Hard Rock Laager 2008 - Vana-Vigala, Estonia, 27-28.06.2008

Event: Hard Rock Laager Festival
Written by: destroyah
Published: 07.07.2008


Hard Rock Laager 2008 - Vana-Vigala, Estonia, 27-28.06.2008 by Ivor (96)

„The horror… the horror…" - Col. Walter E. Kurtz

I was shivering all over, fighting a vicious hangover. It was bad. It was one of those cunning hangovers - there were no violent physical reactions nor spasms, oh no. This was different. This shit was something new. It was one of those hangovers that never fully explode, yet make your life miserable. I had retained my mobility and my ability to verbalize to an almost normal extent. But sophisticated speech was utterly stuck in a cobweb of miniscule irritants and whipped steadily by a slight throbbing sensation in the back of my head.

It didn't attack me straight away. I remember behaving in a rather adequate manner in the morning. I even managed to stand upright halfway through Tiss, a rather mediocre, yet somewhat entertaining Kiss tribute band. But by the time Melmac took the stage, I was already on my fours. I remember being terribly upset by this - I had planned on enjoying their riff-rock set to the fullest extent, but I couldn't do it. As that weren't enough, the Weatherman had decided to treat the festival with a savage downpour of trillion-gallons-per-inch rain. In fact, it was the rain that announced the arrival of the Mother of All Hangovers.

By the time I got back to my tent (due to unexpected complications with my ability to clothe myself properly, i did so thrice), I was soaking wet. It was then that the throbbing feeling in my brain decided to apply slight pressure on my diafragm. In complete disarray, my instincts were barking incoherent orders, generally accepted by my Tactical Field Space Manipulators (that is to say, arms) as orders to consume more alcohol. Unfortunately the orders were carried out, as I set forth to catch Taak live before passing out. I had to see Taak. I didn't want to fall under the sway of my natural tendency to utterly fail in all my enterprises.


I suddenly remembered what had taken place the previous day. Ugly scenes emerged from the depths of my brain, now almost completely overrun by the forces of Evil. The booming rhythms of Taak's ugri-doom metal were the last line of defense between my revolting nervous system and the central core of reason, common sense and good conduct. My prefrontal cortex suddenly pulled an "Arc Light" mission on it's own position. It was „Broken Arrow" - I knew I was fucked. With Taak's morbid riffs as my guardians, I went deeper into my subconscious - my happy place.

My happy place however, was anything but. It was incoherent and schizophrenic. The last good memory I had from the first day of the festival was the gig by Leech. I had been relatively sober. I remember having enjoyed the band. It's sweet progressive sound with a stoner twist had been kind to my ears… and my brain. And then there had been Witchcraft.


The images of the band's intoxicating and brilliant performance quickly became smudged. To my great horror I suddenly remembered having interviewed them. Or at least, I had tried to interview them. In fact, it was because of them that I missed Primordial's gig. I had undertaken the interview with only the best intentions in my mind. I remember Ivor taking care of the tape recorder, since I had been somewhat impaired. I remember having walked in a relatively straight line. I had been in an elevated mood.

In a very elevated mood…

I had charged the band head on with full confidence in my collective abilities. I had a plan, and it was gonna be brilliant. But everything went wrong. I remember asking the same three questions time and time again. I insisted on knowing more about the band than the guys themselves. I remember laughing. I had spilled someone's beer, or at least, I think it had been a beer. It may not, however, have been real at all. I did have a good time though. I had approached the drug-issue with a clear intent of getting the band to admit to the use of nothing less than some serious A-class shit. What was I thinking? What kind of a psychotic bastard would torture an innocent doom band? Was I a man, or a beast?

I felt repulsed. My prefrontal cortex was trying to assure me that I had conducted my business in an orderly and acceptable manner, and then moved on. But I knew I hadn't. Witchcraft's crew was constantly trying to tell me that the band is in a hurry to get back to Sweden. But I didn't listen, oh no. I stayed there, yabbering on like a madman.

But in my tiny universe, at least, I was rocking.

I approached Ivor on the subject after Taak's set and an hour-long power nap. We went over the tape. Aside from a few deep drunken sighs, nothing in my voice showed signs of severe intoxication. At least I had made it abundantly clear to Witchcraft that I had enjoyed their show. Ivor's bemused comments and positive attempts to rebuild my battered self-esteem didn't manage to fully hide the more serious undertone, which, had he decided to voice it, would have sounded something like this:

„I'm not entirely sure that this interview should ever see the light of day."

I was in no mood for exchanging subtleties though, therefore I gloriously marveled at my faux-facade of a halfway decent rock journalist. As I imagined receiving a medal of commendation from the president, I suddenly felt a craving for coffee. I realized that it was coffee that I had been missing. it was the only thing that could end the reign of terror in my brain.

Now, on it's own, Vana-Vigala is a real nice little village. It's soviet-era concrete monsters are almost completely hidden behind a heavy brush. It's atmosphere of nowhere-patriotism make it almost redneck-ish. But the coffee, albeit served in a rather undelightful paper cup, was a bliss. I enjoyed the living shit out of it. I felt alive again and surely enough, a sip of ice cold beer launched me into high gear. All the mischiefs and errs of the previous day were beginning to dissipate. I finished my beer and left my troops behind, since I simply couldn't wait for them. Unlike me, they had already emptied a couple of cases of beer in the morning and were now behaving increasingly irresponsibly. I needed to avoid being sucked back into the vortex.

As I was walking back towards the general festival area, i remembered something - a scapegoat. I knew it had been Götter who had made me drink "Minttu" the night before. Admittedly, there had been a touch of voluntary action at work, but I didn't care. I grabbed a small piece of paper from my pocket and scribbled down a note, stating the necessity of assassinating Götter, as well as an open-ended short discussion over the bounty soon to be proposed on his head. I put the paper back in my pocket - revenge is a dish best served cold.

It will be most satisfactory when Götter is a hundred years old and toothless, sipping on juice-soaked porridge and listening to Ahab, when with a silent squeak his retirement home apartment door will swing open and a gloved hand wielding a silenced Smith&Wesson delivers it's deadly load to the back door of his face.

I squealed with delight - my plan was brilliant. But as said before, it would have to wait. I was running late - House of Games was about to take the main stage and I knew they were gonna be brilliant.

I was delayed en route. I had spotted a couple of friends and I approached them with a clear intent of getting them to the see the next band. It was then that I encountered the only hostile individual during the entire festival. He was completely hammered. As I tried to wake up one of my friends, he angrily demanded that I left the poor bloke alone and left.

„No no, he's a friend of mine," I calmly explained.

The guy was highly irritable. He constantly kept interrupting me whilst I was talking to another friend. Upon realizing that I wasn't paying any attention to him, he exclaimed:

„I am a fucking tiger! You should lock me up in a cage!"

I was terrified. It was the gayest threat I had ever heard in my life. The poor bastard must have realized that himself - he fell back to his seat, drooled violently and crash-landed his head on the tabletop.

I left the sleeping tiger behind.

House of Games had made it's Estonian comeback just the previous year. I remember driving around and hearing one specific song over and over again and enjoying it thoroughly. I had been rather surprised when I learned that the band was an Estonian one, because it had sounded great. I think before returning to Estonia, House of Games even toured the U.K. with W.A.S.P.. I wasn't sure though, so I asked Ivor.

He didn't exactly verify.

I don't know why I enjoyed House of Games so much but it may have been due to the fact that by the time they took the stage I had fully mended myself. I had used all my remaining brain cells to smother the pain receptors, leaving my Cranium Spaceship in the very capable hands of the red blood cells, alcohol and air. In retrospect that didn't seem like such a good idea - I forgot how to stop grinning and retained my imbecile smile for a whole of ten minutes after HoG's vocalist had tumbled and fallen on stage.

I was further entertained by the fact that House of Games ditched the encores since their new guitarist hadn't learned all their songs yet.

I tried to remember last night and after digging around in my head I discovered there had been one more set I had thoroughly enjoyed, to put it mildly - No-Big-Silence. Aside from their usual atomic show, they had a surprise - a duet with the local „Idols" winner. It was a cover of Lacuna Coil's „Swamped", and it sounded great. I remember having pranced about like a pony (or a little girl). It didn't matter, since it was dark and no-one could see me behaving in such a ridiculous manner. Unfortunately I had further attracted attention by not being able to retain my balance.

After House of Games wrapped things up, I decided to inspect the various stalls littering the festival grounds. Most of them offered food and other useless things. I was somewhat bemused to see what all the merchants had dragged to the festival. There was a tent in which you could pose for a picture on a superbike. In another you could pose on a dirtbike. There was also an old American car but judging by the looks on the owners' faces I do think they would've rather minded if anybody climbed on top of their ride.

The most redundant booth sold gothic accessories and pins. I actually felt like buying all the pins, thus making me the most pinned man in the world. I would win the Guinness prize and spend all my winnings at the Jack Daniels stall, wherein, upon winning all the Jack Daniels prizes, I would become the deadest man in the world. The possibilities were endless.

For once, I felt, the Universe was a fantastic place.

Due to certain physiological processes however, I became the most craving for a toilet man in the world.

The immediate vicinity of the toilets was teeming with carbon-based lifeforms who sported fancy craniums and were capable of articulated speech, war and summoning fire - that is to say, humans. I carefully laid down my drink near the door of one of the porter-potty's.

Now, normally they advise you not to leave your drink out of view because of the possibility of it being saturated with various drugs in your absence. This is wrong. I opened the restroom door and hinted to the standers by:

„I sure hope nobody puts no drugs in my drink while I'm taking a leak."

I stepped in.

I started singing out loud:

„pussy pussy pussy marijuaa-naaaa…"

I waited.

„pussy, pussy…"

I stepped out.

I could tell by the frightened faces of the people that my drink was still uncontaminated. I looked at them sternly and walked back to the festival area.

This sucked - I remember the good old days when public transport was cheap, morality was absent, morale was high and free samples of heroin were handed out to kindergarten kids, raising an entire generation of HIV-powered battle-machines bent on reckless destruction and galactic conquest.

As I briefly inspected Hate on the „Jack Daniels" stage, my thoughts drifted once again to the activities of the previous night. I suddenly remembered something. On my way to the festival I had chatted to a girl on the bus. She had almost definitely been pretty. However, I also remembered losing sight of her immediately after disembarking. I had been somewhat disappointed. I was now convinced that she may inadvertently have been the reason behind my excessive behavior the night before. Or at least she could have been held partially accountable for it.

There were other things…

Foolishly I had also entered a Jack Daniels contest. An unfamiliar black cap and a fancy goblet in my tent further testified to some sort of abusive behavior. I knew then that my peace was only temporary, and fragile. I didn't yet know that later that night, Ivor would plant in my head a new imaginary friend who quite possibly may have gone by the name of Timmy.

But for now, the cease-fire persisted.

I felt guilty. I remembered the days when I was younger and had a fail-safe organism - every time i tried doing something remotely excessive and irresponsible, it had shut down my body. But not anymore - at some obscure point (which may as well have been my college induction party), something, some unknown higher force had disconnected the fail-safe circuits, leaving me defenseless and giving me the undesirable ability to dance like no-one's watching.

My body had been turned into a free-for-all battleground from hell, sponsored by „Captain Morgan's".

„Maybe," I thought „, I have Lupus?"

I looked towards the stage. Hate's typical Polska death metal wasn't particularly intriguing.

„What the hell," I said „, is Lupus?"

I may have voiced it at a higher volume than intended, as people peered worriedly at me. I left in a hurry. Despite the civil unrest inside, I felt good. I hoped Impaled Nazarene would lift me higher. It didn't. In fact, it rather dragged my spirits down a bit.

I was trying to convince Ivor how Impaled Nazarene sounded much better on CD than in concert when I got an anonymous tip about Watain getting ready to perform. I would later be extremely thankful for that recommendation as I had not planned on seeing the band at all. It would have been a grave mistake and a serious dereliction of duty, because Watain was simply excellent.

Normally I'm discouraged by the term „black metal" these days. I tend to shift aside any bands carrying the Mark of Satan with extreme prejudice. But Watain was different - it had the kick, it had the oomph.

It was, in every sense of the term, „fucking heavy".

Watain was still playing in my head when we were wrapping up the festival after Amorphis. The finns, too, had put on a good show, which offered a nice cross-selection of their career. Being a heathen bastard and a non-purist, I had particularly enjoyed their „Silent Waters" material. Still, I left the festival area shortly before the encores - a decision I'd later grow to regret whilst finishing up our alcohol supplies and plotting to destroy all cattle in the county.

The plot to kill all cattle in the entire county was a brilliant one. We would dress up as wolves and drive the herds to the river, in doing so sinking the bastards and rafting their carcasses downstream into oblivion.

„Oblivion" was going to be me, armed with a fishing net. We would fish the hoofed monsters out of the river, butcher the corpses and have a massive barbecue frenzy. For reasons unknown, the plan never went to action.

Even though my primal urge to slaughter herbivores was unquenched, I felt fine. The night was going smoothly, mainly because we didn't have anything to drink. We talked about using birth control pills to reverse-engineer babies into nanobots. The idea was fairly simple - we reckoned that if one fed enough birth control pills to an infant, it would un-grow at first to the fetal stage, then become an egg and after that, through certain very complicated processes, into a nanobot, in theory capable of self-replication and bringing about technological singularity.

Either that, or pubic hair by the age of two.

We briefly theorized about using birth-control pills on nanobots before finally calling it a night and crawling to our designated tents.

It was then that Timmy, my new imaginary friend would make his appearance.

He attacked just when I was about to fall asleep. He woke me up in a rather vulgar manner. Apparently, he was angry because I had missed Metsatöll's gig. He had wanted to see the show, but due to astral restrictions (he was tied to my biosphere) he couldn't.

Timmy was very upset.

I explained to him very elegantly, that every Estonian metalhead has already seen Metsatöll live a thousand times. It was undisputed statistics, pure and simple.

Timmy didn't listen.

I reminded him that I had actually seen the beginning of the show and while it had been impressive and that Metsatöll had done well to kickstart the crowd, I had to leave the area and that he should shut up and appreciate me for letting his astral ass hang around my personal space at all.

Timmy was enraged by my petulant mannerisms.

Timmy had a gun.

I reconsidered my position and apologized.

Timmy lowered his weapon and I quickly swatted him with an astral copy of Aldous Huxley's „The Doors of Perception".

As a result, Timmy suffered a severe case of astral deadness.

From his astral grave he sang a lullaby to me. I knew deep down inside Timmy had been a decent friend. He was a good spirit. he had just gone down the bad road, that's all. The lullaby went as follows:

From wretched seas, ancient scrolls arise
Telling tales of doom, and a whale
A white whale!
Holy Grail!

May this whale be
The Mother Unicorn

carry you to the Rainbow…


I was examining the notes I had made the following morning. The fuck were we to do? Technically we we're supposed to lay there under the scorching sun and wait for the bus to arrive. I had wasted my last cash on those precious beers last night during one of our scavenging raids. That included the bus fare. Somehow I knew this posed a problem.

The notes were hand-written. I had originally intended to bring along an old typewriter, but I couldn't secure one. It would've made things so much easier, since I hadn't used a pen since high school. A typewriter would have enabled me to lay down my thoughts in a coherent manner, it would've been foolproof. I shared this thought with a friend.

I thought it was brilliant.

He thought it was retarded.

In fact, just before leaving Tallinn, he had made a similar remark about my notebook. Admittedly he had just said what I hadn't wanted to admit - he foresaw my condition and the temporary illiteracy caused by it.

He knew

My train of thought was briefly interrupted as we received word we could get back to Tallinn in a car, on the condition that we acted swiftly and started putting together the tent immediately. Otherwise we'd get left behind.

I calmly lit a cigarette and indulged myself in my notes.

They were beyond incomprehensible. They weren't even real letters. In order to decrypt them, I'd need to apply for anthropology at a university, get a masters degree, travel back in time via a freak-wormhole and study my inscriptions. What little I managed to make out was terrifying. I had drawn a picture of a Spaceman. At the time, apparently, it had withheld some significance, but I couldn't remember what it was.

I put down the notes. I thought about the past two days.

Hard Rock Laager had been a hurricane, a whirlwind of chaotic images. It had been a row of pleasant mishaps - the crowd, that occasionally diminished to the size of a small party of apocalypse survivors. To further illustrate the sight - you could literally sit in front of the stage at times. I didn't mind though, cause standing up is far too cliché. There had been a more pressing concern - the water container had been carefully hidden from view, making it almost impossible for even the most skilled pathfinder to locate it.

The toilets, however, were awesome.

A friend asked me what would I have done if we hadn't managed to score a car, since he had seen me throw my remaining cash in the wind the night before. I didn't answer him - I was too tired to talk. Also, I really didn't have an answer for him. Apparently this had been one of those instances where my impulsiveness had overrun my rationality. In complete silence, we boarded the car.

I was thinking about the bands - Witchcraft had been excellent. Watain likewise. Somehow I had expected a lot from Charon. I had recognized their sound when they took the stage. I had heard the band before, but not remembering them was not a good sign. Indeed they had proved to be uninteresting - maybe I was just low on estrogen.

Sõpruse Puiestee had been a fun addition to the billing. I had been surprised that a soft band had climbed up the timetable and ended up right next to Amorphis, but darn it all if it hadn't been fantastic live.

The traffic cop saw us first. Thankfully I wasn't driving, but my relief was short-lived due to the fact that our ride lacked the compulsory seat belts. The saloon may also have given off a hint of a recent alcohol abuse. I watched annoyed as the cop made our driver take the breathalyzer test. He didn't fail, as the reading turned out to be a mere 0.07. I though the cop would be satisfied and we'd soon be on our way again. I desperately needed to get to bed. But the cop wouldn't let it fly. I imagine he must've been real bored. Maybe he was just trying to make new friends?

„Well, it's only 0.07, so that's normal," he said and then added „, but I bet your blood stream is looking worse."

I felt annoyed again. Why wouldn't he just let us drive on? If I had wanted to learn a lesson I wouldn't have failed my driving exam on three consecutive times.

„I advise you to drive to the nearest rest stop and get a healthy meal. Also, you need to drink lots of water - a liter and a half should do the trick."

I knew it! Finally I had in my hands conclusive proof that the cops are working for the fast food industry, luring in unsuspecting motorists for them. Undeniable proof of the Security-Catering Complex.

„Anyways, you're below the limit. But if you were to have an accident on your way home… your fault or not, it'd be bad. You wouldn't want that, would you?"

The driver replied no and pondered briefly over the fast-food option. The cop veered off to his next victim. The car slid into gear.

„Fuck it," I said „, pedal to the metal."

See the rest of the gallery here.



Comments: 12   Visited by: 124 users
07.07.2008 - 16:58
a buddy of mine managed to see only one and a half bands (Taak and the first half of Amorhpis). The rest of the bands were deemed inferior to drinking beer on the camping site

Overall, the Laager was excellent. I saw all the bands I wanted to see (thanks to not drinking myself mindless) and even met a few people I hadn't seen since Hard Rock Laager 2007.
My mind is sharp, like a razors edge, my soul's gone mad.
07.07.2008 - 20:08
According to the independent survey conducted on site you may or you may not be having issues. Either that or Timmy was or was not real. However, the survey reaches the conclusion that making sense is strictly optional.

Seriosly, though, I had a great time at the fest. Lots of great bands and lots of great people. I wish I had a videocamera to record the interview you did with Witchcraft. Would have been fun. It is true that at first I thought that that interview shouldn't see the light, at least not in the form it was conducted. However, I'm starting to think otherwise. It wasn't like you were incoherent or something, drunk and elevated - yes. But the text was quite ok. I bet the band hadn't had the interview like that yet.

Anyways, thanks to all the people who make the event possible. It was fun.

No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
07.07.2008 - 21:27
I'm glad you got away from Laager in one piece and give you kudos on the adventurous insights of your inner mind you have just shared with us

I must say that sitting in front of the stage and listening to Leech and House of Games was extremely fun and chill. As you put it, standing up on a metal show is such a cliché. Leech was my big discovery I took with me from the Laager as I haven't had the pleasure before of being stimulated by the organized noise they produced. Leech's singer will ever be remembered as a guy in a pink blouse and purple sneakers, drinking red wine and singing quite well, at least in my mind.

If there would have been one band I would have liked to interview, it would have been House of Games. Wonder what happened to their guitar, Kalle Vilpuu, the guitar of also Ultima Thule, Estonian rock masters. Their new guitarist was somebody called Erki and the funniest thing was that they said he had only joined the band the day before the gig. So the guy who had practiced the songs for two days gave a better performance then most other guitars on the whole fest. Respect!

I don't know, if it has been universally accepted standard all these years or just my own little discovery, but to my mind the more the guys paint their faces, the more uninteresting their music was. And I was quite surprised to have seen 4 or so bands actually doing full white-black makeups. Somehow my thought processing unit had convinced me those Kiss-like funny faces belonged to the "superhits of the 80s". Obviously I had miserably been deceived by my frontal lobe. All these years!

Bringing girls on the stage was a bold move by Tiss, but as they were the first band of the second day, the people were still fighting their hangovers. Read the summarizing article above

Another insight I would like to share with you, is that there seemed to be a huge weirdly-clean-person-attractor in the central corner of the toilets outside the tenting area as it seemed that every other toilet was visited by a person affected by the infamous Explosive Excretion Syndrome, increasingly a problem during the festival near you.

My addition to this review wouldn't be complete without some whining addressed to the staff of Laager - why wasn't there any possibility to wash yourself near the tents? The only water container was inside the festival area near the sauna. What is this? A big "go to sauna you dirty bastards" advertising campaign? Am I supposed to go wash myself when the first band already starts as you didn't let anyone into the festival area before.

Also I would like to inquire about the reasons behind the absence of Jägermeister. I'm sure I wasn't the only one hungering after some multiple shots of the good old and nice cold J.

But finally all the happenings during the fest helped it make a wonderful experience and everyone found something interesting for themselves. Amorphis and No-Big-Silence are really great live bands I must say.

A cherry on top for me was the appearance of Estonian new "Idol" Jana Kask with No-Big-Silence on the stage singing Lacuna Coil's Swamped. Month ago when I happened to catch them on tv doing the same song, I thought to myself: "Cram, man. The only correct move here is to take Jana and do it again in the Laager." And what do you know - somebody actually had some sense in them. Nice

Thanks guys and see you next year.
08.07.2008 - 01:58
Baz Anderson
You have a nice ability to write and just make it highly interesting. This isn't so much a review of a festival, but like a nicely written journal or something.. I haven't learnt about the bands that played at the festival here, but I have been thoroughly entertained for the best part of an hour roaming through this. I only read this because you wrote it, hahaha.

Seriosuly, you have a gift or writing.. you should try and find a way for using it more.
08.07.2008 - 09:11
@ Ivor - ...and kudos to you for the awesome pics!

@ mrt - kudos on the nice addition

@ Baz - yea, I tried to give only a very brief account of the bands in general terms. Otherwise I would've had to add another thousand words to the article and I just couldn't be bothered with that
About me:

"The best out of all the people ever" - Washington Post

"We abandoned Christ for Destroyah's love!" - The Watchtower

"Simply amazing!" - Rolling Stone
08.07.2008 - 14:02
Erotic Stains
Uhhh, Watain! They're crushing live!!!
08.07.2008 - 22:23
Mr. Noise
Seriously dude, you have talent. For both writing and being funny. Normally I wouldn never read reviews this long, at least not in one go, but you sucked me in like a good book. Great job man!
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
09.07.2008 - 17:14
Retired Staff
Seriously, I don't know how you do it (or maybe some part of my mind (or who knows, even your mind) is preventing me to understand how you keep doing it time after time), but once again this was a splendid read! Just that you know, I really keep enjoying your work, mr. destroyah. And I hope this won't be putting the weight of the world on your shoulders, but I'm already secretly looking forward to your next marveling story.

Someone give this man his apocalypse now, please!
Your favorite band sucks.
10.07.2008 - 18:27
avatar of misery
The talk about voluntary action involved in drinking "Minttu" is a blatant lie. I subdued the little fuck and force fed him the stuff until his teeth were glistening with an antibacterial glory and his brain went into phase shift from the sheer amount of peppermint involved.
14.07.2008 - 02:21
Minttu the first time I saw it I thought it was a kind of toothpaste
05.08.2008 - 13:01
well. minttu is a kind of toothpaste, finnish toothpaste. the discussions are still under way of making it officially an alcoholic drink.
05.08.2008 - 17:27
Again you managed to pull of one hell of an entertaining article even though it took a while to get through

Dreams are made so we don't get bored when we sleep

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