1. Hey there! May you introduce Ieperfest to the greek scenesters? Who's behind Ieper?!
Bruno: Ieperfest is an independent 3-day Hardcore festival that wants to offer a stage to an international variety of underground bands. On top of that we also focus on keeping the festival as ecological as possible. We have been offering vegan food only since the very start and there’s a huge More Than Music tent with room for debate and NGO stands. The festival started back in 1992 and has become the world’s longest running hardcore festival. Ieperfest is organised by 2 Belgian, not-for-profit DIY collectives sharing the same geographical & ideological roots: Republyk Vort’n Vis & Genet records. Check http://www.vortnvis.net & http://www.genetrecords.com to learn more about the organisers.

2. This year you are celebrating the 20st anniversary of Ieperfest. What have changed during all these years concerning both the hardcore / punk / metal scene and its affection to the fest?
Bruno: We started Ieperfest back in the day when hardcore was not as popular and mainstream accepted as it is nowadays. Although it was far from easy, we worked hard to keep the festival alive and saw it growing bit by bit. The scene has grown enormously since we started back in 1992. Everything became bigger and more commercial, but we still continue along the same roots from the early days. For us everything is still very “DIY”, even until today. It’s great that more people listen to hard music these days. It means the disease (!) is spreading and more people are getting the positive message that the scene is spreading. It also means however that there way more people involved that don’t care at all. However, we can only hope that some of the ideas will stick to them and influence them in a positive way.

3. Hardcore is more than music and so is Ieper. Could you please share your idea behind MTM (More Than Music) free space?
Bert  A. (MTM): Despite what some people may think, hardcore is more than just music! The MoreThanMusic tent is a free space for free thinking and discussion, for debate and creativity in changing our world for the better and for Non-Governmental Organisations & Action Groups to present themselves. We believe that music can make a difference, can make people think and talk and act or at least do something… Where music on stage fails to bring the message across, we try to fill the void and we’ve put together a series of non-musical activities to feed the minds of the politically, socially and ethically active people and to educate those who are oblivious to the matter since 2007. But there has always been more than music on Ieperfest. In the past some of the bands performing on stage invited the visitors to come and talk about topics that relate to their songs in the cosy (free space) atmosphere surroundig the fest. Other people also attending the festival were given the chance to present and talk about certain activities and action groups they were involved in. In 2007 we decided to give them a stage as well and we do like the words being said by Zack de la Rocha (Inside Out / Rage Against the Machine) in the Orange County Hardcore Scenester documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VzMcv9wyilE) : I see so much focus on music these days, and not on the words being said… and I think that in order to communicate in Hardcore, the lyrics must be at the forefront of every song…  and we need to live, the best we can, the lyrics we say up here… don’t ever let it die!... which pretty much sums up the whole MoreThanMusic set-up.

4. Moreover, there's a green policy that Ieper follows. You've won some awards, as well. How tough is to keep hardcore / punk connected to sociopolitical / environmental issues nowadays that everything has become so safe?
Bert A. (MTM): Oh Yes, we won the  GREENEVENT AWARD 2010. The award was handed out by OVAM (the Public Flemish Waste Management Company) to the greenest event in Flanders (Belgium). We also received the GREENEVENT AWARD 2011 for our continued efforts on the winter edition of our festival and we’d like to welcome you to another green edition of IEPERFEST  ;).  So thank you (all) very much for helping us out! But let’s be clear about one thing: the most ecological thing we could do is not to organise IEPERFEST at all, for you to stay at home and for every single one of us to start a food forest or to change things on a local level {of course this is not an option we're considering and sounds pretty radical, does it? Really? (http://transitionculture.org/shop/the-transition-handbook/)}. Instead we see IEPERFEST as a great exercise for us to try new things towards a sustainable future and a good example for others to follow and to get inspired. Ok, that might sound na├»ve and cocky, but as the City of Ieper has already copied some of our ideas and people actually start asking us for advice, we’re pretty sure that we’re on the right track. So, apart from an amazing line-up of bands, we have an amazing set of ideas for an even greener festival. Be sure to take notice and help out!  I guess every single one of us has one band or one song which really made us question a lot of things and really spoke to us. I know for a fact that for good friend Marty (taking care of the Green Policy on Ieperfest) that song is Burning Bridges by xChokeholdx (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AqPV9lue7A – check the lyrics!), as for me personally that’s Ecology and Dedication by Nations on Fire (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyyJo9k7e9A // http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugOICWL1cho – check the lyrics!). As long as bands like these exist (and there’s still a lot of them for you to check out!) and people support them by offering a stage, it really isn’t tough to keep hardcore/punk connected to sociopolitical / environmental issues. But of course that’s not enough; our subculture (or is it counterculture?) is being threatened by commercialisation and greedy people going for the popular bands, the easy money and the focus seems to be more on music nowadays. What’s more, even a lot of people within the hardcore / punk scene have given up on the idea of working for a positive change and would rather see the world go to shit than to actually do something about it. Some people say we’ve also been “preaching to the choir” too long now and things haven’t changed, but the more kids / people get involved in hardcore, the more kids / people we can reach, the more things are changing and that’s very positive as well. To put it in Poison Planet’s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xny8Vy74x68) words: “We can fight, We can win – boycott everything!” and it doesn’t stop there. We should also move outside hardcore / punk with our ideals (originating in Hardcore / Punk) and get other people and scenes involved in the same fight. The accoustic songs performed by xTrueNaturex for example, are also a great way for getting the message across to people who are not into hard music. Talking to family, friends, collegues at work and basically everyone you meet about the things you learned in Hardcore can and will work empowering and unleashes a lot of energy (good or bad;). There is something about seizing that boldness, about making the leap from “why is no-one doing anything” to “let’s do something” that creates a lot of positive energy (trust us on this one;). Start your own band if no-one is tackling the issues you are concerned about, organise your own shows, start your own festival, add a MoreThanMusic-part (if necessary) and of course, keeping it DIY helps a lot!

5. You co-ordinate with some NGOs. Can you give us some more info about this?
Bert A. (MTM): Going into details on this one would not be so smart, but some of us (if not all of us – who knows?) are involved in (local) NGOs and Action Groups apart from our involvement in Ieperfest. And of course it’s always important to network, so basically we welcome other NGOs and Action Groups from around the world to set up a stand near the MoreThanMusic stage and we also invite them to get on stage, to educate the masses or to discuss certain matters, keeping in mind that animal, earth and human liberation will only come through education… (CHOKEHOLD)
Bruno: We can learn so much from these NGOs, what they stand for and try to achieve in order to create a better world. The last few years they have become an important part of the festival and we invite all visitors to check out the ones that seem to be most interesting to them.

6. This year's fest features tens of bands with different hardcore / punk / metal backgrounds. Which aspects do you keep in mind when you invite a band to play at Ieper? On the other hand, how can a band apply for Ieper fest?
Bruno: There’s no need for bands to apply really … We just go out there and find them. If bands do want to contact us, best is to send us an email with some links and be patient. We have to disappoint most of them. There’s just not enough time and space to book them all. Since the first installment of the marquee stage in 2008, we have been able to book an even wider variety of bands than before. Year after year we try to offer an excellent mix of all sorts of styles by bands from all over the world. Old school hardcore, metalcore, doom, emo, metal, grindcore, post rock, punk, sludge, etc. You name it, you get it.

7. Any useful info that 'hardcore' travelers need to know when coming to Ieper?
Bruno: Ha, good question! Bring a tent and a warm sleeping bag as the nights can be chilly here, even in summer. A sweatshirt, spare shoes or boots, some pocket money and your good mood will also prove to be of serious help. People with an interest in history and quiet landscapes will surely love the town of Ieper and its surrounding areas. This region was one of the main sites where both world wars were fought even if that is hard to believe if you see the peaceful landscape these days… And please always keep in mind not to throw your shit around, but to bin it instead.

8. Thanks for the interview. See you next week.
Bert A. (MTM): OK, no problem! Thank you for inspiring us already by word and by deed and making us prepare for what’s yet to come to our cities through the screening of  "The POTENTIALITY OF STORMING HEAVEN" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRc_i_tGjOU&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL52A33BF1B3AF94F9) on Ieperfest over the past years. And if you have any ideas on how to help out, be sure to meet us in the MoreThanMusic tent or to get in touch. You’re very welcome!
Bruno: We gladly welcome the Greek delegation and of course everyone from other countries visiting the festival. We surely hope you will enjoy your stay!