2022 – We’re Loud Music Festival, Amalfi Coast, Thessaloniki, Athens

We start our journey in Ballina with a flight to Melbourne, overnight in Melbourne at a Best Western we arrive at 10pm – hotels restaurant is closed & pretty much all of the food delivery place have shut – so instant noodles out of a vending machine is the first meal of the trip – didn’t bode well! The flight next day from Melbourne to Rome was uneventful, if not long. We arrive in Rome at 6am and have arranged for an early check with Best Western at Rome airport – our pre-arranged 7am checkin turns into a 4 hour wait in reception till our room is finally ready – think I might give Best Western a miss for while!

Our Romantic View

Next day a 10am flight to Venice and the water bus to the pier just near our accommodation – we booked most of our accommodation via Booking.com as there is no need to pay in advance & you can fairly easily cancel if things go askew – anyhow our “Romantic views over Venice” apartment has a spa bath…. thats does not work, free wi-fi….. that does not work, and the romantic view…. a brick wall – undeterred we finally start our holiday.

First mission is to get some CBD oil for my old aching body, this turns into a hour and half track around Venice which turns our successful and also gives us a bit of an understanding about how hard this place is to navigate & get around. Albeit, no vehicle or bicycle traffic, the streets are really crowded with tourists especially in the areas with iconic buildings etc. We spend the next two days at our leisure swanning around looking at old stuff and eating great food.
Day three, Friday – we found out a few days before we left that our accomodation guy has stuffed up the dates and we had a night with no accommodation booked – we hurriedly got onto the web and found there wasn’t much available apart from really expensive deluxe accommodation – we found the cheapest we could (AU$350 per night) which turned out to be a small room with shared bathroom & no coffee facilities, fridge etc – the one saving grace was that this place, coincidentally, turned out to be a few doors down from where the pre-party for the We’re Loud Music Festival was being held – which was the local branch of the communist party HQ – this concerned us a bit as a right wing goverment had just won power and we had images of a raid or something – but it turned out to be a great night – we met our tour/festival organisers from Slovenly Records Pete & Eunice and introduced ourselves to a ton of friendly people who we’d be travelling with for the next 10 days.

The Pre-Party

The Bone Reunion

Saturday morning we move via water bus to a large campground, not on the Venice islands but on the mainland near the large shipping port – we get a cute little self contained cabin with everything we needed and a great little shop for supplies. One of the best things we bought with us was an AeroPress Coffee  maker – makes a mean cuppa and packs away very small.

After settling in we wander up to the local bar and spot a few people from the previous night – we also catch up with an old friend Bone from Amsterdam who’s band is playing tonite – when the band toured Aust (at that time a 2 piece) they came and stayed at our place for a few days & we have hung out with Bone several time on our overseas musical jaunts – a great guitarist, artist and a great guy.


At 6pm we are waiting at the dock cautiously optomistic that the “boat” our “party” is on will be seaworthy – turns out the boat is the perfect venue for the amount of people (probably about 250 or so) to fit comfortably – the only shock (mostly to the women) the single toilet was a squatter!! – not all that suitable for anyone on the semi-high seas! – us guys just pissed off the back off the boat.
Tonights bands are THE DIRTIEST (Florence), aptly named DESTROY ALL GONDOLAS (Venice), Bone’s band THE ANOMALYS (Amsterdam) and THE OKMONIKS (USA). The first 2 bands are wild and set the tone for the whole 10 days, The Anomalys do a great set and with the inclusion of a 2nd guitarist have a huge sound, the last band plays a set of dirty punk/pop with great keyboards by the lead singer. They finish about 1am and then the DJ’s take over – these people spin the most amazing music – if its not a garage punk rock classic that everyone drunkenly sings along to is some obscure gem that you just have to find out what it is! The boat finally docks back at the campground at 3am.
We spent Sunday hanging about the campground and talking shit with all the new friends we have made, everyone has great stories – we have met some great people thru music but this bunch (eventually 50 of us travelling together) were simply amazing – from all over the world, Argentina, Brazil, US, Chile, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Greece and of course Italy and other places as well – a super cool mix of accents permeate every conversation.
So tonite – it’s back on the boat for another dose of rawk – ADA ODA (Brussels), BLOODSHOT BILL (Montreal), LES LULLIES (Montpellier), DEMON’S CLAWS (Montreal). Les Lullies is my new favourite band – this guys didn’t just rock the boat the shook it! Demons Claw’s set was a bit slower but not much and again the night finished off well by a new bunch of DJ’s and again 3am finish. There is some pretty wild moshpitting and the crazy lunatics for the band Pussy Lickers from Portugal end up mostly nude sliding around the dance floor.



Monday we make our (now slightly weary) way to Venice railway station for a 4 hour train trip down the coast to the small coastal town of Termoli – the 50 of us are scattered all over the train as we have pre-booked seats but we are all keeping in touch via an (hilarious) WhatsApp group. A small group of our travellers discover the dining car and promptly drink the train dry after just an hour – we arrive at 8pm and all move on to find our hotels. We meet up again  for a few drinks – no bands tonite but plenty of music courtesy of the very enthusiastic Paco and his boom box. We have a great room overlooking the harbour and we get a great sunrise & breakfast.
We get up early on Tuesday to get on a large ferry to take us to the Tremetti Islands – a stunning place compromised of about 4 small islands – we arrive at one and are all ferried over to the larger island where we will have a show and stay the night. As we get off the dock we see a HUGE hill leading up into the island – luckily our heaviest bags are taken up in a van but we still have to drag our hand luggage up this huge hill, in the heat, which takes about 30 mins – obviously we all hit the bar when we reach the top.

Our Roomies

Our accomodation is nice whitewashed hotel, typical of the Mediterranean islands, it’s off season so a lot of the hotels are closed so we pretty much have the island to ourselves. Turns out, for some reason, we have been assigned an apartment 10 mins walk away from the main building – we head down in a van with one of the hotel guys and another couple – turns out we are to share this apartment with the other couple who we had not met – after a brief intro, a few drinks and our introducing them to the wonders of our AeroPress coffee machine we become fast friends with Daphne & Julien from Belgium.

Later that nite we all meet at a local restaurant that has prepared a set menu for us we start with fresh mussels in wine & garlic, followed by a delicious seafood risotto and for the third course we all were expecting some kind of dessert – wrong – a whole grilled fish each – amazing food. The local cats get a bit of feast as people leave with leftovers to feed them.

The Owner

We walk about 5 mins to this amazing outdoor venue – a big bar, small stage , dance floor and lots of big outdoor lounges. The bands, ADA ODO and THE OKMONIKS start playing and soon its obvious that there are more than just the 50 Were Loud travellers, we are joined by about another 30 or so residents and guests from the island – many of who dance with us all night. I buy this old bloke a beer and found out the next day he was the owner of the venue – the bugger didn’t shout me one back though! Fantastic night – another 3am’er.

We rise late morning Wednesday and explore the island a bit on foot – Jen’s a bit weary so I decide to go for a swim – google maps point me in the direction of one of the local beaches saying it was a 6 min walk, yeah maybe 6 min is you slide straight down the cliff – turn out about a 20 min steep winding path which eventually gets to a stunning little beach – then a 30 min walk back up – not sure it was worth it for a 10 min swim, but hey its another ocean/sea I have swum in.

Click the pics for larger versions
After a picnic (well liquid picnic) on the way down the hill we get the ferry back to the mainland late arvo and board a bus chartered for us to take us inland a bit to Lucera, a quaint little walled town, we arrive a bit later than  expected and are told we have 30 mins to check in and get ready before the bus leaves again to a “country estate” where there will be bands and a “feast” – I ask Pete, the organiser, and he confirms its an outdoor show, so by the time we get checked in and start to get ready we have about 10 min – we check the local weather and it says its going to be 10 degrees tonite and we haven’t really bought clothes for those sort of temps – so we decide to skip this show and stay in town for an amazing meal just 5 mins walk away in the beautiful town square – a few wines and in bed by midnight.
Turns out we dodged a bullet by skipping this show as it was apparently a bit of a shambles as the “estate” turned out to be a paddock and the “feast” turns out to be cold pasta served about midnight with no cutlery! ….and it was very very cold and the bus didn’t return till 2am – many a sore head on our fellow travellers who were all quite jealous of us.
Thursday noon its back on the bus bound for Naples – holy shit what a shambles that city is – so hectic!! – The bus arrives about 5pm and google maps tells us its a 13 min walk to our accomodation so, unsure of dodgy taxis, we decide to hoof it – big mistake – 40 mins later after dragging our bags over ancient cobble stones, up & down steps, thru crazy dangerous traffic we finally get to out accommodation – it looks pretty nice, very large, poor Jen is white and exhausted and I am a lather of sweat and the host insists on giving us a full tour of the apartment, shows how to turn the lights on and off, taps on and off, how the doors close etc etc which take about 10 mins – just when we thought it was over I needed the “key tutorial” 4 keys to get in front door, inner door, 2nd inner door and apartment door. We finally get settled and have quick bath and get a taxi to the bar we are all meeting up at before the show.   Due to govt restrictions (probably at the time Pete was trying to find venues) live music was not allowed in the city so he arranged a large recording studio to host the gigs – a great large soundproof, air conditioned room so it was pretty comfortable.We were told we had to be super quiet so we didn’t disturb the neighbours – that didn’t really matter as when we arrived there was about 1000 kids parting in the street outside – wild scene!

1- Waiting for the bus in Lucera, 2- Festival organisers Pete & Eunice with Serena, 3- our large Naples bathroom, 4- new pals Stacy & Jim from Minnesota,
5- Naples suburbs, 6- ever present My Vesuvius, 7- did I mention the pizza was good?

The bands tonite are TEANIEMAN (NL), BAM!BOX ORCHESTRA, PUSSY LICKERS (Portugal), APOLLO (DE) and SLANDER TOUNGE (DE) another great night. Our other friend from Amsterdam, Menno is the drummer Teanieman band – great to catch up with him too after 15 years or so – good to see we are all stick rockin’.
Friday we take a trip down to Herculaneum – which is a smaller town near Pompeii but apparently much better preserved – simply amazing to be walking around the remains of such a sophisticated city of that time – I reckon today was another 10k’s of walking –  a hot epsom salts baths  and we are ready for the next bout of seriously good times – tontine’s menu includes LAS RATIAS SICODELICAS (Psychedelic Rats) from Argentina – our new friend Pido from Buenos Aires has been talking these guys up & they don’t disappoint. BLOODSHOT BILL (CA) does another raw foot stomping blues set followed by fellow Canadians  country/punkers DEMONS CLAW, then RADSTERS, CONTROL FREAKS (US) and OKMONICKS to round out the night before the DJ’s take their turn – so many great tunes!!
Saturday is the last big night of the festival and features BROWER (US), ADA ODO (BE) TELEKRIMEN from Mexico are simply amazing followed by the wild men from New Zealand THE CAVEMEN then SEMPREFRESKI from Sicily and finally THE RIPOFFS (US) we had seen the Rip Offs before so we left before their set and we were starting to fade. Another huge crowd in the streets on Saturday – traffic is still chaotic even at that hour.



Sunday we have a hangover late lunch and most of the crew that has been travelling with us are in attendance + a few of last nights band members – a crazy Italian gypsy soloist, who is apparently very funny but all the song were in Italian so lost on us, is this arvo’s entertainment along with good meal and lots more booze. Its a very emotional farewell as we say goodbye to our new friends with promises to keep in touch (which is already happening as we have a couple of visitors from the UK coming to stay in mid Nov) so with tears in our eyes we left this wonderful bunch of lunatics to prepare to our, hopefully restful, next 15 days or so of our holiday.
Who were we kidding about restful!! – we hop on a train to Salerno on the Amalfi Coast and have the first class cabin to ourselves – great way to travel! and arrive an hour later in Salerno – 10 min walk to our fantastic waterfront accommodation and then its off to explore the small city – so many great restaurants, shops, cafes and it seems around every corner some stunning relic of the past. Over the whole trip we averaged 7.5km walking per day – one day in Salerno I think we might have done 10 – luckily the traffic isn’t as mad as Napoli and the pace is more relaxed. The 2nd day we jump on the coastal ferry that takes us to the towns of Positano & Amalfi – incredible steep coastline lined with houses that shouldn’t be able to hang there like they do – great places to visit but I’m glad we didn’t stay there as it was super crowded and unbelievably hilly – I was so sick of steps by then!
We took it as a sign that there was a 2 Michelin Star restaurant almost next door and splurged on a magnificent meal (maybe not the best of the trip but bloody good none the less) we stay until Friday which is spent on the move, train back to Naples, Bus to Naples airport, flight to Athens then flight to Thessaloniki – a long day and overnight at a hotel near the airport.
We are in Thessaloniki ( the-salon-iki – said quickly ) in Macedonia, northern Greece . We are so glad we came here, originally we were going to go to Mykonos but due to flight changes it didn’t work out so we decided to come here instead – its a great city, most people can speak English and most restaurants have English versions of their menu which makes life easier. Again so many old relics and great things to see. We catch a local rock band at one of the famous venues here called “Eightball Club” – great venue with enthusiastic crowd. We have great apartment which we have christened the “aspartament” as it has bloody big spa bath sat in the middle of it – and we really take advantage of a spa that actually works (unlike Venice).
Thessaloniki has a great waterfront with cafes and restaurant and we have lunch there a couple of times but there is also an area called Ladadika which is wall to wall restaurants – we chose one and have a reasonably good meal and we do our research for the next few nights and get some amazing seafood meals.
Here and also in Athens, out next stop, we get try many of the Greek classic dishes like spanakopita (feta & spinach in filo) moussaka, dolmades, gyro, souvlaki and some great seafood – and OMG the desserts & pastries!! – Almost every restaurant gives you a free dessert along with a shot of some delicious liquor to finish your meal. We discover a great Tiki bar serving delicious cocktails which is high on a hill overlooking the city so we avail ourselves of a few of their many concoctions. We also visit the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum which has an amazing collection of artifacts.
We board a train on Wed bound for Athens – about 5 hour trip with some spectacular scenery along the way. A short cab ride to our hotel which is pretty much in the centre of the city – a bit touristy close by but a 10 min walk and you are out of the major crowds – yet still very busy. Our hotel has a restaurant & cocktail bar with a fantastic view of the Acropolis and Forum which stand on a large plateau at the centre of the city which is surrounded by large hills.
We get a 2 day ticket for the tourist bus to see the city, which sure beats walking so we get to see a lot of the sights and hop off a few times to explore. We luck into a good music show with pretty much a “super group” of Greek rock & punk musicians who have formed a band called THE HOLY STRANGERS – it’s a great show at an iconic Athens venue that has run live music continuously for over 50 years. We visit the antique markets, the food & fish markets. You wouldn’t believe the range of seafood on offer in Greece. We spend 4 days here and have a great time, although very tiring with so much walking… did I mention the walking?? You’d think with all that walking I wouldn’t have put on weight…. but you’d be wrong – too many pizzas, pasta & pastries i’m afraid.
Sadly we leave Greece of  Sunday for the long trip home – 3 hours at the airport, 6 hour flight, 1 hour in Abu Dhabi, 14 hour flight, overnight in Sydney, 2 hours at the airport and then an hour flight home left us dazed. It’s always nice to come but I could have stayed longer (as always!)
We’ve just heard that Were Loud is on in Italy again next year .. so maybe, just maybe, probably definitely!!
If you are interested there are some more music videos on our YouTube channel – We’re Loud Festival Playlist

and here is  18 minute video photo montage….