Party.San Metal Open Air 2023

No Bullshit… Just Metal

Festival report by DermimBoad

After more than 10 years of SummerBreeze Open Air it was time to try something new. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve always enjoyed our time there, but we wanted to go back to something smaller. Following a recommendation of good friends, this year we chose Party.San near Schlotheim. Checking out the line-up for the first time, some of our group had mixed feelings with almost only Black and Death Metal and different sub-genres on the list, too much for my wife this year.

Location: Airfield Schlotheim, Thuringia/Germany

Date: (9th) 10th-12th August 2023

Size: about 9.000

Running Order

Getting there

It all started with some ticket issues. They had got lost in the mail, but it only took a short call to Cudgel, the shop that sells the tickets and merch, to have the old ones replaced. I was told to get the new ones at the box office after arrival at the festival ground. On Wednesday, 9th of August, it was time to go. Apart from some detours due to street closures, we got on the campsite without any real long waiting lines. The staff at the box office was super kind and handed us the new tickets.


Infield impressions

The area, where Party.San is located, is an airfield with two huge tarred runways. The campsites are placed along and between the two runways. There is a lot of space and you don’t have to squeeze your camp between your neighbours. We got lucky and had a place really close to one of the two water closet and shower places. The people further up had Porta-Potties nearby. We made ourself comfortable and waited for the opening of the grounds.


Tent stage in the background

Wednesday is just meant for arrival. At 20.00 the gates to the tent stage opened where we had some Cuba Libre and then entered the infamous Metal Disco, which would serve as an after show party the following days. Two local radio stations The New Noise and Hellborn Metal Radio provided music for every taste. Everyone was cheerful and looking forward to the festival start the next day and so it got very late.



Each festival day at Party.San begins and ends with gun shots from the two guns flanking the main stage, one of them actually is called “Esmiralda”. Now we could have a look at the festival grounds in full. The area is very spacious, surrounded by merch, drink and food stalls. Behind the tower of the sound and light crew were two tents where you could sit and have some shade, while being able to watch and listen to the bands on the main stage. And there were even more benches to rest on or to have some food, all in good sight of the stage. The main stage was placed near the runway, so the area between the tower and the stage was tarred without any crowd barriers except the last one right in front of the stage. The second stage, tent stage, was just some 100m away, so you could have jumped stages within 3-5 minutes easily. To both sides of the infield you could find water closets as well, including hand basins and one shower for hot weather.

Food and Drink(s)


Not having tried the breakfast I can only talk about the infield stalls. The prices were fair and depending on what you desired you had a good selection of different tastes. There was also a wide selection of vegan/vegetarian food. At least from the looks, one stall stood out offering Afghan food. My buddies really enjoyed it.

Well, that’s a matter of taste, but I really loved having Guinness for a change beside black beer and pilsener. And there was also an Irish pub, where you could have whiskeys at fair prices in a real jar. Our highlight was the Cuba Libre bar.


The band and festival merchandise was sold in a stall near the main stage. From time to time it got a bit cramped in front of the stall, but the waiting time was still OK, compared to what I have seen elsewhere. The prices were fair too, festival zippers were at 45€.


Wheelie circle pit

Well, nothing else to be expected from metalheads, the people were really nice. But what I liked most, there were only a few crowdsurfers, except the show of Kataklysm, who encouraged the people to bring as many as the security could handle, and (almost) no weird costumes and gadgets. Also, driving off the campsite on Sunday worked in the best way it could due to the people being relaxed and letting you in the queue voluntarily. Someone said on social media that Party.San is more of a meeting of the music scene than a festival and I would back that. Naturally, fun and partying is part of a festival, but people came here primarily for the music and not just for a party weekend. At least that was my impression.


Main stage

They all were really nice and helpful, with one personal highlight. Being home now for a couple of days I miss the voice of the “Mistress of the Toilets” in the morning hour telling people to line up in three rows in front of the water closets and suggesting to the “courageous” women to use the urinal instead.


The artists seem to like the atmosphere at Party.San especially. Many acts asked for applause for the organizers of the festival. Some actually stayed on the campground for the whole weekend, watching the performances before and after their own show. Not having seen Atomwinter live before, I realized that I had seen the singer in the crowd the days before.



As I’ve mentioned before, the line-up this year was limited to “real” metal, nothing else. I like some fun stuff in between too, but this Party.San line-up was like going back to my youth, a lot of Death Metal. It was a pleasure to see Obituary and Hypocrisy having a headliner spot with an awesome sound, even if Peter could have been a bit louder, and not just in the afternoon. The sound, by the way, was really great in general. And it was fantastic to see many Death and some Black Metal bands, some of which I ‘ve never had the chance of seeing before, and all of them just one after the other. There is an overlap of the two stages, but, given the short way, you could easily see a good share of almost all the bands, if you have the stamina. The shows on the main stage usually end at around 01.00 AM, but that’s when the after show metal disco starts. And that one is also worth a visit.

Some very personal highlights:

  • Gatecreeper: A really good start in the Thursday; got the crowd moving right away
  • Nile: A bit short, due to technical issues at sound check, but technically a blast
  • Obituary: Finally – for me – a headliner spot; pure old school death metal
  • Be’lakor: Early in the day due to their next gig, but great show and lots of support from the numerous audience
  • Endseeker: Just back to the roots
  • Yoth Iria: Got there by chance; if you like Old School Black Metal really worth seeing
  • Dying Fetus: Absolutely killed it that night
  • Hypocrisy: As I mentioned, vocals were a bit low, still a fantastic show

  • Atomwinter: Opener on Saturday with Old School Death Metal sound from the 80s/90s; very nice guys and one of my favorites that weekend
  • The Night Eternal: Maybe the only real Heavy Metal band of the weekend; they ruled the tent stage
  • Borknagar: Hard to put this band in a place with such a variety of sounds, but they got all their sounds covered from the 90s Black Metal to Modern Progressive Metal.

Friend.X’ comment:

Wow, looks like this is a real alternative to all those large mainstream festivals with too long ways, too much bands, too much people, too much of everything, but a lack of real metal way of life. I’ve been to one of these large festivals just a weekend later and I honestly must confess, I believe, I would have felt more at home at Party.San. Let’s have a look what 2024 will bring in this case. The first bands are already confirmed, pre-sale will start by the 1st of September 2023:




Party.San Open Air

Please buy merch and physical music or downloads from the bands official sources and don’t stream it for free because it steals your artists’ income.

Text and original photos taken by DermimBoad

Editing by Friend.X aka Mr. Deep

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