Farewell Keep it True

I’ve had some wonderful times at Keep it True since my debut in 2011. An exclusive Griffin show, Satan and Witch Cross’s comebacks, Heavy Load finally playing live, stellar performances from Praying Mantis, Ashbury, Saracen, Cirith Ungol and this year’s Sabïre, Idle Hands and Vicious Rumors, just to mention a few. I’ve been traveling and staying with a group of 12–15 fellow Norwegians every year, and together we’ve made Keep it True a solid tradition. But now we’ve had enough. We are not coming back again.

Keep it True has never been a well-organized festival. The ticket sales system and the entrance line has been an absolute catastrophe every year. Changes made have only made it worse. We’ve spent hours and hours standing in line, sometimes losing the first (and second) band, other times still unable to get tickets.

Keep it True are not communicating with their audience when there are cancellations and rearrangements. At this year’s festival they showed no will to keep us posted about the Agent Steel situation. The audience waited for almost two hours and there were no excuses after the “show”. It’s not the first time John Cyriis has fucked up, but at least we got a good replacement the last time he did. The Candlemass gig was canceled last minute. Keep it True should have told us when they knew, not keeping us in the dark, letting rumors flow. The time schedule was changed on Saturday because of this, and Midnight’s spot was moved once, then back again. No information. Things like these have happened every year, mostly with headliners. Why are Keep it True even booking these unreliable time bombs again and again? They should’ve never gotten the chance!

Keep it True used to be a cheap festival. A few years ago the price of a ticket rose. Keep it True told us it was to keep the camping area free. Why should the ones staying outside the camp sponsor the ones staying in it? I’d be happy to pay a fee for camping if I were using the spot, but I’m not.

Keep it True decided to use rechargeable cards as the only valid payment option during the festival. It did not decrease the lines. It just added another one. Last year I waited two hours just to buy a card. And the paying process has not quickened compared to when we used cash.

Keep it True’s line-ups are getting less interesting each year. The posters are becoming repetitive. I love Cirith Ungol, but to have them headlining both days next year is a clear sign on lack of fantasy and guts. Keep it True’s focus in general is, weirdly enough, obscure American metal bands. Expensive to book and too often – too boring. Don’t tell us there aren’t enough good bands out there! As an example: Why does Keep it True ignore the Nordic metal scene? There are tons of bands fitting the Keep it True poster, but none of those are invited, though close, cheap, well-known and loved all over the world.

Keep it True are not welcoming to new bands within the hardrock, heavy, power and thrash metal scene. No wonder the audience’s age average is close to 60. I love that people older than 25 go to festivals, do not misunderstand me, but to keep the metal scene alive we need some fresh blood, or else we’ll all succumb to an eternal musical hell in just a few years.

Keep it True has never been good at taking criticism. Well-founded proposals and complaints about bookings, toilets, lines, ticket sales, prices, food and general communication with the festival audience are completely overlooked.

We have told you every year. You have not listened. Next year you can count 15 Norwegians less.

Helle Stenkløv
Hostess of Jernverket

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