Having first landed back in 1999 with a bill topped by extreme metal legends Emperor, Poland's Mystic Festival has grown and grown with each passing year to become one of Europe's most essential heavy metal destinations each summer.
This year, the latest incarnation of Mystic took place last weekend, from June 2-4, in the unique (and metal as hell!) surroundings of the Gdańsk Shipyard, with unmissable headline sets from British heavy metal gods Judas Priest, prog metal overlords Opeth and the reunited metal legends, Mercyful Fate, led as always by the mighty King Diamond.
The rest of the bill was a stacked smorgasbord of metal heavyweights, featuring the likes of Mastodon, Killing Joke, Saxon, Katatonia, Mayhem, Vader, Igorrr, Benediction, Baroness, Witchcraft, Kvelertak, Tribulation, The Raven Age, Brutus, Svalbard, Raging Speedhorn, Bleed From Within and a special festival warm-up show from the legendary Tom G Warrior!
"It's a dream come true that we are able to put together all those bands," says Michał Wardzała, head of the Mystic Festival production team and the man who founded the festival, in an exclusive interview with Metal Hammer. "It's all in an old, historic shipyard, and the infrastructure there is just, 'Wow!'. It's perfect. Some people wonder, 'Did they build it just for the festival?' because it fits so well. It's a huge area with different buildings, a big main stage area...it's magic."
Watch the rest of our special interview with Michał Wardzała to find out what else makes Mystic stand out from the pack below.