My, how time flies! Plenty has changed since then. We no longer use the BW&BK moniker, preferring the shortened Brave Words, thanks to the restrictions of Internet safe searches. Like some of the bands, the print mag is kaput, but with new personnel, the website continues on, an internationally recognized bastion of heavy metal. Like I said, similar to some of the acts that performed that weekend!
June 13th-15th, 2003, our first attempt at a multi-day show, is still mentioned in revered tones, by fans/bands that were there. Plenty of exclusives, it raised the flagging profile of a few established groups, all but ignored by the music media/industry. Others, like most of the European acts, at that time couldn't get arrested in the USA, let alone secure an offer to play. Since then, some of those who performed at the inaugural fest (as well as successive years) have become regular visitors to our shores: Katatonia, Primal Fear, Evergrey, Doro, Grave Digger, etc. Then again, there were those who you'll probably never see again, in one form or another: Candlemass w/ Messiah Marcolin, Trouble, fronted by Eric Wagner and. sadly, don't even get me started about Nevermore. RIP Warrel.
In those days, people watched the show. There was no YouTube or cell phone capable of capturing video, so for those too young (or too drunk) to remember, here's a pictorial gallery from year #1, courtesy of renown photographer Jeremy Saffer.