Mystic Festival 2023 Review and Photos

Our writer and photographer Murat Cihangir traveled, photographed and wrote for you. Here are Murat's interpretations of MYSTIC FESTIVAL 2023 in Gdansk, Poland from his pen and shutter!

Plans, and plans, and plans…

I wanted to write something about Mystic Festival, which I attended about a month ago and before it was completely erased from my memory (actually, I like to take notes, but unfortunately I didn’t have much opportunity because of the hustle and bustle in such organizations).

As I do before every festival, the process of dreaming, planning, deciding, and implementing took almost two summers for Mystic Festival. First of all, the fact that the inflation rate is over 100% (I talk about it more or less in every article, don’t condemn it) unfortunately causes the design and implementation phases to be extremely prolonged in recent years. It seems inevitable that these times will increase even more in the coming months. ( the economist with few followers on Twitter mode off)

Leaving aside the issue of “the effects of the country’s economy on a music lover” and going back to the Mystic Festival, it is an organization that has been held in the beautiful port city of Gdansk in Poland since 2019, with the number of audience and bands increasing every year. This year I attended this four-day event with more than ninety bands on five stages on behalf of Extreminal Metal Magazine.

Mystic Festival 2023
Mystic Festival 2023

Does Poland Require a Visa? What is the Latest Situation?

Poland is a country in the Schengen area that applies visa to Türkiye, as most countries in the world do, and most people have had nightmares about getting a visa in recent years. In 2022, Poland’s Schengen visa application rejection rate was around 17%, and it is estimated that this rate will increase even more in 2023. Nevertheless, it is important for the applicants not to look at this situation and get depressed for the sake of the process and not to get stressed.

After all the depressing information I have mentioned in the above two paragraphs, assuming that everything is ready and going well, we can pack our backpacks and start the process of getting on the road. There are direct flights to Warsaw via Istanbul or Antalya, but I recommend you use the Antalya option as it is more affordable.

Varşova Sokakları
Frederic Chopin Havaalanı Varşova

How to get from Fredric Chopin Airport to Warsaw City Center

After a journey of about three hours, we land at the airport named after Frederic Chopin, one of the most important classical music composers of the world. After passport control, baggage, etc. procedures, we have a few options to reach the city center from the airport, which is about 15 km outside the city.

The first and most affordable one is the buses numbered 148, 175, 188, 331, 331, and N2, which are just opposite the Terminal 2 gate. You can reach the city center in about 30-40 minutes with these buses, which depart every 15 minutes on average. You can buy tickets for public transportation from ticket vending machines at the bus stops (I couldn’t use them because I got lost in the menus), apps on your phone, or kiosks for 3.4 zloty. One thing to remember: when you use public transport, you need to activate your tickets by scanning the QR code inside the vehicle if you bought them from the app, or physically at the machines in the public transport if you bought them physically. Of course, we don’t want to be fined hundreds of zlotys during a random check. By the way, I forgot to mention that even though the country is part of the Eurozone, its currency is the zloty and 1 zloty is worth 6.4 TL as of today. Another transportation option to the city center is taxi applications such as Bolt, Uber, and Opti. Depending on the intensity of demand, you can reach the city center with prices ranging between 60-80 zloty. Another option is to use the train station under the Terminal A building.

Varşova'da Bir Toplu Taşıma Aracı
Aziz John Katedrali

Let’s Visit the City Center

After reaching the city center, I recommend at least two full days to see this beautiful city, 80% of which was destroyed in the Second World War and rebuilt in its original form. The Royal Road leading to the Old Town, St. John’s Basilica where the coronation ceremonies of Polish kings were held, the Barbican with Warsaw’s gateway and city walls, the Saxon Garden with its beautiful pond, the Cultural and Scientific Center, built during the Stalin era, which was the tallest building in the city for many years and has a strange story to tell (a subject of research for the curious), The museum house of Chopin, one of the world’s most important composers, the museum house of Marie Curie, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the only person to receive two Nobel Prizes in two different fields, the Uprising Museum commemorating the Warsaw Uprising, which Roman Polanski, himself a Pole and a concentration camp survivor, touched upon in his movie The Pianist. I can also say that the Royal Road and the Old Town under the lights at night are especially beautiful.

Varşova Eski Şehir Pazar Alanı

How to get from Warsaw to Gdansk?

To give some information about transportation to Gdansk, where the festival will take place: The distance between Warsaw and Gdansk is about 350 km and the most convenient way to get there is by train. 1 Class luxury (!) wagon ticket (with a free menu consisting of croissants, cake or salad, and a drink) cost around 270 zloty, while 2 Class standard wagon tickets cost around 170 zloty. You can buy tickets online or at our first stop, Warsaw Centralna Station. After a journey of about 3 hours, Gdansk Glowny station is our last stop. The distance between the train station and the festival site is about 2 km. There are various options for participants, such as camping sites or hotels, hostels, and Airbnb in the city center. Considering the high number of participants, it is essential to book in advance.

Gdansk Şehir Merkezi

What is Gdansk aka DANZIG like?

Let’s talk a little bit about the city formerly known as Danzig and now called Gdansk: It is a much quieter city compared to Warsaw (there was hardly anyone on the streets after 10 pm), right next to the Baltic Sea, with about 600 thousand inhabitants.

I can say that the prices of food and beverage, accommodation, and transportation are a bit more affordable than in the capital. For those who have the opportunity before the festival, I think one day will be enough to explore. Dlugi Targ (Long Market), which we can call the center of the city, the Golden and Green Gates at the entrance and exit points of the Long Market, the Church of St. Mary (I recommend those who want to see the city from the top and are in training to climb the 480 stairs to the bell tower), Gdansk National Museum are among the places to see. You can also see and buy various ornaments made of amber special to Gdansk, the amber capital of the world, on the street right next to St. Mary’s Church.


Should we talk a bit about the festival?

As I mentioned above, Mystic Festival took place this year with five stages, more than ninety bands, and thousands of music lovers filling the Gdansk Shipyard. Ghost, Danzig, and Gojira were the headliners of three days respectively, while a fourth day called warm-up was added as “let’s warm up a bit”. The heavyweight of that day was Phil Campbell and his band, who we are familiar with from Motörhead.

The Main Stage and the Park Stage, a smaller stage right next to it, the Desert Stage where mostly local bands took the stage, The Shrine Stage, which is an indoor venue, and the smallest stage Sabbath Stage, which is also indoor, hosted many bands. The first day of the festival called warm-up, was less attended because it was the middle of the week and relatively big bands took the stage on other days. I can say that it was the most comfortable day for me, I was able to watch and photograph all the bands without missing almost any concert.

Mystic festival yerleşkesi krokisi

Warm Up Day

In the first hours of Warm Up Day, I had the chance to see Drown My Day, R.I.P, and Undeath, all Polish bands. The best of them was R.I.P, a thrash band consisting of brilliant youngsters. Then Defleshed, the second most sympathetic band of the day from Sweden took the stage. (There is a prejudice about Scandinavians that they are very cold) I think many people who wanted to listen to death metal filled The Shrine stage and we were watching the most crowded concert up to that time. After taking photos and some video recordings, I managed to watch Defleshed until the end regardless of the non-working air conditioning (this problem continued on the other days as well). I can say that it was the best performance of the day.


Warm-Up Day really warmed us up quickly!

The Shrine, Sabbath, and Desert Stage being next to each other and being able to move from one aisle to the other was a great convenience, and I think that the attendees got maximum enjoyment with minimum effort, thanks to the sound insulation and the sound system being very good in the concerts that took place on both stages at the same time.

I had a two-hour window of time to wait for the next band, Deströyer 666, so as an investigative photographer I took advantage of it by walking around and taking photos. On the way to the main stage, there were stands left and right where you could buy the official merch of the festival and the bands. All purchases had to be made with a credit card as cash was not allowed. Official festival and band t-shirts cost around 100 zloty, while various CDs, cassettes, and records were on sale starting from 20-30 zloty and going up to 200 zloty. Unfortunately, there was not much choice in terms of food and drink. Beer was 15-20 zloty, pizza slices were 35-40 zloty, chicken doner kebabs were around 30 zloty, and fountains with unlimited drinking water were at the service of the participants at the entrance of the area where the indoor stages were located.

Destöyer 666 was the fourth band of the day for me. For some reason the number “666” always makes me think of a black metal band in the darkest sense, but the band was very energetic and harmonious on stage and they didn’t forget to pose for my camera. As in Defleshed, they played to a large crowd. After Destöyer 666 left the stage, I caught up with Ne Obliviscaris who were just finishing their soundcheck on the opposite stage. About ten photographers were in a mad rush to get the best shots in the tiny space allocated to us, which was arranged like an obstacle course. “Excuse me, sorry” in English and Polish were flying through the air as we bumped into each other or saw that we were blocking someone taking a photo. This situation ended on the third day of the festival when the organization expanded the space allocated to us in order not to be reported as “a mad photographer terrorized with his camera”. I think Ne Obliviscaris was the band that was given the wrong stage and time of the day. On a small stage like Desert, they played to an audience so dense that they completely blocked the roads. Especially violinist and vocalist Tim Charles was very good on stage, with vocals and violin alone.


Take a Little Break and Then Go Back

After Ne Obliviscaris, we started to wait for Phil Campbell and Bastard Sons who took the stage at The Shrine Stage. When Phil Campbell and his kids took the stage, naturally all cameras and eyes were on Phil Campbell. He often threw himself behind the stage as if to say, “Don’t let it go to waste, watch them for a while”. Iron Fist, Damage Case, Stay Clean, Stay Clean, Kill by Death and the indispensable Ace of Spades, performed most of the classic Motörhead songs and gave us a nice nostalgia night. The only overlapping concert of the day with Phil Campbell and Bastard Sons was Akhlys. I told Phil Campbell to excuse me and went to see the band at the Sabbath Stage next door. I think Akhlys was the only concert of the day that had sound problems. Besides, with the long intros, repetitive riffs, and tiredness from running around all day long, I couldn’t spend much time with the band and left myself on an empty bench.

After a break, it was the turn of the Polish black/thrash band Witchmaster, who was announced to give a concert in our country before the pandemic but canceled at the last minute. For Witchmaster; I can say that it was the second-best performance of the day among the bands I saw. In accordance with the band’s ferocious and destructive performance, there was still all kinds of action in the mosh pit despite the time being past midnight and the hustle and bustle of the day. After Witchmaster, it was already 1:00 a.m. and I spent the last bits of energy I had left by watching Au Dessus, a post-black metal band from Lithuania. By the time I got home at the end of the first day, around 3:00 a.m., I had a camera and a body that had run out of battery from taking photos and running between stages.


Day 1 (Ghosts Everywhere)

I’m in the situation of “I can’t wake up in the morning without a cup of coffee”, a situation I don’t experience very often. After drinking two cups of coffee, it was time to make the schedule for the actual start day. Although I first tried to solve this with pen and paper, I have to thank the team who designed and made available the Mystic Festival app, which I often used during the festival and made my job much easier. It allowed us to follow the festival program, information about the bands, and breaking news.

The first band of the day was Orbit Culture from Sweden, which I had never listened to before (not counting the pre-festival Spotify). Playing melodic death metal with groove sauce, it was interesting that I overlooked the band until now. Saying that fans of the genre should give them a chance, I’ll move on to the most annoying event of the festival for most people. Lord of the Lost’s concert, which was supposed to take place on the Main Stage at 16:00, was canceled because the stage could not be set up on time and the deficiencies could not be fixed. With the organization not informing about the issue on Facebook and the app on time, the main stage not being opened until 17:30, and the extremely hot weather added to the meters-long queue on the road, the reactions increased and increased. Lord of the Lost was canceled, so at least Testament, the next band on the main stage, shouldn’t be canceled, so I went back to The Shrine stage to watch the metalcore band Nothing More, even though they are not my style. Although they didn’t appeal to me, I can say that they were very successful with their stage show, communication with the audience, and energy. Moreover, the vocalist must have won the hearts of many young girls by painting his muscular and naked body blood red and performing acrobatic moves on stage.

Chuck Billy - Testament

Testament is not to be missed

When I rushed to the front of the stage to get a good spot on the Main Stage, which was about 600-700 meters away, I saw that the space allocated for photographers and press was not enough for a single person to walk, let alone to get a good shot. There was no way that a press group of about 30-40 people could work in that narrow space, and that was indeed the case. We left the venue without being able to work efficiently in the three-part photo-taking and video-taking window we were given. However, Chuck Billy and his team were killing it on stage. Chuck, who recently celebrated his 61st birthday, seemed to say that he would take many young people out of his jacket pocket and even said “Look, I’m taking out a pen with them as a souvenir” and distributed plenty of pena to the people in front of the stage.

Behemoth met the audience!

After Testament, another heavyweight of the day was Behemoth, who took the stage with the advantage of their own field and audience. Nergal, who was merrily touring the festival area on an electric scooter during the day, was now reading the lyrics of Post-God Nirvana, which they had chosen as an intro, through the white curtain and fog stretched on the stage. Accompanied by an abundant fire, fog, and light show, they rocked the audience with a setlist that lasted more than an hour with their last two albums. I reluctantly left Behemoth, the last fifteen minutes of which overlapped with Bloodbath, and headed towards The Shrine stage (one is surprised to realize that the total of my running around during the festival was around 70 km). Bloodbath was on stage for about an hour with a setlist that was a mix of their old and new albums. They left the stage without much dialog, playing non-stop.


Ghost Madness

Right after Bloodbath, Icelandic black metal band Nyrst was on the side stage until Ghost, the headliner of the day. Although I wasn’t expecting much, I took my place in front of the stage to have a look and take some nice photos. They came on stage with uncanny melodies and fog, looking like something out of a zombie movie. That day, when every second person was wearing a Ghost t-shirt and Pope Emeritus makeup, and the girls were running to the front of the stage in nun costumes, Nyrst told the few people present that this is how black metal is done. I saw that Nyrst is one of the Icelandic bands like Svartidaudi and Misthyrming, whose names are hard to write but who have been doing quality work in recent years.

And as I mentioned above, today was not the second day of the festival but Ghost Day. Junior Pope Emerituses and young girls dressed as nuns were everywhere. The main stage was packed, even in front of the TV that was broadcasting the stage live in the catering section. After the disaster in front of the stage during the day (the area reserved for the press was still wide enough for one person to pass through), I thought it would be more logical to mingle with Ghost fans and watch the concert. We watched Ghost on stage for almost two hours with a setlist based on their last two albums Impera and Prequelle. Unfortunately, I left Ghost in 2015 when they were not so popular when they were making darker, more psychedelic songs. Still, it was nice to stay until the end (it was impossible to leave the venue among thousands of people) and listen to the songs from their first two albums live.

Ghost Photo Credit: Mystic Festival Official Page

The Night is Over with Moonspell and Sylvaine

Right after Ghost, there were two bands we recently hosted in our country. Sylvaine and Moonspell, who started at the same time. After photographing Moonspell, who I meet every six months, sometimes in Turkey and sometimes abroad, during the three pieces of time allowed for photography, I went to the opposite stage to watch Sylvaine’s acoustic performance.

She and her guitarist were like a medicine for the tiredness of the day with their peaceful melodies and I ended the day by saying that I hope we can watch this wonderful acoustic performance, which lasted only 45 minutes, in our country in the near future.


Day 2 (Swedes Day)

The second day of the festival started for me with In Twilight’s Embrace, a Polish black metal band that was added to the festival at the Park stage. After the photo shoot, I took my seat to watch Kanonenfieber, a black-death metal band I was looking forward to. Actually, on the warm up day we were supposed to watch 1914, another WWI themed band. However, due to the Ukrainian government’s decision, the 1914 concert was canceled at the last minute along with Hell:ON and Season Of Melancholy who couldn’t leave their country. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to see them for the second time after their homeland. Kanonenfieber put the audience in the mood with their military uniforms, barbed wire, sandbags piled in front of the stage and the sounds of propaganda records that I think were used during the world war, which they often used as intros in their songs. Even though it seemed a bit out of place, pogos and wall of deaths were not missing. Towards the end of the concert, with the pine trees they brought on stage, the snowflakes they scattered over the stage and the shell shock effect of the soloist’s soldier performance, I think they made a reference to the Battle of Verdun. Even though the band was only formed three years ago, I have no doubt that we will hear more of them in the future.


The next band after Kanonenfieber was Soen, who will be coming to our country this fall. After Istanbul and Ankara, our third encounter was in Poland (I think it will be the fourth in the fall). They played three songs each from Imperial and Lotus, which I like very much, and left the stage with sighs that I wish they had stayed on stage a little longer.

After Soen, I took the one-hour break until Dismember as a break for eating and drinking, and resting (since my military service, the times when I look for sleep and rest the most are always at festivals). On the second day, when the attendance was a little less than the previous day, the queue for food and drinks was correspondingly shorter. Fortunately, I was able to grab my food and drink and run away without being exposed to a heavy fish smell that I couldn’t guess from which stand near the main stage. I also had the opportunity to see the press tent allocated to us for the first time that day. Charging stations, a water dispenser, a coffee machine, a table, and a chair might seem like ordinary things in normal days, but in a festival environment like this, they are vital, like an oasis in the desert. The sun loungers at the back of the tent offered those who were exhausted from running around a chance to fall asleep to the lullaby-like melodies of the band on stage.


It’s time for Dismember!

As the app alerted me that it was time to take the stage for Dismember, I took my place in the area allocated to us. In front of the stage were Dismember fans who had grabbed their flags and pennants like fans who had come all the way from Sweden to support their team. In response to this sacrifice, the band frequently greeted them and handed out penknives. As Dismember started their first song, the Park Stage was literally, not figuratively, in dust. It was almost impossible to see a soul in the mosh pit, and the band kept the fire going and going, I lost count of how many walls of death there were. It was the best and most energetic concert of the day.

Another death metal band of the day was Grave, also from Sweden. I skipped The Hellacopters, a rock band from Sweden, which started at the same time but which I didn’t listen to much, and as expected, I watched and photographed Grave for 45 minutes. The organization must have guessed that death metal fans would be exhausted from the effort they spent because the program showed a 45-minute break, so I laid down on one of the sun loungers I found empty in the press tent to listen for a while. While I was lying on the sun lounger listening to the melodies of The Hellacopters coming from far away, someone who saw me might have thought “I must be on vacation”, but there was no one around to massage my sore shoulder from carrying a camera all day long and my tropical drink with a mini beach umbrella attached to it was missing.

Need to “Electrify” the Atmosphere

On the same stage where Dismember was kicking up dust, there was Electric Wizard, which I saw four years ago in Brutal Assault, which made me think that I was hallucinating, whether it was because I was dying of exhaustion in the middle of the night, or because of the effects of three hours of sleep a day, music or alcohol. When Black Mass started to play those ominous and haunting melodies again, I thought that maybe the combination of Czech beers and lack of sleep had that effect on the body. Otherwise, Electric Wizard was playing beautiful music. After about 45 minutes of watching the band, I took quick steps towards one of the closed stages, The Shrine, to see Carpathian Forest, another band I had to see, and to warm up a bit because it was already dusk and the weather was getting colder than I expected in June.


Carpathian Forest, Lucifer, Danzig …

Carpathian Forest, on the other hand, gave a performance that I can say I’ve warmed up a little bit. Especially, I think Nattefrost had a really bad day. He was often off-key, trying to scream out of nowhere, etc. Without wasting any more time with Carpathian, I went to the opposite stage to watch the occult rock band Lucifer, who had just finished their first song. They say that when things go wrong, one’s teeth break while eating custard, and this time Lucifer, one of my favorite bands, wasted about 15 minutes of their 45-minute set due to sound problems. With the hard work of the technical team, they were able to play a few more songs after the problem was fixed.

Next, it was time to listen to Danzig at Danzig. Glenn Danzig, the man behind the punk legend Misfits, can only be seen in a handful of concerts a year, and it was a great chance that Mystic Festival was one of them. They played the entire album on the two giant screens on the stage under the skull, which is also Danzig’s logo and also the cover of the first album, and we were enchanted. It was a special moment for me to see a living legend, who is in his seventies but hasn’t lost anything from the punk spirit of the 70s and 80s (I felt the same way about Robert Plant, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and, don’t laugh, Erkin Koray concerts).

Lucifer Band

Now it’s Watain’s turn

After finishing the Danzig concert, the last concert of the night was Watain, also from Sweden, with a stage arrangement that was finished with a lot of effort. With red lighting, burning torches, candles, icons, inverted crosses, pennants, and skulls, it was more like a set from a movie than a stage (those who have seen Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom can picture it in their minds). In fact, many of those who were there to take photos and videos, including me, and those in front of the stage must have had the question “What will happen to us this time” in their minds while watching Watain, a band with a history of incidents. While we were thinking that they wouldn’t try the classic Watain shows like spraying blood on the audience, throwing torches, etc. on us this time, Erik appeared in the fog with a torch in his hand. He made a short speech and threw the torch at the audience one of the audience members caught it with ninja skills and nobody got hurt at least for this time, but this time the burning part of the torch fell into a pile of cables and after a short panic the fire was extinguished before it grew. When you see Watain up close, which I was only able to see once in the tiny venue and overcrowded crowd when they came to Istanbul, you realize more clearly that this is a band that really does it right. The stage decoration that lasted for hours, the effort that Erik, who didn’t stop for a moment, put in, the vocals that tore his throat, the way the other band members harmonized with him… (my favorite member Alvaro Lillo, who managed to look so scary with minimum effort, was also very good)

After Watain, I had just finished a day in which I saw maybe more Swedish bands than at a festival in Sweden, and I was thinking that I could rest a bit more than I had planned for the next day, seeing that it was less hectic.


Day 3 (Tired but Happy)

I opened the last day at around 17:00 with Wolfheart, who we met at festivals abroad in the hope that they would finally come to our country and this time it wouldn’t be canceled. I photographed the band a bit because I had seen them recently and then went to The Shrine stage for Djevel, which I said I had to see.

Yes, the bands I said I had to see kept making me regret it. The problem this time was that we couldn’t see anything because of the fog that started to cover the stage and the inside of the hall. Seeing that the fog seemed to dissipate, the person in charge was relentlessly giving us fog. At one point, I thought I saw a band doing corpse paint through the fog, but I wasn’t sure if it was Djevel or if I was imagining things. I made my way through the crowd and through the fog to watch Lili Refrain, a one-man pagan-folk music performance that was about to start in the next hall. From the Wardruna and Heilung concerts, I saw years ago to the Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which I love and whose sequel will be released soon.

Lili Refrain

I watched some dark, some sad scenes

Our next show was Naige’s Alcest, who evolved into modern dervishes in my opinion with their clothes and demeanor. It was one of the concerts that I watched to the end at the expense of missing the first 15 minutes of Darkher, which I’ve been listening to a lot lately. I think it was a wrong decision to give a quality band like Alcest, which has so many followers, only 45 minutes of time in the early hours of the day. It would have been more appropriate for them to play a little later on the main stage. They played eight songs, mainly their latest album Spiritual Instinct and left the stage.

Next up was Darkher, Jayn Maiven’s one-man project that blends doom, gothic and folk genres and does great work, the first 15 minutes of which I missed. The band (the drummer was also on stage) played a total of nine tracks from their two albums Realms and Buried Storm (it’s a pity I couldn’t listen to the first 4 tracks, take it or leave it organization) and it was the best 30 minutes of the last day.


Dark Angel Takes the Stage

On the main stage, the thrash band of years Dark Angel had finished their preparations and were waiting for their turn (I still think that they should replace Alcest in terms of time and stage) The issue of the space allocated for the press, both on the main stage and on the other stages, which gave the press team a tormented time for the first three days, seemed to have been resolved by the last day and the area had been expanded more than I expected. In order to get a better shot of the bands, those who took advantage of the expanded area grabbed their mini folding ladders and stools and took their places in front of the stage. After saying goodbye to Dark Angel, who finished their 75-minute allotted time, we were all left holding our hands when we found out that the band I was going to watch at Park Stage as a “Bleed Mushuggahian” did not allow photography and video recording. After listening to a few songs, there were Antimatter at Sabbath Stage and Sleep Token, which I went to watch just out of curiosity with their costume, which I thought was inspired by manga characters.

Dark Angel

Gojira Gave Me a Pose!

First of all, if I have to talk about Sleep Token; they are really an amazing band in terms of the use of light and the stage costumes of the band members. The team behind the band is also very professional as far as I can see from the front of the stage, but I don’t know which category to put the band in. If I say progressive metal, not really, I guess it’s post-rock+metal with a little pop and indie sauce on alternative rock. I think especially those who are sympathetic to anime manga culture and cosplay have already added them to their playlists, I think they will be a band that will make a much bigger name for itself in the coming years, considering the number of Spotify and youtube listens and the interest shown by young people. Afterward, I went to see Antimatter, a band consisting of former Anathema members, which is the place for us, dinosaur metalheads. Interestingly, the attendance was very low. I guess it was the effect of young people going to Sleep Token and middle-aged people going to Gojira to get a seat in front of the stage. As the only photographer taking pictures of the band, they posed for me, and at the end of the concert, I happily went to the main stage to watch Gojira, the headliner of the day.

Just like the first day of the festival was Ghost Day, today was Gorija Day. I almost saw a Gojira t-shirt on every second person. In 2014 and 2015, I was going to see Gojira, who I still couldn’t believe how they came to our country two years in a row, for the third time in Poland. Although not as big as Ghost, a big crowd had gathered in the area. They opened with Born for One Thing accompanied by Mario’s thunderous drums. The reason why the security guards kept warning us to go back while taking photos became clear in the following minutes. The flamethrowers that had only been used by Behemoth until then were now working for Gojira. Accompanied by the instant flashes of the flamethrowers that warmed our faces, we were only allowed to take photos and record videos for two pieces. When the time ran out and we were ushered out, I stood on wooden pallets stacked in a corner of the press tent I had discovered at The Hellacopters concert that day and continued to watch Gojira from a not-bad angle.


The Festival Ends with Unleashed and Perturbator!

Towards the end of the concert, it was getting colder and the wind was going to say that it would be nice to go home, take a hot shower, and rest. According to the program, there were Unleashed and Perturbator concerts that I had seen before. I put my plan into action, thinking that I would first watch Unleashed indoors, warm up and then see Perturbator at the Park stage and then head home. My plan was working like clockwork, but now my whole body was giving me s.o.s, especially my feet. After singing along to the chorus of J. Hedlund, son of the North’s son, I started to wait for Perturbator despite the cold weather that had turned into a night of autumn (don’t be fooled by the midday sun and go out without a coat or fleece). I saw Perturbator when they came to Istanbul and I ended this beautiful festival without having the opportunity to regret that I wish I had seen them again.


If I Summarize and Rate;

If I need to score this beautiful festival, which I did not spend a single moment empty, as it is customary at the end of every article;

Transportation: 10/10 (it was the festival with the most comfortable transportation among the ones I have attended so far)
Festival Grounds/Ambiance: 9/10 (I deducted one point for the main stage that was not finished on time and the limited space for the press)
Bands Performing: 10/10 (Great bands for every audience)
Food & Drink: 5/10 (This was the most problematic part. The lack of options and high prices were annoying)
Prices: 8/10 (Merch prices were slightly above average, food and beverage prices were twice the average)

According to the bands that will be announced next year, Mystic Festival has taken its place on my list as a festival that I might consider attending again with more experience and training.

Mystic Festival Warm Up Day / Deströyer 666, Witchmaster, Defleshed and more

Mystic Festival Day 1 Highlights - Ghost, Behemoth, Testament, Moonspell and more

Mystic Festival Day 2 Highlights / Danzig, Watain, Dismember, Grave, Kanonenfieber and more

Mystic Festival Day 3 Highlights / Gojira, Dark Angel, Alcest, Wolfheart, Unleashed and more

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