I. Our Festival Tour Introduction
Out of the three most likely ways you might have found Savage Looks, visiting our stall at one of the many European festivals we visit during our yearly festival tour has to be our favorite! There is a reason why we visit as many as possible, one that goes far beyond just making money. Passion! Doing what we do combines our love for metal music, our ache for the festival ambiance, and plain and simple our skills as salespeople.
While we can’t deny that the online market is growing rapidly, especially after covid hit, you won’t see us going fully digital any time soon. There’s just something about the long drives, the hard work, the amazing people around us and the festival feeling that we are just not willing to give up on
While we try to stay active throughout the year, even we have to deal with the slower winter season. While this gives us the much needed time to replenish our stock, do inventory, and prep for the next season. We are always looking forward to the chaos ridden festival tours. The (maybe) 2 months of downtime feel like ages to us.
II. The Big Festivals
The biggest festivals we do have to be Hellfest in France, and Download UK. The mass amounts of people that flock to these festivals each year is insane! You can even find us with multiple stalls on markets like these. All because we want to give every possible customer a chance to find us. Just one stall just wouldn’t cut it at all.
And we can totally see why these festivals are such a huge hit. The acts they have in their line-ups each year are super high quality, and the bands usually perform amazingly for the kind of crowds you can find there. Which in turn gives the festival visitors a great energy as well. Something we feed off of as well.
Big festivals like these are never dull. Whether it’d be because of the crazy amounts of mud we have to conquer at download, or the heat at hellfest, or anything in between. Something always happens. No matter the circumstances, good or bad, you’ll almost always catch us with a beer in our hands, working hard, and having a good time.
III. Embracing the Smaller Festivals
Thankfully there’s more to our Europe festival tour than just the big guys. We try to include plenty of smaller festivals in our schedule too. There’s just something about them that makes our black hearts beat faster. Almost as if we are part of a family in a random part of Europe. Not just with the organization and the volunteers, with the visitors as well. Here’s we often meet the same people year after year and will actually build a bond with them.
Especially the smaller festivals tend to have more unique locations, and we are here for it! Some seem to be right smack in the middle of the woods, others are held in ancient castles, in the mountains, or will feel like you are in someone’s backyard having a party.
One thing is for sure, you’ll never know what (hidden) gems you are going to see at these festivals. Sure, a lot of the performing bands will stay small, but you never know. In 2017 we were at a rather small festival in the Netherlands (brainstorm festival), couple hundred visitors at the most. We ended up not going to any bands, because we pretty much never heard of any of them except maybe the headliner, and we ddn’t really care for them. Big mistake! Turns out Wind Rose was one of the earlier bands that year. We still love that festival!
Last year we even went to church with the organization on Christmas Day. We didn’t have any plans, so when we were (semi) jokingly invited we basically said “fuck it! Why not?”. Talk about getting intimate with festivals.
IV. The Roadtrips and Hard Work
Long drives are a huge part of what we do, since we travel all over Europe during our festival tour. Trips of over 1000km one way are not a rarity, and we don’t always have the opportunity to take our time. We’ve been to Norway, Portugal, the UK, Slovakia and pretty much everything in between. And we wouldn’t have it any other way, our European festival tour just wouldn’t hit the same without the long drives.
The way you get to know eachother during these roadtrips is amazing. Even those who have only joined us for 1 festival tour have made new friends for life! Not to mention the relationships that have formed during a festival tour (some of which long, others really short if you know what I mean).
But the work isn’t done when we get to our destination. There is a surprising amount of work that needs to be done before we can sell a single item. We are basically professional movers. Once we arrive we have to start the build up. Not only do we set up a tent (our favorite tent to use is 6x6m and is over 3m high), which takes some serious muscle. Our rails are transported in pieces we have to put back together, the shirts are in boxes that have to be unboxed and put in the rail.
From technical things like our lights, to some decorative ceiling flags, to going through everything to make sure that everything is sorted alphabetically so festival goers can easily find the items they are looking for. Only to start selling and making crazy long hours as we try to be open from beginning to the end of the festival.
All in all a festival tour like this is not for the faint of heart. It takes some serious dedication to the job and the music to keep everything going smoothly. But for those that are suited for this job, they wouldn’t have it any other way. The fun we have weighs so much heavier than anything else. The festivals and events we are able to attend, the people we meet, the cultures we actually get to know in such a true and immersive way. It’s absolutely amazing.
V. The Fun and Amazing Experiences
Obviously one of the best things of doing our yearly European festival tour is meeting so many amazing people. We’ve been able to meet many bands and get a unique insight into their world, the backstage might even be a little bit too normal for us at this point. But it’s also great to see the artists just being normal human beings. And it also gives us the chance to make some amazing deals with them merch wise. With our partners at wotik.nl we are building a great collection of really exclusive merchandise in collaboration with the bands themselves.
Outside of the people we meet there are also so many unique experiences that come along our journeys. One year we had a team in Austria that had to go to Slovakia last minute (they got the phone all that they had to go to Gothoom while they were already selling at Area53). But because they departed from Austria they got there really early. The festival took place at a small airport that year, and while waiting they ended up talking to the people who were flying their own planes there and managed to get a private flight. Those kind of highlights happen every so often during a festival tour, but these have yet to be topped I think.
In the end, there is no better feeling that working a job we love, at a great festival, surrounded by people having a great time, with a beer in our hands!
VI. Our Love for the Job
This company is built on passion. Sure, we are definitely trying to make money. But at the end of the day we will always aim to offer a great collection metal merchandise for honest prices. Because we are also the people on the other end who want to have the things that we sell for ourselves. And we are immensely grateful that we are able to feed our family with doing what we love so much.
We will probably never settle for the festivals that are already known to us for our European festival tour. There are so many great festivals out there that we have not attended yet, and there are new festivals emerging all the time. And as long as those things are the case, we will not stop looking for new festivals to travel to with the Savage Looks stall.
As I’m writing this, this years festival tour is slowly coming to an end, and soon there will be a period of 1-2 months without any festivals at all. As always, there have been a lot of challenges, but mostly loads of amazing new memories and connections. And that is something that will forever light our fire to keep going.
From teams being stuck abroad to new festivals and opportunities. This years festival tour has been a lovely rollercoaster and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Next year we’ll be doing it all over again! And we can’t wait to see everyone at whatever festival they are going to.
Want a more intimate festival experience and join us on a festival tour? We are always looking for volunteers. Feel free to send an application to volunteers [@] savage-looks.com, even if it’s just for a local festival. Just make sure to mention at least your name, age, your general location. Having a drivers license and experience are a plus, but not needed.