If your idea of Summer vacation includes a remote beach, crystal clear water, fresh mountain air,… and performances from legendary bands such as Pennywise, Suicidal Tendencies, Bad Religion, NOFX, Madball, or Terror, there is a perfect holiday for you. Punk Rock Holiday!
Nestled in the Slovenian town of Tolmin, right on the banks of the Soča and Tolminka rivers, Punk Rock Holiday established itself as one of a kind gathering of punk rock fans from all over the world. Year after year, the festival is building a community, crushing the borders between artists and fans, performers and crowds. No wonder so many people, fans and band alike, leave the festival with the PRH tattoo, as a permanent reminder of that bond.
Documenting the festival’s first decade, 'The Beast From Soca River' gives an exclusive insight into the festival’s life, all its ups and downs, and everything in between, that made Punk Rock Holiday into what it is today. “We wanted to create something different,” shared Founder and Promoter Andrej Sevšek, who also reflected on the festival’s infamous “no barrier” policy. “People who come to a punk rock festival, they know how to behave. We just let them do what they want to do, and they co-create the atmosphere of the whole festival.”
The massive, 5000-capacity Main Stage that saw performances of who-is-who of the punk rock world may be the centerpiece of the event, but make no mistake, Punk Rock Holiday has to offer so much more. Located on the Tolminka river, just steps away from the water itself, the Beach Stage offers a perfect setting for the daily parties involving some of the freshest local, regional, and European bands. Throw in the smoothie stand, food from all over the world, skateboard, and BMX ramp, merch shop, record and streetwear stores, or the AONO barbershop, and it’s clear why most of the fans never leave the festival grounds.
But it’s not only the fans that enjoy every bit of this event, it’s bands as well. “These are some of the most lovable people that run the festival. We had a great time, everyone was going off and everybody was representing. It was a smooth day, it was good,” shared Madball’s Jorge “Hoya Roc” Guerra, one of the many who fell in love with the festival. And it’s easy to see why, with all the fun that goes around.
In real ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ fashion, one can spot members of NOFX or Less Than Jake cruising surrounding rivers, or H2O’s Toby Morse skateboarding with fans near the festival gates. “We had flamingo and unicorn games on the river. I think Lou from Sick Of It All was the king,” remembers Founder and Promoter Niko Vukič. “For a year after that, I was called Flamingo Lou. I didn’t like that, but it was funny,” Keller laughs off.
Some bands even took the festival’s “no barrier” rule even further by inviting everyone on stage with them or “pull an Anti-Flag” by playing a few songs in the middle of the crowd. “I have to say, in my life that’s the most important ‘Bro Hymn’ I have ever played,” shared Pennywise’s Flecther Dragge. Words that serve as a perfect testament of what this festival became. “This show will live with me forever. If I die tomorrow, on my way to the airport, I will tell my driver that this was a great night. Everyone that’s been here and knows Pennywise, understands that this was a great fucking night.”
With its magical surrounding, best punk rock music, and community like no other, Punk Rock Holiday offers something unique in the festival world. We may not go as far as Fletcher who simply called it “The best festival in the world,” but, then again, if he said it, who are we to disagree?
WATCH THE FULL DOCUMENTARY HERE