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The heavy pushes Zamora with the metal festival Z! Live | Culture

by News Room
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The heavy metal has conquered Zamora with uniformed troops. Hordes of soldiers Black men, with dark clothing despite the fact that the heat is getting worse with the approach of summer, take positions. Long hair abounds, the hosts greet each other with camaraderie and with index and little fingers raised like horns, and beer flows among this species of thirsty Cossacks. The thousands of men, women and many children who arrived in Zamora civilly discover the Romanesque wonders, the weight of Holy Week and the glorious gastronomy hours before approaching the stage to tear their throats and shake their necks to unsuspected limits. The ‘Heavy Z!’ festival Live’ has broken its records thanks to the faithful of a genre that is marginalized on general radio but still has thousands of coreligionists. Some 30,000 people, half of the Zamorano census, have attended Z! attracted by international myths such as Europe, Avantasia or Kreator along with national groups such as Leo Jiménez, Obús or Opera Magna. With them, an economic impact of five million euros, Potosí in a place of few prosperity.

The landing of metal is felt in the streets. Here, a menu of the day called “Menú Z! Live”, with Zamoran-style rice or salad and grilled cod or Roquefort sirloin, dessert and drink for 20 euros. The outfits corroborate the thematic week: mythological imagery, demons of all kinds, skulls galore and gothic calligraphy accompany illustrious names for the group: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Metallica galore, Zenobia, AC/DC, Marea and Saurom, among others. many other bands. The black boots and dark clothing represent visitors like Amaia Muruamendianaz, 49, and Conchi Gómez, 55. Both friends have arrived on the banks of the Duero River from Mondragón (Gipuzkoa), where they know something about metal, and the bracelets Their wrists show attendance at many events like this.

Other years they went to Barcelona, ​​but for the last two years they have opted for Z!; In 2023 the rain dampened their expectations and they come to this event again wanting to make up for it and bounce and scream watching Hammerfall or Avantasia, two highlights of the lineup. “It’s a very friendly, very pretty city, now full of heavies,” thanks Muruamendianaz, joking with her friend about the looks they keep getting when walking around. “It is a small and well-organized festival,” Gómez applauds shortly before heading to the special bus enabled by the City Council to transport this musical and social gathering to the esplanade. Inside, more black clothing among the passengers, many of them metal veterans, somewhat roasted when the sun scorches the windows.

A Festival goer drinks beer from a horn.Emilio Fraile

“We are people of peace”

The musical dream began in 2016 thanks to a group of heavies wanting to stir the cultural atmosphere of the city. Today, its commitment to a sustainable model and with stronger bands year after year, but without crowding the lineup or saturating the public, has translated into public support and trust in tour promoters of recognized groups. Andrés Cid, one of the three organizing partners, highlights the deployment of the men in black since the beginning of the week: there are people who have been coming since Monday — the event runs from Thursday to Saturday — and are entertained by tourism and talks or concerts premises offered by the organization. “People have gotten used to it, we behave very well, we are very nice, we don’t bother, the black goes outside and we are people of peace,” celebrates Cid, because in the past the local population, only accustomed to the dark fabrics of the procession of Jesús Nazareno, popularly known as the one with the drunks, was surprised by so many black t-shirts. Another member, Javier Hernández, exemplifies this: “I have African-American friends who are crazy about Holy Week and the hoods, for those here it is the same.”

His colleague estimates that in 2024, thanks to the good weather without too much heat, there will be 30,000 attendees and an impact of five million euros. “It has a lot of impact in such an abandoned province,” he adds, as thousands of spectators stay in the surrounding area and discover Zamora, a rare gem in tourist guides. The Z! Live takes the opportunity to promote local products and work with local companies, although the size of the scenarios causes the hiring of specialized entities, since there are no Zamora companies with such capacity. Mythical groups like Europe have meant that many locals, perhaps not as heavy as classic rockers, have signed up, something not so common.

Z Live Rock
11/22/2023 Zamora. Andrés Cid and Javier Hernández, promoters of the Zlive heavy metal festival.Emilio Fraile

Even the bars adapt to these clients eager for beer and food: “The bars become heavies Suddenly, there is little reggaeton and techno and a lot of rock and heavy, they are converted to bring joy to their visitors.” The festival coincides with the Tapa Fair and some chef, as in La pinta de oro, has joined the wave: the pincho Back in black, nod to AC/DC, conquers palates. There is still time to see bands like this, or Metallica or Iron Maiden, Andrés Cid accepts: they would attract such a volume of people that they could overwhelm Zamora. They prefer to be cautious and prepare so as not to die of success.

The mayor, Francisco Guarido (Izquierda Unida), highlights the economic weight and “the musical quality” of a genre that is sometimes prejudged but very much to the councilor’s taste: “Anything that involves noise and a lot of guitar suits me. These bring the front liners and occupy all the hotels, they are people with special attire, beards, leather, long hair… such a conservative city is getting used to it. The prototype that is conflictive is quite the opposite, there were never any incidents and they have an acceptable purchasing power.” The open pocket is confirmed in the Z! field: the bars work without respite but without long queues, with a diverse audience: from rude descendants of Vikings with intimidating tattoos and drinking from horns to mothers breastfeeding their offspring or gentlemen who look like officials from the Post Office taking their horns out for a walk.

The familiarity of the party is noticeable even in performances by legendary bands. The Swedes Europe, with almost 50 years of career and 25 million records sold, greet the crowd with a friendly “What’s up, nice people!”, welcomed with a roar surprised by their courtesy. In the front line, a woman of retirement age, a concept unknown in rock, goes crazy and makes her perm tremble; in the background, stalls where you can taste Zamoran-style rice.

Moment from the Eluveitie concert at the Z!  Live Rock Festival in Zamora, last Thursday.
Moment from the Eluveitie concert at the Z! Live Rock Festival in Zamora, last Thursday.Emilio Fraile

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