Finally! Thursday 23 June 2022, Jera On Air make its return after 2 years break. The 2019’s edition was the last festival we’ve attented before the pandemic hit us. We were glad to be back! For this first short day, they provided us a decent line-up with The Hives has headliners, Suicidal Tendencies, Life Of Agony… and a last-minute special show of Stick To Your Guns! The hype was real for this one! Worth it? Read below!
After a short travel from Brussels, we were back at Ysselsteyn. Almost at the same place about 2km away from the old field as the festival decided to change this year. Many positive changes: the parking, the camping and the festival on itself are all closed to each other. Only 5 minutes walk from parking to camping, from camping to festival, from parking to festival… you get it. First good point for the festival! Other good point for us: as we got a press wristband, we were able to enter the camping quickly but many people have wait more than 1h to enter. The check-in and the entrance were indeed a bit small… Yes, it’s the first time the festival is officially soldout but it was almost the case the previous editions so it would be great to have a bigger entrance next year!
The weather was not really on our side on this first day. It started to rain right when we finished to install the camping: good timing. But for the rest of the day… Rain, storm, thunder: the sky was even heavier than the heaviest band of the weekend! Sadly, we missed then Year Of The Knife, One Step Closer and only saw the last song of Boysetsfire. But the good thing is that there were already many people in the festival. Many Stick To Your Guns shirts and tons of fans hyped for tonight show! Just 1 day before Jera On Air started, the organization had to announce 2 new cancellations: Ska-P and Malevolence. If we can often see the British heavy bands, it’s way more rare to see the ska heroes. They’ve been replaced by Peter Pan Speedrock and so Stick To Your Guns the festival itself suggested them to play a special “Diamond” set and not their usual set. Which they accept! For those who don’t know the band or maybe just since a few years, this album is really the one that marked the beginning of their actual success! Of course, they had a few sick singles (Amber, This Is More…) already and the album “The Hope Division” was really good but still keep them in the underground scene. But “Diamond” put them on the Never Say Day! Tour in 2012 followed by the Persistence Tour early 2013 and you know what happened next!
Because of the weather, we thought during a couple of minutes this show won’t be happening. The festival was shut down during maybe 15 minutes: maybe more, we didn’t check the clock. But we have survived a pandemic. The music industry have survived – but we’ll never forget all the people we lost since more than 2 years because of the Covid of course. The festival can survive this storm. And that’s what happen. A chance all the festivals are under a marquee and not fully open air by the way… anyway. The time has come: the Stick To Your Guns set can finally start! Following the tracklist of the album, from Diamond to Built Upon The Sand, they delivered us the set we all wanted. The band was so happy to be there, so were we. Even Josh with his neck brace and his painful body. We were here to part all together again. From the classics Against Them All and We Still Believe to the songs almost never played Beyond The Sun or Life In A Box. The pit was on fire which was a perfect way to dry ourselves. Not only they played “Diamond” in full, they finished with a small surprise as they also played Nobody! Of course, it’s a classic song from their set-list since 2017 but as the album is 36 minutes long and and their stage time 40 minutes, we thought we’d only have the 12 studio songs. The perfect way to finish a show that had everything to be already in the top 5 of the weekend!
We finished the day with only 2 more shows: Suicidal Tendencies headlining the Vulture Stage followed by the main headliner of the day, The Hives, closing the day on the Main Stage aka Eagle Stage. If Suicidal Tendencies provided us a powerful show with many classic songs, The Hives were a bit disappointing. Some fans in the the first part of the tent for sure, many people enjoyed it but we also met many people who didn’t like and prefer to leave before the end of the show. Like us. This storm already exhausted us and we needed as much energy as possible for the 2 next days!
For this first day, we’ll remember 3 things: it was so fuckin’ good to be back at this festival, this storm was insane but not a great memory, this Stick To Your Guns show was insane and gonna stay a fuckin’ great memory! It’s sad of course Malevolence wasn’t able to play but the Jera On Air found the best replacement ever!