PUNK ROCK HOLIDAY 1.6, TOLMIN, SLOVENIA

DAY 2

The second official day of the festival was unique in its own right. The side effect of having so many people from the UK finally reared its ugly head. Torrential rains hit the area at around 11 p.m. the previous day, right in the middle of The Bouncing Souls’ performance, and did not stop until 2 or 3 p.m.

Punky Styley was given a change to play some music down at the beach stage after the Descendents show. Despite the rain and the cold many brave beings kept partying late into the night, running and jumping in front of the stage. It was obvious most of them weren’t just drunk. They had these unnatural, almost demonic eyes that stared at you even though they stood in the cold pouring rain. I noticed a huge increase of people on molly and ecstasy this year, which I believe, is also due to the the huge increase of British people coming down south to party because it’s cheap. If you’ve ever been to any festival in Croatia organized by the British, you know many only come down here to take drugs, and I definitely did not see this many drugged up people at Punk Rock Holiday.

A friend from Brazil I made at the festival shoots the Descendents show from under a window sill

I’ve never experienced anything like it here in Tolmin. The camp was dead quiet the whole night and morning, all you could hear was the rain and storm that was battering everything around you. I can only be thankful the tent I rented from a dear friend of mine didn’t let any water through, because the weather was gloomy all day and there was no way in hell you could dry your belongings. Thank god I prepared and had proper clothing. It was getting close to noon when I could no longer wait in my tent for the rain to stop. One step out of the tent and my feet were completely soaked. Everything was underwater. One of the guys from our circle had to spend the night sleeping on two chairs, wrapped in his sleeping bag under a plastic garden gazebo that we’ve set up. I looked at his tent and found it was standing in 6 inches of water. Needles to say, this was his last day with us. Not like you really have a choice in such a case. Another amigo slept in his car the next two nights and skadoodled on Friday, a day early. Another got so high on some peculiar drugs we never saw him again. I believe he found a ride and also went back home.

Yeah, rain sure knows how to poop a party. As I waded through the camping site it all seemed like a bad joke. Everything was dead and wet and cold. Huge muddy puddles everywhere. Much like during the Rasputitsa, the road turned into streams of 10-inch mud that could stop a tank. Now imagine 90% of the people attending the festival were wearing plain old sneakers and camping in those lousy pop-up tents that need no more that a little piss to get drenched. God rest their souls.

The newly-extended camping site submerged in water

So yesterday I described a standard routine supply trek, and today I’m gonna describe an emergency one. First, you need to get to the town. You’ll get completely soaked and covered in mud, but it’s the only way if you wanna survive the rest of the week. You can buy rubber boots at the Mercator shopping mall for 15 €. Wait for the rain to stop, then haul your ass back and change into dry clothing. Honestly, that probably was the best investment I made at the festival. For the next two days the boots were a godsend as I could move around while keeping my feet warm and dry.

The beach area was “out-of-order” the whole day, with an unprecedented water level and texture. I do not remember anything like it at PRH. The crystal clear Soča and Tolminka rivers turned into threatening-looking brownish-gray torrents. Although the rain stopped at around 3 p.m., the rivers took a day off and did not return to normal until the next day, when the weather finally improved.

The previous day
Far from the usual idyllic sight
Anybody care for a swim?

NOFX

But, at least we got to see NOFX in the evening, right? Meh. To be completely honest, every time I see them is worse than the last. They decided they were in a rush, so they insisted on playing an hour or two earlier than planned, skipping Agnostic Front on the line-up, which without doubt was not known to everyone at the festival. And you could definitely feel they were in a rush as they played their set:

  • Kill All the White Man
  • Moron Bros
  • Murder the Government
  • Brews
  • 72 Hookers
  • Quart in Session
  • Six Years On Dope
  • Radio
  • Idiots Are Taking Over
  • Stickin’ In My Eye
  • The Man I Killed
  • Mattersville
  • I’m Telling Tim
  • Instant Crassic
  • Cant Get the Stink Out
  • Making Fun of Sloveniaaa
  • Secret Society
  • Seeing Double at the Triple Rock
  • Eat the Meek
  • Herojuana
  • Fuck the Kids
  • Linoleum
  • Champs Elysees
  • Franco Unamerican
  • Theme From a NOFX Album

Now I could rant all day how NOFX are the single most overrated punk band, but since I always only get ignorant butt-hurt far-fetched replies from “hardcore” fans, I do not see a reason to do so. I’ll only let out a fart.

It’s painfully obvious that this is a selfish, sub-par set list, even for NOFX standards. Yeah, I’m going to listen to an asshole who smells his own butt during his performance talk to me about what is right in this world and what is not, and in the process make fun of everything that is not considered cool by him. If they cared for their fans, who pay for their lifestyle by the way, they would not behave this arrogantly towards them. They would show at least a glimmer of thankfulness and they would play their best music for them. The ego of the band that is NOFX has never seized to amaze me. I mean, suburban kids singing about how it’s their job to keep punk rock elite? The duality is so painfully obvious — they sing about fighting ignorance and racism, they promote respect and whatnot, but at the same time they make acting racist towards racists, being ignorant towards the ignorant and hating stuff seem fun and okay. Of course, the average fan will only take in the latter side, as if it is all fun and games and worship them as some kind of geniuses for being witty. The way I see it, NOFX are acting no different than well-paid entertainers, who feel like it’s cool to “be on the right side, but not really”. It’s just gotten old. I believe if they would have stuck to making music for the sake of music instead of getting so full of ideals, they would make much better records. Not that their stuff sucks now, it is however very average. The older, 90's albums, which I feel were rawer and had a more relaxed vibe, prove there is so much potential. I don’t think that potential has been used up so far. They made some excellent music from time to time, it a shame they only played a little piece of it this time. Because when they do, it’s at least fun.

Primož Belak