Annual Rockwave Festival’s agenda gets harder and heavier by the year

Since its launch just over a decade ago, the annual summertime Rockwave Festival, initially dubbed Rock of Gods, has consistently reserved a solid chunk of its total offering for heavy metal acts. The multi-day event’s organizer, DiDi Music, knows well that in Greece, its many followers of this style of music are among the country’s most loyal. Judging by this year’s tentative agenda, which is still in the making, the festival’s organizer appears headed for even greater reliance on metal/hard rock’s drawing power in the local market. A death-defying species whose following is recyclable from one generation of rebel-minded teens to the next, this hard-hitting style and its various offshoots, while not necessarily creative, is being counted on to bring them all in during these testing times for the music industry, including its live circuit. After being introduced as an annual big-scale rock music event in the mid-90s, the Rockwave Festival quickly established itself as a highly anticipated summer highlight for most rock music fans. Over the years, the event has featured worthy clusters of admirable acts, including Portishead, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, PJ Harvey, REM, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In more recent times, however, the sense of anticipation felt by the wider public has waned as the event’s organizer increasingly implements its minimal-risk policy based on heavy metal’s exceptional popularity in Greece. All this said, this year’s bookings to date, include Black Sabbath with original singer Ozzy Osbourne on board, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Twisted Sister, Dio, Anthrax, Velvet Revolver – an offshoot of the crumbled supergroup Guns N’ Roses – and, hard rock/metal aside, electronica and occasional hardcore artist Moby, one of the country’s most frequent visiting acts over the past decade. This summer’s festival, a five-day event, will be held over two periods for the first time, beginning with three days between June 24-26 that will be followed by a second wave on July 8 and 9. Of the five days, three will be devoted to metal/hard rock, a sharp increase from the customary one day that most previous festivals have given it, out of three or four in total. But Rockwave’s traditional fans, those not interested in metal, still retain some hope of worthy bookings. To date, Moby stands as the only confirmed booking for June 26, meaning that some appreciable additions could emerge here. Opening day, featuring shock rocker Marilyn Manson, the self-proclaimed «Antichrist Superstar,» as the only booking so far, could – musically – head virtually anywhere considering this act’s all-round style that rakes in anything from goth-rock to pop. As for the festival’s other days, June 25 will be headlined by Black Sabbath, hard rock’s most legendary and influential act, with frontman Osbourne on board. Also on the bill are Velvet Revolver – a recently formed band that brought together ex-Guns N’ Roses bandmates Slash on guitar, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Matt Sorum – as well as Black Label Society and Wastefall. The metal onslaught will continue for the July 8 and 9 sessions, the festival’s final ones. Slayer will headline on July 8, with Accept, Candlemass, and Dismember also on the bill. The organizer plans to include more acts here. Twisted Sister will be the main act for the final night, which also features Dio, Anthrax, Katatonia and Zyklon. For the second year running, the Rockwave Festival will be held at Terravibe, a venue on the outskirts of Athens, 37 kilometers along the Athens-Lamia national highway. Tickets for the five-day event are now on sale at Ticket House in Athens (42 Panepistimiou St, within the arcade, tel 210.360.8366) and Ticket House in Thessaloniki (20 Ethnikis Amynis & Tsimiski, tel 2310.253630). For further information and updates:

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