Karmøygeddon, an introduction:
The Karmøygeddon Metal Festival is a relatively small event located in the west coast city of Kopervik, Norway. It takes place annually during the first week of May and marks the start of the festival season for me. The festival’s name and theme are well-suited to the history-heavy island of Karmøy, where Viking kings once lived, fought, and raided. Let’s find out if they truly live up to their slogan; A Friendlier Hell…
Proudly located in the city center, the festival’s towering portal decorated with Vikings serves as the entrance from the main street of Kopervik to the two stages, the bigger, main stage in the massive tent they set up each year and the smaller one inside the Ovenpaa night club and concert venue. Since both stages are for the most part sheltered from the rain, this is a mud and soaked-to-the-skin free festival, unless you fall asleep outside on your way home from partying too hard…
Personally, I prefer the smaller stage because it allows me to be close up to the bands and feel the intense energy of the crowd. It’s an intimate setting that enhances the impact of the performances, the bands engange with the audience and makes you feel part of the show.
Overall, Karmøygeddon is an impressive and well-organized event that celebrates the legacy of the Viking kings while delivering a high-quality metal experience to its attendees.
For many festival-goers, the most important aspect of any festival is the band line-up, and Karmøygeddon delivers a satisfying variety of bands from different genres, including black, death, heavy, and power metal. As someone who enjoys a diverse range of music, this festival is perfect for me. The contrast between the different styles of music makes me appreciate the darker and more extreme bands even more. This year’s festival featured powerful & mesmerizing performances by black metal acts such as Marduk, Saor, Rotting Christ, Evig Natt, Dold Vorde Ens Navn, Moonsorrow, Ved Buens Ende, Batushka and more…
Previous headliners at Karmøygeddon have included Enslaved, Kvelertak, Vreid (performing a special Windir 1184 set), Hypocrisy, Arch Enemy, Helloween, Satyricon, Amorphis, Emperor, and Dimmu Borgir. With the festival’s relatively small size in mind, with roughly 2000 metalheads in attendance, it is awesome to witness these amazing live acts up close and personal. I appreciate that I can get to the front row without being crushed at both stages.
Karmøygeddon is a highly renowned festival among both fans and artists, and it’s not uncommon to meet some of your favorite bands out in the crowd or in the outside sitting area. Everywhere I looked, I saw smiling metalheads hugging and laughing together. This sense of community and camaraderie is what makes Karmøygeddon such a special festival.
Some of this years highlights:
My favorite concerts of the festival were Rotting Christ and Marduk. Rotting Christ set the stage with the iconic cover art of Triarchy of the Lost Lovers. The crowd was eager for the band to come on stage, and they were roaring with horns up as Sakis walked smiling up on stage with the guitar on his neck. The energy of both the band and the crowd was amazing, and all heads were banging to the tunes, making this show unforgettable. The moshpit broke out almost as soon as the riffs started pounding us through the speakers.
Next up was Marduk, the band I was most looking forward to seeing, and they did not disappoint. They set the stage background with a huge Marduk banner, and I was ready to get my ears blown off by the crushing tank that is Marduk. The aggressive riffs and momentum were a refreshing blast after the atmospheric and heavy Batushka set.
There are several bars or serving areas throughout the festival, and all accept the festival’s cashless payment method. However, it’s worth noting that only the indoor bars in the building that holds the smaller stage serve drinks and shots. Here you’ll also find the excellent pizza restaurant which is a permanent fixture here. The outdoor serving area also offers simpler meals, although I often find myself at the local kebab shop which is conveniently located right outside the festival gates.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and socialize between sets, there are plenty of long tables located behind the crowd at the main stage. Here, you can enjoy a beer and chat with friends. This is also where you’ll find the merch market, offering an opportunity to support the bands you love and browse different stands from metal-related shops selling CDs, vinyl, shirts, coffee, fanzines, and more.
If you’re concerned about your hearing, (which you should be during 3 days of mayhem) fear not, free hearing protection is provided at several spots, which is incredibly helpful if you lose or forget your own. Overall, the festival’s bars and social areas offer a great atmosphere for metalheads to relax and enjoy themselves, with plenty of options to suit all tastes and preferences.
For festival accommodations, the festival has its own camp for those who travel with a caravan, RV, bus, or car & tent. The festival also has room for 15 boats in the harbor, but offers no reservation of these, so it’s first come, first served. The camp has easy access to food that is open certain hours of the festival, and toilets are also available. For everyone else, it’s either hotels or renting a flat in the area that is best for staying at Karmøygeddon. I, however, am lucky enough to live 15 minutes away by car from Kopervik and can enjoy my own bed after 12 hours of metal partying.
Overall, Karmøygeddon is an amazing festival that I highly recommend, especially for fans of Norwegian black metal who can experience acts from all over Norway in one place! But also, for fans of death metal, heavy metal, and everything in between! The atmosphere is fantastic, and the people are lovely. I can almost guarantee you’ll make new friends at this harbor city festival. The weather gods often grant the festival good weather too (at least by Norwegian standards). If you ever choose to make the trip you most likely will run into me and some of the other BMP family members as we will be attending Karmøygeddon for many years to come.
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Official festival photos: Gunnlaug Broshaug
Other photos: KingGorthaur