to the program. Fortunately, the running order of the bands for 2023 had been published right in time which made it easy to decide the perfect timing between breakfast, lunch or dinner and paying a shorter or longer visit to the infield. So here it is, the probably best line up of RHZ so far. Four days filled with quality metal of all genres were guaranteed. Nevertheless, we decided to concentrate on fewer bands and their full set instead of having a quick but superficial look at everyone. So please forgive us if we left out your favourite bands. It doesn’t make them worse than the others but simply not being in the center of our focus. And we of course managed to miss some of the bands we really wanted to see… Reasons and excuses but gone.


A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.