2023 – Were Loud Travelling Garage Rock Festival
+ Funtastic Dracula Festival in Spain

Our holiday starts with a few days visiting some quiet seaside towns in the semi-south of Italy – Termoli, Vieste & Mattinata. Mostly relaxing except for a drunken Italian wedding right outside our verandah on the last day in Mattinatta , which was, to say the least, very entertaining. A huge fireworks display about 11.30pm which sacred the shit out of everybody – it sounded like world war three.

On the Friday it was back to Termoli for the Were Loud Pre Party held in a small restaurant. It was great to catch up with people we met last year and meet a few new crazies that we’ll be with for the next 12 days or so.

Temoli sunrise


Hills and alleyways


Next day the 70 or so group moved to Isole Tremiti part of the San Domino islands in the middle of the Adriatic Sea – we came here for one day last year so we kinda knew what to expect – with a 1 hour ferry ride (we drank the ferry dry again like last year!) we arrived at the Island – not looking forward to the huge hill we had to walk up the amazing Eunice (one of the festival organisers) had arranged for Jen & I to go up in the shuttle – there are advantage to being the oldest and having a dodgy knee!

We all checked in at this great hotel and it wasn’t long before the “porch parties” got into full swing – everybody seemed to come prepared within tons of booze and yummy cheeses & snacks. The venue for the gigs was 5 min walk from the hotel and there were a few great restaurants on the way – simply amazing seafood, pasta & pizzas.

Ferry to Termoli

Great views on Tremetti

Awesome beaches

The venue is an old semi outdoor disco that has been there since the 60’s with the same owner (now in his 80’s by the looks of things) and his sons run the place now. The PA is set up under cover with a good sized dance floor which is surrounded by super comfy outdoor lounges & tables so its easy to grab a short rest when needed.

First night bands are Barsexuals (Italy), Inserts (Germany) & Les Lullies (France) with great dj’s in-between and after till about 4am. The dj’s don’t do mixing or stuff like that they just play killer tunes both past & present and really get the place moving. The highlight for me tonite is Les Lullies (they were my favourite last year too) – I was talking to Francois the singer and the drummer and mention my favourite song of theirs was “7am” and they said they had sold that song to “Sex in the City” TV show and so far have made about 10,000 euro off the deal – so its probably their favourite as well!

The hotel has free breakfast until 10am which they had to extend to noon as nobody was really up by 10. The arvos are spent exploring the island and it amazing beaches – long walks down goat tracks to get to the beaches which means people come back with mighty thirsts so by 2pm there are a few picnics in the parks or porch parties on the go with plenty of cold beer and wine.

Saturday night sees Bradpidos V (Italy), Deadbolt (USA), Gentilesky (Itsantbul) & Dadar (Italy) play their sets the last two bands really rock, Gentilesky are on fire! but the standout is one of my favourite bands for many years – Deadbolt – billed as the “scariest band in the world” the music is pretty similar and basic for most songs but the lyrics are darkly hilarious!
The lead singer Harley Davidson (yes that his real name) is a super friendly guy and we have quite a few chats over the few days he is travelling with us.


Giles from Belgium doing his mummy impression

Rev Beatman plays on the ferry dock

Picnic in the park

A quick small world story – one of our friends from Melbourne, who is now a professional Tiki carver, carved his first tiki while staying at our place to the sounds of the Deadbolt album “Tikiman”. He is good friends with the couple from the duo Thee Cha Cha Chas who are playing tomorrow night & are travelling with us. Jen & i hit it off its Lous & Kylie straight away. While Deadbolt is playing the song “Tikiman” he hands the guitar to Lous who is in the front row (not knowing him and weather he could play guitar or not) and Lous does are really subtle Deadbolt impersonation – so its come full circle with Tikiman and can’t wait to show our friend from Melbourne the video of Louis playing “Tikiman” with Deadbolt.

Sunday morning is repeat of Saturday with most people up and about around noon. Tonites show sees Chif Chafs (Belgium) Thee Cha Cha Chas (Aust) & Reverend Beatman (Switzerland) do some great sets. The Chif Chafs are a bunch of crazy Belgians who we met last year on the Were Loud adventure, last year they didn’t play, in fact I didn’t even know they were in a band. They do a great set and get the place jumping. Thee Cha Cha Chas, definitely another favourite of mine – Lous on guitar & drums and Kylie on the bass – their vocals are amazing not just harmonies but its as if their voice combines to be one voice – a really amazing , high energy show. Following them is the whacky Reverend Beatman , a one man band with some crazy lyrics. The Rev owns Voodoo Rhythm Records who I have purchased quite a few albums from. About 10 years ago he had a big tax problem and sent an email to all his customers to see if they could help out – I set him twenty bucks. About 3 months later once he had solved his problem I received a medal in the post (see pic) – it one of my prized possessions – so I had to wear it to his show, I though I might as well dress the part too and most were impressed by my super cool safari suit.

Loius plays with Deadbolt

Me, Harley, Louis, Kylie, Peter & Jen

Voodoo Rhythm medal

Brett & The Reverend Beatman

Beatman can sleep anywhere!

Monday arvo we caught the ferry back to the mainland and boarded our bus to Rome. A five hour journey and we need to find our accomodation – well it wasn’t that close and it was pretty basic – kookily decorated (which we like) but a lot of stuff doesn’t work, its 5 flights up (not good with a stuffed knee & heavy bags!) ratty old towels, no soap … i could go on but won’t. We need some cash so its a 20 min walk in the opposite direction to tonights gig but we manage to find an ATM and spot a nice looking restaurant over the road – after a great pizza and a couple of drinks we walk the 1/2 hour or so to the venue which is super packed – not just the 70 or so Were Louders but heaps of Rome locals as well. We catch up with our friends Rachael & Tiberio (who we met last year and who came and visited us for Jen’s birthday last year) The gig venue is so stiflingly hot so we don’t see much of the bands but we sit out the other bar and have a great time catching up.

The next day we have to get a train to the port for our ferry to Barcelona – we catch up with Rachael & Tiberio again at the big food court near the station – they insist on us trying as many Roman food delicacies as we can eat. Every 10 mins or so one of us goes off and buys a dish – by the end we are super full and get to out train in time to meet a few other Were Louders heading in the same direction.

Pido from Argentina

Naps on the bus to Benidorm

Pizza Roma !!

Rachael & Tiberio in Rome

After much confusion at the dock we finally get to the big ferry to take us on the 22 hour journey to Barcelona. We don’t board till about 10pm so by the time we get our cabins and freshen up it time for the gig at midnight. Les Lullies play first followed by Finale (Spain) then Sick Thoughts (New Orleans) – The Okmonicks (USA) are supposed to play but at 3.30am and they ask if they can play tomorrow (wise move!).

The boat was pretty grim to say the least – the included breakfast was a small yoghurt, a stale croissant and a tiny cup of coffee, fruit & additional coffees were extra! The crew were pretty rude too but as we have such a good natured bunch we laugh most of it off. Okmoniks play a great set in the arvo and we dock in Barcelona about 10pm. Jen & I skip the show tonite as the gig is half over by the time we get to our hotel – so we get a bit of rest before the next festival  – Fantastic Dracula Carnival in Spain.

Apt description for the boat

Les Lullies on a day off

Okmoniks rockin’ the boat

Penelope Disco entrance

A rock venue with a pool !!

I haven’t really mentioned the people on this journey – they are seriously some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Coming from Belgium, Germany, South America, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, Italy, Turkey, USA and other far reaches they all have a passion for this niche type of music. We all have fun telling stories of gigs, celebrity brushes, travel incidents & other drunken exploits. Again we are the oldest people on the trip but this time there is one other Aussie couple, Louis & Kylie from the band Thee Cha Cha Chas.
In the morning we board our bus to Benidorm, just near Valencia. It’s a fun trip with a few pit stops for beers & toilets. Benidorm is a whacky place – its a favourite holiday destination for older English people . The town is full of fat poms, many on motorised scooters which buzz around full speed not caring who they frighten the shit out of.

The Dracula festival has been going for about 20 years – we went to the 3rd one in 2007 and had a ball – it was much smaller then, about 400 people, and held in Valencia. This year there are almost 2000 people and the festival sold out in a mater of hours. Pete & Eunice who run Were Loud have a long connection with the woman who runs the Funtastic Dracula Festival and are able to secure a bunch of tickets for the Were Loud people. The venue Penelope Discoteque is one of the best venues we have ever seen. Its been there since the 60’s and is HUGE. The main room, which has several levels and a high stage holds the big crowd comfortably. There is also a very large outdoor area that has a mezanine level the whole way around. This area is mostly for the DJ’s who, again, spin some cracking tunes. There are a couple of other smaller rooms and even a swimming pool with glass sides which gets pretty hectic as the night goes on.

The festival has an great array of bands including The Scientists (Aust), Way Los Arrrrghs (Spain), Mudd Club (UK) The Jackets (Holland) Thee Cha Cha Chas (Aust) Okmonics (USA), Kid Congo Powres, New Bomb Turks (USA) and the Make Up plus a heap more and about 4o different DJ’s who play all night and each night finishes about 9am the next day – we never make it that far and are usually home by about 2-3am.

Friday 13th is dress up night and boy were there some great costumes Jen went as the Day of the Death air hostess and I as a zombie Steve Irwin. There were Fankenstiens, Beetlejuice, Pig Woman and many more.

Our Friday 13th gear

Our German pals

More Crazy outfits


Our friends from last year Jim and Stacey had been to Benidorm before and took us around in their rented Noddy car for some great Tapas. The festival being so big it was hard to keep track of our We’re Loud pals but our WhatsApp group enabled us to all get together a few times, once for a group photo.

The last night of the festival was huge and they have a tradition that the festival ends (usually about 9 the next morning) with a huge explosion of confetti – this is evident as we walk into town the next day – there is confetti from one end of town to the other. Eunice posted a pic of her shoes covered in confetti and said “it looks like I kicked a rainbow home last night”

I don’t know how Pete and Eunice do it – organising 70 semi drunk, semi punks all the way, not missing a beat and staying happy and looking non-stressed most of the time. Last year were were a bit apprehensive about how it would all work – but this year we (wisely) put out faith in our illustrious leaders and although it was exhausting is was an amazing trip.

We got a flight back to Barcelona and spent a few days relaxing before flying home – which was a mega trip as we missed a connecting flight in China and spent 12 hours hanging around a Chinese airport. I think the trip home was about 45 hours without sleep.

While it was good to get home we can’t wait to do it all again!

Jen & Sarah from Switzerland

Our pals Jim & Stacy from the Minnesota

David from the Chiff Chaffs (Belgium)

Jim & the Noddy car

Melanie in her Cha Cha Chas scarf

Our pals from Romania & Netherlands

Sweet Mexican friends

Jen & I with Pete & Eunice

Here is a 20 min video/photo collage…. enjoy!!

and here is a link  my Youtube Channel with lots more video from this year and many other trips