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Masterfest 2023: It's a wrap!

It's a wrap! After we celebrated the anniversary of our guitar school The Guitar Master in 2019 with the first edition of Masterfest, the second edition was disrupted by corona. For health reasons, another year was postponed, but then it was suddenly June 30 and Masterfest 2023 started: an edition with a two-day program to die for.

Friday June 30

The Dutch next-generation musicians of Changing Tides were allowed to open the Friday of Masterfest and the audience knew that: the Richter scale reached Three in the Netherlands. The album 'Impair the Vision' that was released last year was a creative bull's eye: at the same time extremely hard and endlessly original. The work also went very well live. In an hour we were treated to a dose of heavy deathcore and the circle pit was started during the first song. The band has shown Wateringen who they are.

We were able to relax for a moment at the merch table and food truck, but soon Hippotraktor entered the stage: perhaps the Masterfest sensation for many, because after their performance there was a rush for the merch. As an organization we were also told how special it was that we had brought this Belgian promise to Netherlands Three. The first song of the gig, 'Manifest The Mountain,' hit Masterfest like a hammer blow. In a split second there was a rush at the front. It just shows what charisma and experience singer Stefan (also known from Psychonaut) has. In 50 minutes we were sucked into a great show. Hippotraktor is the band to keep an eye on in the near future. Big thanks, guys!

Finally it was up to For I Am King to close the evening. With three albums under their belt, FIAK is a leader in the modern metal scene, a fresh band with young musicians who know what they are doing. This band needs no introduction for many, but there were people at Masterfest who had never seen these great guys live before and are now fans. Frontwoman Alma completely captivated everyone with her performance and with the band behind her there was maximum moshing, headbanging and air guitar playing. Time flew by and that was a shame, because we would have liked to hear a few more songs. We were probably not the only ones, because afterwards we saw a lot of happy people walking out the door wearing shirts.

Day 1 of Masterfest goes down as a success, with happy bands, audience and volunteers. Then of course we as an organization can't help but be happy!

Saturday, July 1

This was the big day for many students of guitar school The Guitar Master. After many weeks of preparation with practice and band coaching, it was suddenly Saturday afternoon and the first chords of The Beatles sounded through Nederland Three. Some students who performed with Square on Saturday gained stage experience for the first time during Masterfest. When you hear that the audience almost didn't believe that, you as a guitar teacher can only be proud. The playing of both Square itself and the students was of a very high level, but with band leader Wim and Suus from Square it could hardly be otherwise. The joy radiated from all faces during the first set and the shows were rock solid. Guitar school The Guitar Master is in favor of promoting new music, but of course the classics could not be missed this afternoon. Many well-known songs were played, from RHCP to Queen and from Nirvana to Oasis. It was truly a celebration of recognition, supported by Square, the band of the region. The enthusiastic audience joined in, danced along and applauded wildly until Jon Bon Jovi's closing song. The students can be very proud of what they have shown to the audience and of themselves: for most of them this was the first time on stage, a big step!

There was a lot of crowds between sets, because great prizes from Koch and Ibanez could be won at the pub quiz. The quiz was once again organized by Wim, the singer of Square. The questions were challenging and covered all corners of the musical spectrum, from 'what is the name of Chris Cornel's singer's band?' to 'what is the name of Coldplay's guitarist?' Ultimately, the first round was won by Kyan who had the most scored points and went home with a legendary TS808 Ibanez Tube Screamer. In the second round, where the Koch 63' OD pre-amp pedal and a Superlead pre-amp pedal could be won, Jelle was the big winner.

Then it was really time to rebuild everything for the bands that were already busy preparing behind the scenes. With three musicians and two great albums under their belt, the opening act of the evening, Beardvader, put on a show of a level that many bands could still appreciate. There was a wall of sound coming at us that we almost couldn't believe how good it was. No wonder that the band will soon be seen at Baroeg Open Air. The organization has known frontman Jelle from an early age. When you see how big he and his band have become, you can only be proud. This guitarist knows damn well what he is doing and that also applies to the rhythm section. A big compliment for this Westland, headline-worthy legend, keep an eye on them!

Black Mirrors has also gained many new fans since Masterfest. Of course we had known it for a while, but even we had no way of knowing that it would be such a success: the audience was unanimous in their praise for this great rock band. With the last album released last year, 'Tomorrow Will Be Without Us', Black Mirrors has taken the step to the next level and the band has grown in every respect. A recurring theme this edition of Masterfest was the power of strong front men and women. Just as was the case with Stefan from Hippotraktor, Jelle from Baardvader and Alma from For I Am King, what happened when Marcella from Black Mirrors started singing was simply magical. An hour was actually far too short, it was a special show to experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

At 9.30 pm it was up to Cobra the Impaler to shake up the room. The band won the hearts of many new fans during Masterfest, with Sam being the youngest fan who was even allowed on stage by the band. With a collection of bizarrely experienced and talented musicians, a debut album under their belt and several major festivals in their pocket, this cannot be otherwise. 'Colossal Gods', the first track of the set, hit like a bomb. Seasoned fans of the metal genre will have recognized Mastodon influences in the set. The young audience present was treated to a headbanging and crowd surfing course, an experience that will stay with them for a long time. Time flew by again and after the last burner had been turned on, it was high time for a refreshing drink at the bar of Drie.

Finally, it was time for the spectacular closing event of Masterfest 2023: Bizkit Park. It was fireworks in the most literal sense. What energy and level these very friendly Belgians had. The musicians know damn well what they are doing and everything was thought of: from the clothing to the decor. As a result, we as an audience also knew what we had to do: we partied like it was '99. All the nu-metal hits you can think of were featured in this tribute band's spectacular show. At Linkin' Park the sparkle powder reached the ceiling and Three rose to higher spheres. A song from System of a Down turned out to be a worthy final chord of #MF2023.

We look back on this edition with a big smile, and we hope you do too! We would like to thank all the bands, volunteers, sponsors, students and of course you, our wonderful, moshing and rocking audience for a great two days! Just want to reminisce? The photos are now on the website, thanks to Johan Sonneveld and Jasper Groothuizen!

Musical greetings,

Team Masterfest

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