Pula Plays Host to First Heavy Metal Festival

Total Croatia News

DSC 2253des
Copyright Dave Gasson

The first heavy metal festival takes place in Pula!


 Croatia has been a popular tourist destination for many years, and the recent proliferation of summer festivals has encouraged a new generation of tourists to our beautiful towns and beaches where they can enjoy music and the arts as well as the traditional welcome that Croats give to visitors. 

The festivals offer music from musicians from all over Europe, which, in turn, attracts their fans, bringing more opportunities for local tourism to thrive and prosper. The additional wealth generated by these festival lovers is providing a huge boost to local economies and over the weekend of the 21st to the 24th of June, it was the turn for heavy metal music lovers from across Europe to come together in Pula for the first GoatHell Metal Fest.

Despite waking up on the Friday morning to torrential rain, high winds, thunder and lightning, the organisers and volunteers did an incredible job of making the festival a success and by 16.00, the stage, which had looked like a disaster area, was looking like a stage again. The cables were dried out and electricians and sound engineers were busy at work, whilst the festival site was cleared and prepared again.

DSC 2253des

There were over 25 international and Croatian bands performing at the open air seafront festival. The main stage was fittingly named after Jure Grando, the vampire from Kringa, who, according to historical records, was the first real person to be described as a Vampire. MartYriuM, the blackened industrial death metal band from Malta performed an intriguing and at times dramatic set with some great guitar playing, with the impressive Sandra Misanthrope on vocals. From Poland came the alternative metal band, Chaos Engine Research, and making the journey from London were the hard metal rock band Other Eyes Wise. With two lead vocalists, Frank Novelli and Kyo Calati, the Italian band MindAheaD gave an alternative perspective to progressive metal. Rounding off a great night of music and entertainment was the local modern metal band from Pula, Mortal Divinity.


Following on from this year`s European tour “The Beast Within Me” and with Aura Danciulescu on lead vocals, Scarlet Aura, the four-piece melodic/rock/metal band from Romania offered up a great set. Since winning the Black Sea Battle of the bands at Kavarna Rock Fest back in 2014, they have gone from strength to strength. They played tracks in Romanian from their debut album “The Rock Chick” as well as English tracks from their second album “Falling Sky”. They will be playing at various festivals during the summer before embarking on a tour of North America in September. Autumn will also see the release of their third and slightly more progressive/heavy metal album, “Hot’n’Heavy”, as well as the first book in a trilogy written by Aura Danciulescu.

DSC 5078as


DSC 4031as

The headlining group for the Friday night was the Ukrainian Metal band “Jinjer” with Tatiana Shmailyuk on lead vocals. They offered an explosive mixture of groove, hardcore and progressive metal. Tatiana’s energy was phenomenal as she danced and sang her way around the stage. Her ability to sing in such a rich and velvet tone coupled with her contrasting unique, raucous and gravelly voice was breathtaking. 


DSC 7097abs


DSC 7508as

No storms or adverse weather conditions came overnight, so the festival was all set for a great day of entertainment in the sunshine on Saturday. With over ten bands scheduled  for the main stage, they started promptly from 16:00 and played continuously until 03:00 with just a 10 or 15 minute break in between for sound checks. From Croatia and from the festival’s home town of Pula, the hugely popular death metal band “Infernal Tenebra” put in a great performance with some incredible head banging and guitar playing. The Croatian doom metal band “Old Night” from Rijeka played long into the night. Three Italian bands “Reapter”, “Arkana Code” and the five-piece death metal band “Mechanical God Creation” all put in good performances and brought their own version of metal. The face painted black/death metal Spanish band “Atrexial” from Barcelona were a joy to watch and put on a great show. From Britain came the oldschool death metal band “Repulsive Vision” and from Poland the industrial metal band “UDS – Underdamped System” took to the stage.


The headline band for Saturday night was the Dutch band “Sinister”. With over 25 years of tours and festivals behind them, it was no surprise that they gave an outstanding performance with their compact and fierce style of death metal music.

 DSC 1837as


DSC 2072abws

It was refreshing to go to a festival and not be charged extortionate prices for food and drink. The bar offered reasonable and normal priced beer with friendly helpful staff and the caterers kept me well fed for three days. There were also exhibitions by numerous artists such as Ksenija Mijoković and Nikola Mijoković, and sculptures by Mario Devcić from Pula, and Laura Pepel from Italy. There was also an interesting historical exhibition about Pula before 1945. In between performances from live bands, Roman gladiators from Pula wandered through the crowds and performed hard fought battles. 


For more images of any of the bands in concert then you are welcome to view the music photography magazine site of Total Croatia News photographer David Gasson.

There are plenty of concerts and festivals coming up in and around Pula and Istria that Total Croatia News will be covering and bringing you exclusive pictures of:

Pula Jazz Season & Backstage Live

Seasplash Festival in Pula – 19th of July – 22nd of July, 2018

Dimensions festival in Pula – 29th of August – 2nd of September, 2018 

Outlook Festival in Pula – 5th of September – 9th of September, 2018

Lado in Pula – 6th of July, 2018

Iron Maiden in Zagreb – 24th of July, 2018

Total Croatia News will cover and photograph the following at the Rocks & Stars Festival:

Maksim Mrvica – 28th of June, 2018

Stefan Milenkovich – 31st of July, 2018

Bond – 9th of August, 2018

Ricchi e Poveri – 15th of August, 2018 


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment