Sweden Rock Festival – Past, Present and Future Secrets revealed

Sweden Rock Festical 2019 poster
This following article is multipurpose. It wishes to present my past experiences when visiting the Sweden Rock Festival in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. In doing so, the article will also work as a short guide of how to get there, economically and tips about having a good time and enjoying the most out of your stay there. Lastly there should be short feature of what’s in store in 2019, when this year’s festival opens its doors from the 5th to the 8th of June 2019.

Sweden Rock Festival is a rock festival outside the town of Sölvesborg in Blekinge, in southern Sweden that tries to offer an eclectic, curated mix of classic rock, hard rock, metal, blues and related genres. It all started way back in 1992 in a different city (Olofström) and after being known as simply “The Summerfestival” for a short time; it was moved to the city of Karlshamn and dubbed accordingly the Karlshamn Rock Festival. It remained there for a few years – getting bigger and bigger and starting to attract more and more internationally acclaimed artists. Once these precursor festivals were too big for an urban setting the whole event was moved to a big field near the Baltic Sea, just outside the fishing town of Sölvesborg, where it is still located today and got a name change to Sweden Rock Festival under a new management. Also with the pass of the seasons the artists the festival attracted, became larger and more prestigious and with it so did the crowds, as the event starting to attract a good percent of foreign visitors, as well as Scandinavian people from the neighboring countries (who might find it much easier and less costly to just get in the car and drive there).

Having been there, thrice, I can attest that it’s one of the most organized, punctual and well run festivals in Europe. The show-runners seem actively interested to give the festival goers not only a value for money proposition, but also good conditions, under which to enjoy the festival. I saw first-hand a weather damage to a stage’s tower (during the debut of Unisonic) being fixed in less than an hour and the organizers switching a couple of bands around to make things work without a hiccup. I can attest that the fest grounds are often covered in wood trimmings, when there’s forecast for rain to avoid mud. I even remember people out there handing “ponchos” for free during a torrential rain that threatened to stop a Kamelot performance once. Another proof of how the festival is appreciative of its punters is the fact that despite the fact that issuing more tickets might have made the festival grow even more in the process making the organizers more money, they have kept the tickets pretty much the same amount, believing that the experience should not be compromised by the amount of people attending. Comparing SRF or similar sized fests with the 100.000 strong fest behemoths (mostly in Germany), where you can hardly see the stage and where it’s pretty much chaos and mud all around if it rains and the place smells like a sewer the very next day, Sweden Rock is a cut above, with facilities to take a shower, ATMs, easy access etc., you name it.

It goes without saying that the festival site is built in such a way that multiple stages don’t interfere with each other that amenities as food, toilets etc. are always near and that a whole market, as well as a couple of camping lots and more. The schedule is such that minimal overlap occurs at least in terms of similar sounding bands, although at times you might get the relative headache of having to choose between band A or band B (or indeed joining a line to get an autograph at signing sessions the fest organizes), but that not too often, allowing you to be able to see 75% of all the names you wanted to most of the time. The only fest that seems to manage things a little better in that respect would be Barcelona Rock Fest, which is still somewhat smaller than Sweden Rock and it’s semi urban being held at a huge park just in the suburbs of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. It’s probably the only one that also seems to question the primacy of SRF in terms of “customer-service” and offering a pleasant experience.

Getting there, depends on where you’re coming from… I suppose for Scandi-people the sanest idea would be driving. For people coming from outside of Scandinavia, the sane choice instead of flying to Stockholm and then going to Malmo from where you might or might not be able to get a correspondence, depending on how late you arrive (like I did the first night – spending much of the night inside the airport and on the streets the first time I arrived from London), is to arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark before 18.00 from where it’s either possible to get very close to Sölvesborg via train and then just take a taxi or one of the circulating festival shuttles, or just rent a car for the duration of your stay and drive to the fest (there are sufficient parking spaces, but it can be a bit of a hassle. It’s far more convenient, not to mention cheaper as an option. The festival itself offers all inclusive packages, but those are limited and they tend to sell out really fast. Most of the times even 4 day fest tickets (at a better price) tend to be nabbed up months in advance leaving only dailies as an option at a premium.

If you’re staying in a cabin, room or even in a car/RV – you’re shielded from the elements, so the next paragraph doesn’t apply to you. Now from my 3 year experience, it did rain seriously only once, so it’s good to carry an anorak or a small umbrella with you, but you can still get such items at the Sweden Rock Fest shop on site. If you’re staying in a tent/camping, having an inflatable mattress will make sure you stay warm, but the key purchase in this case is a “wicker candle” for camping. It’s a small lantern that burns a specially wrapped candle at high heat, thus eliminating humidity from your tent and allowing for a very comfortable sleep with a sleeping bag or light blanket. It’s also rather cheap, but it will be a lifesaver, if the temperature goes down to about 5°C. It would also be a good idea to get some suntan cream, since standing still in front of the stages, during the day – when temperatures average 25°C or more, can cause you slight sunburns. Been through both of those scenarios and the first one had me frantically looking for a vodka at 4.00 am, while the later, trying to splash me cheekbones with water every 20 minutes. Be unlike me, be smart!

Sweden Rock Festival 2019… the reason that got me back was the very nice culmination of artists on the roster, including some “rare” ones and the overall good vibe I had from the past. I did elect in previous years to attend the Barcelona Rock Fest, due to overall lower costs, but this year and due to most of these fests looking like facsimiles of each other’s with more or less names on them, I decided to go the Sweden again, as it offers the best and that’s not just a pun to say that KISS are headlining one of the dates with one of their “Final” (?) End of the Road shows, because they are. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, unfortunately without any of their legacy singers, but at least with the very talented and capable Ronnie Romero, are making a stand also as headliners on a different date. Def Leppard and ZZ Top, both alumni of the fest return as well! Slayer are having their last stand in Greece, but since the whole billing they have is at best disappointing, I might as well see them in Sweden while I can! But even as you go down on the poster with the countless names it’s a who’s who of cool ass bands. Swedish prog wonders, A.C.T are on, Vikings Amon Amarth, who by that point should have Berserker out. Annihilator, who in all honesty despite being incredibly popular and a good live band, seem to pop up everywhere. They also need a singer imho, as Water’s voice only lasts a few songs these days. Arch Enemy are returning doing what they do best along with At The Gates for those more extreme inclined. I have no idea who Bataar is but I might research in advance while, Batushka (I presume the guitarist led version – a little confusing) will do their papal duties there. Blaze Bayley is also a returning artist, as are Behemoth but I think it must be the first time that Beast In Black are on, yet I might be wrong and I’m curious to see how Yiannis is doing in a live environment after all these years. Black Mamba I am also sure has been there before as do southernsters, Blackberry Smoke. Blue Coupe and The Bones I have no idea about. Brothers Of Metal are one of those “cosplay” bands that I find terribly cringeworthy, but some people might enjoy them and they’re kind of OK, for what they are, decent vocals and all. Burning Witches are Nuclear Blast’s attempt to clone the success of Battle Beast, with a faux occult style in an all-female band form. Songs are not quite there, yet, but I might actually check them out. Maybe they’ll cast a hex on me. Who knows? Candlemass, I’m really curious to watch, provided Lief is back where he belongs. Despite being a low entry, Zal Cleminson’s Sin Dogs are a band I’m interested in seeing, since the clown faced man in the SAHB, and 2 times Naz boy, is one heck of a guitar hero and a relatively unsung one at that. Cobra Cult is a Swedish rock band, with female vocals that I have little info to go on. Danko Jones, I never got, but I might give em a chance if the schedule allows, without missing a more “important” band. Darkane extreme but yet accessible style will cater to most. Deadland Ritual, I would not care much about, but given that Geezer Butler, Matt Sorum, and Steve Stevens are in their ranks, I might give em a checking – cross that, I will definitely do as I’ll try to do with Death Angel. Demon I have seen many times, but not for a long time so, count me in. Demons & Wizards, the Iced Earth + Blind Guardian mix of head honcho’s should be an interesting display, as I’m curious how their material would translate live and how many of their own bands’ material they might or might not perform.

Disturbed are another one of the “big guns” and having seen them in a past edition, I will try to catch a glimpse of again, depending on schedule. After all my mate who’s tagging along is a bigger fan. Dizzy Mizz Lizzy (not to be confused with the song popularized by them Beatles chaps) are a Danish rock band that’s been sporadic in their output, but consistent and not too bad, despite being commercial, so I might give em a check out – again I will need to check the schedules to know. Dream Theater put out the first album of theirs I enjoyed since “Octavarium”, ie in a very long time, so I’m inclined to check them out. Dust Bowl Jokies are an interesting rock ‘n roll band formed this decade, that I might be inclined to sleaze along to, if they are not pitted against someone else I’m more inclined to see, like the wonderful Dynazty, who have matured into a fine band with the incredible Nils Molin on vocals being the Dio of his generation to my ears or Easy Action, the band that featured Kee Marcelo prior to his Europe holi-days. Even Electric Boys and their Rock n Roll antics might rank higher. Electric Hydra is a fuzzy, grungy female fronted Swedish band that might have sounded better with a little less noise, that I’m not too sure about. FM, I know that I would like to see again, but I think that according to my friend they’re pitted against some headliner after midnight, so it might prove unfruitful. I am quite curious as to what line up the collaborative Gathering Of Kings will feature and I will accordingly might check them or not, since a lot of people are involved – too many to mention here. The Generations Army, thrashy ethos is endearing but I dunno if I’ll catch them or not. Gorgoroth, who’ve been whith ups and downs are catering to a more extreme crowd, I guess. Gravestone, I am not sure if they’re talking about the 80s band, but if so, they’d be cool to see. Green Jellÿ – I am going to skip – I think they’re scheduled close or on another performance, but if I go for a beer at that time, watching the 3 little piggies song, I just might. Hällas are a wonderfully weird band that is doomy yet melodic so given a chance, I will check em out again. Hammerfall, I’ve seen now multiple times incl on SRF, but given a chance I won’t say no to. I am not entirely sure which “In Silence” we’re talking about so I might look em up. James Holkworth and the Coolbenders are a weird band. Hickey Floridians (If they are even that). Jag Panzer, I will see for the second time in less than two weeks space, knowing how good they are! Krisiun again are catering to a more extreme spectrum. With their impending withdrawal from action Switzerland’s Krokus are always a cool band to watch, but also one I really want to see, one last time! Lillasyster are a nu-rock band that seems to make a living out of Katie Perry and Rhianna covers… ugh, I’m not sure I wanna know, really. Lisa Lystam Family Band, which I presume is what their name says, are an old school rocking band, that might be worth a look. LOK is actually (Lillasyster) doing original nu metal in Swedish, eehm a few years late and thanks but no thanks. Lucifer have got an interesting penchant; members who played in bigger bands, but I find the hype a bit exaggerated, the occult female trope, a little tired and their melodies at best borrowed by Rainbow. Magnum, I saw this year and despite being 70+ they rock and this time, I will watch em rock under Swedish stars, as they’re not pitted against Michael Starr’s incredibly tight Spandex. The friendly chaps in Myrath are finally after 10 years of hard work and a few years of tireless green screen production, getting their due, with their eastern tinged prog metal that rivals the likes of Kamelot and Dream Theater at the same time. It’s hard not to like. Jared James Nichols swagger and rocking style, that channels a lot of 60-70s psych rock with a strong American flavor, but I will have to consult the schedule, about being able to catch em. The Night Flight Orchestra, I will check, but I strongly disagree with how Soilwork members can blanket the whole media and get called the best AOR/HR band by a gazillion of publications, when that place would much more deservedly go to a lot of bands that have toiled hard and have much better chops. I guess being at a majorly big company/band helps with that. OZ are not really the band I saw at KIT a few years ago, but since I like their material, I might give them a go. Axel Rudi Pell, I’ve seen multiple times now and Johnny Gioelli’s voice keeps me returning, but since the master is there, I might just skip this one time – especially if there’s something more interesting to watch. But if you haven’t seen em, they’re a must see. Powerwolf, however I got close to seeing a couple of times. These weirdo’s from Red Aim that were doing zilch have by cross and brimstone become one of the largest bands in Europe, more pow(d)er and dynamite to them and their tropes. The Quill are a hard rocking band from Sweden (surprise, surprise it’s the SRF after all), who haven’t managed to capitalize on their early visibility, while there’s not much to say about the legend that is Uli Jon Roth. The former Scorpion has been exploring his own “Astral Skies” for a long time, but lately has been re-embracing his legacy as well. I’ve no idea what Rock på svenska: en hyllning till strängen, but I would imagine some sort of tribute (to the strings??) .Will find out I guess. I dunno what to make of Royal Republic and their lounge rock humor… I guess it will depend on my level of drunkenness. But why not Richard Cheese? There’s no question that I will check the ever rocking Saxon, just because I have to rock it… If I got the right Scarlet we’re talking about a metalcore band, that I don’t think I might have time to bother with, but I might actually give a damn about Seventh Wonder, the original band of Tommy Kaverik, who know is better known as the singer of Kamelot, but sings quite differently, yet melodiously in them. Sins In Vain is an Evanescence knock of and not a particularly impressive at that, so maybe I’ll pass. While Sir Reg does check the “Irish” sort of party-drinking band for a festival spot so much better than Alestorm and their terrible sounding keyboards ever will. Skid Row, I will be missing in Greece, but catching there. Styx are one of the major-ish reasons I want to be there and I hope they impress me as much as they did with their latest album, while I dunno what size of basket to have with me to collect some low hanging fruit with the likes of Tenacious D! Three Days Grace are one of those 00 bands that came after the fall of nu-metal, but I am not particularly a big fan of their post-nu-grungy melodic metal. Thundermother, I guess are scratching the same itch as the late Crucified Barbs (who are disbanded – not dead mind ya) but with just a little more plain songs. I’d say I find the whole girls that rock trope – a bit tiresome, but they can play… and their singer has a ballsy delivery which according to one Bon Scott, might lead to good times being had. We’ll see! The man the myth, the legend (sounds more like introducing Ron Jeremy) Joe Lynn Turner will be there, probably exploring the past, what past exactly is unclear… since Rainbow will also be there, so there might be some overlap, but we’ll see. At least Joey delivers without fail, always! UFO are supposedly doing some special gigs after which their singer Phil Moog will step down – 50 years in. I’m ambivalent, about how I feel, but will go and shed a tear, while Moore’s guitar will gently weep or not so djently weep. Hank von Hell is the ex-singer of Turbonegro, doing a poppier, more forward rock n roll. While I did like that erection song, about them weirdo’s that’s where my love affair with them ended. A bodily function. So, depending on time, place, level of drunkedness will decide on watching them or skipping. Pete Way Band sees another UFO alumni, playing the fest… but makes me wish they could have done a 50th anniversary reunion set of gigs. It would have given some closure and commemorated the legacy so much better. The Wild are a non-descript party-band, that must employ a chipmunk (which I confused with Chippendales momentarily :D) full time. Ehm. I’d rather not. No really. Finally despite some weird posts, about Motalo I suppose that NWOBHM stalwarts Witchfynde will be there…

All in all, another year that’s sure to go down in rock memory as a great one… thanks to this great festival. I strongly urge you to come out there, by car, plane, raft or boat or any other means of transportation imaginable, and rock your hearts out, because rocking out is one of the main reasons that makes life nicer… so see you there! Or through our daily correspondences during the festival or ensuing report a few days later!

More info about the Sweden Rock Festivals and tickets here.

A Blast from the Past:
I did take out a bit of a photo album and the posters from the past events I did go to and it was such a blast from the past. In 2008 a year that took me from Australia to almost every corner of Europe and Beyond, Sweden Rock was quite a unique experience. The sole chance I had to this day to enjoy an Ace Frehley show was exhilarating to say the least, the AC/DC plagiarists Airbourne were pleasurable, but hadn’t yet reached their peak, Apocalyptica were an interesting diversion. At The Gates delivered brutality as always. While the chance to see Birth Control, the Kraut band that popularized the words Gamma Ray, before some compatriots of theirs got inspired to cover their signature song and name their band after it, was even a thought, was quickly nabbed. The masters of macabre rock Blue Oyster Cult did duly receive a pilgrimage, while Carcass also did cater to some more voracious “instincts”. My third time watching Dare, first if I remember with a returning Vinny Burns, is still burned in my memory as one of the best gigs I’ve seen in a while. Def Leppard were fit to headline, but I must admit that I’ve seen them perform better, while Derringer did leave me amazed. Disturbed, I am not the hugest fan of, but I will admit that they put on a masterful show and having a chance to watch a combined version of the Electric Light Orchestra (2) was a rare treat. Fast Eddie Clark’s Fastway were also the sole time I got to see the great guitarist prior to his death, so I will cherish that. The now defunct Irish chaps in Glyder were one of my main reasons for deciding to take that trip and they did manage to put on quite a show under one of the smaller tents. I was also amazed, that they seemed to have the prettiest girls with them, outdoing even the sleaziest hard rock bands out there! The late Steve Lee’s band Gotthard just kicked some hard rock booty even before the sun had gone down, while Graveyard, who were playing in their backyard really did put on quite a show, making me understand why they had been making waved about their name. Their compatriots H.E.A.T. with their still original line up and singer Kenny Leckremo just kicked even more us, but it was the grandadies of Glam Rock the godly Hanoi Rocks, who I was watching for the second time that really were the best band – of the fest, by far. I remember a dear friend that I had, telling me how she thought Hardcore Superstar was the shit, really seeing the light after she saw Michael and the boys tearing it up on stage. The collaboration of Hensley and Lawton & Live Fire was magical and a great blast from the past for all Heep lovers, while a chance to witness the guitar wizard Joe Satriani tearing it up, should never go by… and it didn’t. The metal gods, that are Judas Priest, delivered the goods only as they can, while the “Master of Disguise”, Lizzy Borden himself along with his chums had me scream like a psychopath, early in the morning (and there must be a video document of that somewhere). Swede prog wonders Pain Of Salvation did offer a different perspective and any doubts that I had about Poison headlining disappeared in a moment. Also I did hook up with one of the prettiest girls after the show so… yay! Primal Fear, who were still midway through a fairly long standing career, offered more of that Priest inspired Teutonic steel and Ratt did really rock the second stage, when they came on. Royal Hunt, where at that point fronted by none other than Mark Boals, were interesting to say the least. Sabaton,  at that point were on the rise, but nowhere as near the touring leviathan they are these days (before the rift). Saxon, rocked because they always do and Shakin’ Street had Ross The Boss fans all hot and bothered. NWOBHM stalwarts Sweet Savage, who were an inspiration for the mighty Metallica, took no prisoners, despite their advancing age. Tesla, to be honest, rocked my socks off and I got to see them a further 3 times. A rare American hard n’ heavy Treat that I saw first there ! Awesomeness! The legacy that is Testament thrashed the place, while wimpy wonder merchants The Poodles did strut their stuff with a new guitarist and 4 drumskins with their faces on and lots of mic-stand twirling (on a bill with Hanoi Rocks + Whitesnake)! Tobias Sammet’s merry men and ladies of Avantasia triumphed in their live debut, but not as much as Canadian’s Triumph, who after a false start, did one of the few shows they have in ages… and boy it rocked! Lastly, Whitesnake, probably my favorite band and the band that I’ve seen the most times (around 25 – 30?!), after being magical down under, sounded at the very least positively tired, playing the hits. As much as it pains me, it’s the honest truth.

Despite the high costs,  due to my last minute of booking the flights (try to book by Easter), I was so exhilarated that the next year I did boom, crashed and (gang)banged my card to make it back in 2009, this time better prepared and able to maybe save a couple of hundred on flights. Nightwish inspired finns Amberian Dawn, back then sporting their original line up, were interesting, while viking pilagers Amon Amarth, despite having mellowed up considerably after their first two excellent albums, were keeping things brutal. Ex Maiden and Wolfsbane frontman Βlaze Bayley was on early, but did his best to entertain the crowd while discount AC/DC offshoots Bullet left quite a bit to be desired, despite performing with aplomb. Candlemass had “Death Magic Doom” to promote and did so under a bleak sky, being commanding as ever with Lowe behind the mic. I knew Crucified Barbara from previous shows, but I think this was the point where they really started gelling as a band. Deathstars left me a bit cold, despite their rising popularity, but the classic NWOBHM heroes Demon did put on a helluva of a show. Deströyer 666 in a rare for European soil appearance sated the more extreme and aggressive side of things. Dream Theater, I really had high hopes for, but Labrie being in a less than stellar day, sort of dropped the collective ball a bit. Enforcer were playing at home and as passionately as ever and Eric Sardinas was fun(ky). Flogging Molly gave a bitter but stout taste to the fest, while Foreigner had me at a loss for words, being as good as they were, with “new” singer Kelly Hansen. I am not much into Grand Magus, but I guess they have their audience and H.E.A.T. ,who were playing for a second time in a row, did nothing but amaze us. Hammerfall were typical Swedish cheese, but the cCheese you actually enjoy with some fine wine. Heaven & Hell (Dio Era Black Sabbath, renames due to the evil Sha(u)ron), were obviously and deservedly the headliners, while Texan metal hurricanes Helstar really did hex us with a bewitching performance. Hot Leg (band of The Darkness singer) were suitably redunculous, while Hysterica, an all-female “epic” band with loincloths, where discount mano…. oh well I won’t be that mean. Immortal and In Flames, (who were headlining), I will be honest to say I omitted because I don’t care for the former and the latter’s wimpier sound in the new millennium did pretty much nothing for me. Seeing the legendary Johnny Winter, just a few years before his death, was a once in a lifetime experience for me, one that only a fest like this seems to afford rock fans. Jon Oliva’s Pain was OK, but in all honesty I missed much of their show to attend some signing session. Journey, were one of the reasons for me being there and wow did that Pineda guy sing his heart out?! Yes he did! Kamelot had the unfortunate luck to play under a torrential rain that doused their pyros quickly but not their spirits, delivering quite a show under the elements. Lita Ford did put on quite a show all things considered, but damn if I didn’t think she was Dee Snider from the neck down – how much does she bench press? It was truly a bliss watching Marillion, a band it would have been difficult to catch say in my native Greece ,as they’ve never played here. Motörhead were there and put on a hell of a show, with Lemmy proving he still had it in him despite his advancing years. Being one of the last times I got to watch them perform, I’m glad it was in such a great form! My heart sunk a bit as I happened onto last year’s hook up girl, but with a boytoy in hand. Ah… oh well, not every day is a happy day, but every day rocks at SRF! Neal Morse applies to a lot of Progsters, but he put me to sleep, with his white collar prog, so I moved on quickly. Over The Rainbow (feat members, Blackmore’s son Jurgen and JLT), did perform a blinder of a show, going on to perform many more in the same month. Pain were interesting (watching PT solo vehicle). German power merchants Rage were one of the early bands to go on and they were pretty much OK. The deal sealer for me attending 2009 was Riot with the entire “Thundersteel” line up performing. What an epic gig, including all the best songs from that era, and getting a dedication for “Dance of Death” for not shutting up. Some nice chaps from Cyprus where “on their knees”, praising the unbelievable performance in “we’re not worthy style”!I mean easily one of the top 10 metal performances I’ve ever seen! Sabaton seemed to be well connected as they reprised their militant show for a second year in a row (these days having their own fest). Sevendust catered to the way more modern crowd and were OK, but not my cup of tea. Soilwork have trully been disappointing to me after “Predator’s Portrait” becoming a softer poppier band, but live they’re pro and it shows. The Irish/Welsh guys from Stormzone were a nice icing on the already yummy cake of that years line up, with their straight up melodic hard n heavy. While I only did get to see a couple of songs from the outlaws – since Riot where playing at the same time – one of the hardest choices I had to make ton a fest. Canadian hero and genuinely lovely guy Thor put on an epic and funny as fuck show early in the morn, splitting my sides with laughter at the various antics, but also warming my heart with his sheer passion for what he does. The guy chipped a tooth bending a metal bar and was even throwing free merch to avoid re-importing it(!)… god-like indeed. Although with his advancing years he should revert to calling himself Odin! Twisted “Fucking” Sister were celebrating 25 years or something (one of the eleven times I got to see em in total), and as always they delivered in a big way. Tyketto were awesome and I got to watch them many times after. Danny Vaughn and his boys always put on a show that’s guaranteed to satisfy. UFO, with Vinnie Moore in the place of MS, were able to resume recording and touring without “eventualities” and have being going on for more than a decade and as such delivered well. Watching a rare band such as Unleashed play was also a nice touch. Uriah Heep, what’s not to love about them?! With their 50th anniversary coming on next year, catch them while you still come. Ace band! Voivod, I’m not the biggest fan of, despite recognizing their uniqueness so I watched some, sitting down from a distance. Volbeat is a band I never got and never will, but boy did the rest of the fest did… Withcraft were interesting and as for ZZ To … man… they boogied like dusty bearded mofos! Loved every minute of their headlining appearance and I love the fact they’re reprising it this year.

Last, but not least and because it was stretching my finances a bit, but because it still had an awesome line up of bands I hadn’t gotten to see at that point, I went to the SRF in 2010. Seeing Aerosmith, for the third but not last time, was a treat, as the toxies both tore it up along with the rest of the Airforce one. Alestorm were dull and as uncharming as on their albums, but I get the whole “party” element. Amon Düül II, I watched a fair bit of, for it was another rare band, I’d not get to see easily elsewhere. It’s a sad thing I wasn’t into psych/prog/kraut as much as I am these days, cause I’d have enjoyed em twice as much I suspect. Anvil, true and honest as always, put on a nice show to a little more fanfare than usual, as the documentary that came out for them did warm a few hearts their way for a couple of albums – a fact they were not able to capitalize in a big way. Bachman & Turner did BTO, and some original newer material and boy were they good. I decided to skip Behemoth since they’re not my scene and they were interfering with me watching something else. Too one sidedly brutal for my tastes. Top hated doom rockers Bigelf were fun in small doses, but I must said I enjoyed the eternally teen looking (from a distance) middle aged Billy Idol and co more than I thought I would. Way much more! I missed a fair bit of Blackberry Smoke, so I’m rather happy they’re playing again in 2019. Cathedral, I hadn’t seen them since 1999, so it was pretty cool to see em there. Cinderella were the seal in the deal that year for me and put on a nice show – only time I was able to see em – and even got to get some stuff signed at a signing session they held! Cool beans! Electric Boy turned Hanoi Roxster, Conny Bloom did put on quite the show, as did Danish Disneyland terrorists D-A-D with their infection and damn delicious show. Dan Reed, I’d seen previously and despite liking him a lot, I did chose to miss in favor of something else, but not the level Elvis himself Danzig in the sole chance, I had to see him up to this point. Death Angel, I did miss (can’t remember why – regretfully) and I did opt out of watching Dream Evil, who might be good, but with the exception of a few songs I have found to be too cheesy. Epica at this point were graduating from discount Nightwish to full price, but I did pass on after watching them for a bit. Evergrey, I did enjoy for quite a bit as I did… crazy slayeresque thrashers F.K.Ü.., a band that has come some way since their rough debut and unfortunately is not as popular as it should. Fates Warning always put on a good show and they did so without an exception but if there was a big bet that was won that was watching the late Gary Moore perform his “rock songs” which he hadn’t done in a while, properly. After sounding a bit hesitant and hoarse for a couple of songs, his voice warmed up and he did put on quite a show, which I still remember fondly to this day. Grave Digger delivered as always, but Guns ‘n’ Roses left a bit to be desired, with their long but hardly with their heart and guts in it performance, with Axl struggling to pull it all together and with a super low volume, over which one could even talk audibly. Thankfully the “part” reunited band did warm up some good illusion memories and didn’t disillusion me many years later in Barcelona. Not big on some newer stonier things, I skipped High On Fire, since I am not a big fan but to be honest; I didn’t even get wind that Tiamat’s Johan Edlund had a show on and I did miss John Nitzinger, as well. Jorn put on a masterful show though. M.S.G with Gary Barden on vocals were pretty much spot on. Magnum, I missed for the most part to watch Steel Panter, in all honesty and I don’t regret it (but maybe I should). Mayhem might have found new glory and fame on the silver and small screen, but in all honesty I don’t bother for much else than “De Mysteriis”. Michael Monroe following a show stopping show with Hanoi the year before, did put on quite the solo show. Mother’s Finest, I didn’t even know these funkstar rockers were still around, and boy where they fun! Oh baby love! Nazareth, at that point with still with Dan McCafferty (the man with sandpaper vocals) were still going strong and were a treat watching for a second time. Opeth, I could not give a damn for, having both seen them, but progressively grown to dislike with each consequent album going away from their roots, but boy did I love the prog giants Pendragon! And classic NWOBHM melodicsters Praying Mantis were a treat too, just like the Danish dynamite Pretty Maids! Raven got us all athletic and rocking and Aussie melowdster Rick Springfield was surprisingly good. Sabaton (performing again), I decided to pay no heed too. But Saga, I did checkout and was suitably impressed by. Skyclad at that point had the “In the Alltogether” out and I enjoyed their “renewed” lineup’s original material gig. Slayer were imposing and hellish as always, despite having seen slightly better days, while Steel Panther just rocked like the mofos they are, blowing all the rest of the fest away and despite having seen them multiple times up to then, keeping things fresh. Stone Sour, being Slipknot’s frontman’s band, did tire me a bit as did the Tolkkiless Stratovarius. Granted their guitarist was good, their albums weren’t up to scratch and Kotipelto was increasingly struggling to deliver. Suicidal Tendencies got me cyco. And The Murder Of My Sweet had me marveling at their pretty singer, who also had the singing chops to match the looks. The Quireboys put on a nice acoustic set… while Swede melody makers Treat were apt to their name. The barking general, mr U.D.O of the Dirkschneider himself did offer a fantabulous show of solo and Accept tracks. Unisonic despite the stage issues and slight delay delivered in one of the first “Michi” actual metal stage show since his time in Helloween and it was great. W.A.S.P were predictable, but good enough. I didn’t have a chance to check out Warrior Soul but I did get to see some Watain, who really blackened my day, as well as catch both Winger and Y&T, who both were exemplary at their melodic material. It was unfortunately one of the last time P. Kennemore bassist for the latter would play, before he did sub-come to cancer (RIP). A lovely guy, I got to meet briefly there.