LIVE: Jera On Air Festival 2015

By Ben Tipple

This year was Jera On Air’s twenty-third instalment and despite the very soggy start, things still went off with one hell of a bang. Jera On Air is based in the village of Ysselsteyn, in the south of the Netherlands. The festival is pretty intimate, opening its gates to around six thousand festival-goers over two days. The running of the weekend is aided by residents of the village- from sponsors to stage building and stewarding, the villagers do it all.

Beginning in the early part of Friday evening and to kick off the weekend’s proceedings the winner of the ‘Guts and Glory’ competition, Better Off opened on the main stage. The main stage also gave us some great sets from Chunk! No Captain Chunk and Chelsea Grin. A Day To Remember closed proceedings, providing the crowd with a set that was jammed with the band’s greatest hits, ensuring that sing-alongs were had and the raging weather outside of the tent was long forgotten. The Rockhand stage was opened by Polar; followed by Expire, Texas In July and finally L.A Hardcore outfit Terror.

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Saturday was a much longer (and way less soggy) day, the first band kicked off at around 11:30 and the live music continued on for a solid thirteen or so hours. The highlights of Saturday included Netherlands’ own No Turning Back, plus Destine, Millencolin and head-liners All Time Low.

But the band of the night had to be Enter Shikari. During the hour long set the complex light show that accompanied the band added a whole other element and at times it felt more like a rave, but that’s not always a bad thing. If spirits weren’t in overdrive before, they certainly were by the end of the bands appearance.

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Besides the two larger stages there was also the Punk Brock Bar that not only hosted bands but live punk rock karaoke for anybody that was drunk/brave enough to take part. The Bird’s Nest DJ arena hosted… well, DJ’s. Enter Shikari managed to pack the arena full on Saturday afternoon when they brought along the Shikari Sound System before taking to the main stage later in the evening.

Around the rest of the festival there was plenty to do – get a haircut courtesy of AONO Barbers, get a tattoo, peruse the merch market, play some beer pong, go for a dance in the silent disco or just have a power nap in the ‘Moshpital’. You read that right, the ‘Moshpital’ contained a bunch of stretchers for attendees to have a nap if things became too much.

There was also an opportunity to compete to become the Dutch stage-diving champion. Sadly we missed my opportunity, that title would look pretty cool on a CV, no?

Now this wouldn’t be helpful at all if we didn’t discuss food and drink, right? Right. There were bars located in every tent/arena so you could never miss a band whilst getting a pint, be that alcoholic or not. In the ‘food court’ there was good variety of food; if you needed morning coffee and a Belgian waffle, a good slice of pizza, an omelette or fresh pasta then you were very much covered. The naughtier folks might have also had the chance to grab a burger or some churros. Vegetarians and vegans were also well taken care of by ‘Just Like Your Mom’ catering; which amongst other things, did the best vegan kebab ever!! (Not going to lie, it was better than any non-vegan kebab we’ve ever had.) This year, festival attendees could even have a sit down meal at Wild At Heart BBQ’s pop up restaurant, whilst being entertained by German punk/ska/soul band The Tips.

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Jera On Air was totally worth the trip to the mainland. There’s a real friendly atmosphere to the festival, which maybe stems from the community that contributes to the running of it. The community spirit of the festival made it so much more enjoyable, it was organised by people that care about the punk and hardcore community, and that shone through. The bands that attended were great, the entertainment was all there (and at times a little on the unconventional side) and even though the weather left a little to be desired, it was a fantastic weekend. We’re already looking forward to next year!

WORDS BY: Kat Jeffery
PHOTOS BY: Tom Russell