Clayton’s Corner: Experiencing the ‘Matapaloz Festival’ Firsthand [PHOTOS]
My friend Jochen Auer is the owner and creator of the Austria’s Wildstyle and Tattoo Messe show, which started in 1995. I have been involved since the beginning.
This year, Jochen was invited to create an El Barrio Village at the Matapaloz Festival. The major focus of the Festival is the German band BÖHSE ONKELZ (“Bad Uncle” in English). I had never heard of BÖHSE ONKELZ, so I asked many music people back in NYC, and almost nobody knew of them. Total opposite in Austria and Germany. Everyone knows the band. A few years ago they reunited after a 15-year separation and 150,000 people showed up at the reunion show. The warm-up bands included Slayer, Anthrax, and Five finger Death Punch.
The Matapaloz Festival, for me, was an epic adventure. An almost mystical experience filled with learning. I was introduced to new ideas to explore and connected with a number of creative individuals; but the zenith, the highest-point, what inspired me the most, was being there when BÖHSE ONKELZ played. All their songs are in German, yet I understand no German. But. Wow! Now I get it. I caught the passion, the vibe, the spirit. Such loyal fans and, for many, singing along, it almost seemed like they were having a religious experience. There were people as far as I could see. Someone mentioned 140,000 people migrated through the space over the 2 days.
With the exception of staying for the whole BÖHSE ONKELZ 2-and-a-half hour performance, the majority of my time was spent documenting and doing my thing in El Barrio Village. No question Jochen’s Wildstyle and Tattoo Messe show is one of the top entertainment shows in Europe. Since he started a traveling European Food Festival, his Festival consistently ranks at the top. Some weekends break 30,000 visitors.
But the Matapaloz Festival is a different animal, and because of the large size scale of his vision and time constraints, a kind of construction he was unfamiliar with, many new problems to solve and obstacles to overcome, I knew he would have to push himself and his crew even harder. As it is, he works around the clock, and his crew, is never too far behind. However, as always, he pulled it off with no problems or stress being seen by the public.
A city planner would be impressed with how he utilized the space and transformed his large chunk of land into El Barrio. The public was offered a variety of quality food, which included unique tasty prices fit to every persons budget, and served in customized vehicles, The use of the metal containers as architectural structures was a brilliant move. I was fascinated how he used light to set the mood and look of El Barrio. During the day, the rustic containers, gave the impression one was walking around in a Mad Max movie. At night, El Barrio, with the use of lights, was transformed into a completely different space. The way the containers and the spaces were lit built the impression of a futuristic village on a Hollywood set. His feed the troops kitchen, a complete set up, which catered hundreds of restaurant quality home cooked tasting meals. The wide range of food choices, including meat, vegetables, noodles, soups, choice of pastry deserts, fresh fruit, coffee – espresso – cappuccino and many specialty coffee and tea choices. The entertainment was all world-class acts. The stage, the design, the decoration, the backdrop lite screen with a the digital images, which worked with the acts, the music, and sound, all without problems. Yes, he really pulled off a miracle.
And I had the opportunity to document the weekend activities. A good time was had by all.