The (bloody) backstage at Lokerse Feesten

If you’re familiar with The Word, you probably know by now we’re not too keen on reporting facts the conventional way. When we decided to cover the season’s festivals, we intended on doing it with somewhat of a twist. Front-stage pictures taken during the first three songs of a set – from the exact same angle, with the exact same lighting, resulting in every single photographer having the exact same pictures – , quickie concert reviews and seven-minute interviews weren’t exactly on our agenda. Instead, we attempted to feature a different side of these mass gatherings with backstage anecdotes, informal portraits, and getting a direct glimpse into the artists’ perception of a summer on the road by handing them disposable cameras. It seemed like a good idea.

Sadly, the folks at the Lokerse Feesten didn’t seem to grasp the concept. Despite carrying a valid photo-pass, our photographer – who shoots on film – was not allowed at the front-stage because the camera was “not big enough”. No, really. The security team made a life mission of preventing any spontaneous contact between artists and mere mortals, including members of press, and quickly got onto our case. We’re not going to bore you with trivial details, but it ended with us being declared persona non grata and being subsequently evicted from the site in a completely unnecessary hostile fashion. Our photographer’s right hand was stabbed along the way by what was no more than a glorified steward posing as a security agent, visibly affected by the kind of self-importance that reminds us of a certain experiment. Her hand required surgery and will be paralyzed for at least two weeks. Now you tell us Robbie, was that really necessary?

Photography Ulrike Biets

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Here’s some of the material we were able to get despite our limited access. It would be a shame not to share something that (questionably) deserved shedding blood for.

After a hilarious two-hour show where he was beheaded, hung, stabbed by a sword, skewered in a nail-filled coffin, impaled by a giant syringe, rolled around in a wheel chair and beaten up, Alice Cooper was in high spirits and even smelled surprisingly good.

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Hygiene is obviously not something his camp take lightly and even the truck and tour bus crew had their own private toilets.

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We caught Air’s Jean-Benoît Dunckel after their gig and gave him a camera. He digged the idea and promised to send it back with their tour adventures.

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M.I.A.’s current tour features three “vocalists” dressed in customized burqas that stand and dance on stage during the entire gig. They’re actually random girls that are picked up in every city. Their mics are on mute and the headgear conveniently conceals the fact that they do not know the lyrics.

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For her Belgian stop, the singer asked lingerie designer Muriel Scherre from La Fille d’O (pictured right) to hook her up with three models. It’s a shame they were covered from head to toe since the girls were obviously banging hot and so was the underwear.

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Remember him? He was one of the redheads featured in the controversial Born Free video, directed by Romain Gavras. It turns out White Boy, as he is nicknamed, is also a dancer and has the sickest moves we’ve seen in a while.

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M.I.A. invited all the ladies in the crowd to join her but (surprise, surprise) the security team did everything they possibly could to prevent the stage invasion from happening. Annoyed, the singer refused to perform the next song until she was sufficiently surrounded.

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Some lucky girls made it, one of which Natalie (in the white t-shirt), who posed as a rock star in our current issue’s fictitious breakthrough band.

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Why even bother printing out a set list if you’re going to ignore it anyway? “She’s always fucking it up completely”, moaned a confused White Boy, who never quite knew when it was his cue to jump in and show off his moves.

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Paul Weller is dubbed the “Modfather”. We’ll simply refer to him as the “Silver Fox”.

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The Horrors‘ frontman Faris left the festival with one of our disposables. We’re hoping to get it back if he makes it at Kurt + Kelly’s Dark Decades exhibition, opening later this month and which will feature some of his drawings.

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Pete Doherty vs. the Throw Away Project: Round II. We managed to catch him before the Babyshambles gig and asked him about our camera. He actually remembered the story. We gave him a new one and he promised he’d send it back. Given he also looked pretty loaded this time, we won’t be holding our breath.

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The one thing that didn’t suck about this festival was the free of charge Baywatch pinball machine.

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Here’s one of the charming goons we had the privilege of encountering. We’ll see who gets the last laugh…

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