Sweden Rock Festival 2019 has come and gone. It was another glorious year of live music, fans and festivities. So let’s run down this years show and share the photos!
For this years festival I also decided to slow down just a bit to experience more of the festival, not just the live performances. Sweden Rock is the largest rock festival in Sweden and is a premiere festival with other things for fans to do if they choose to do so. Each year previously, I’ve steered away from most anything but the music, so this year I set out to experience more of what makes Sweden Rock more than just music so I could see for myself, first hand… what other changes have been happening the festival for the fans. To start that all off I met up with Martin Forsmann, the VP as well lead Promoter for Sweden Rock Festival the day before the show started. I wanted to get his take on what was new this year, find out what new things were happening, chat about his time with the festival and get some advice for all the bands who dream of perform there. You can check out that interview here.
I also had an evening at Sweden Rock’s own eatery that sits at the main entry called The Holy Spirit Restaurant, a yearly gathering spot. It’s more like a pub with decent eats for fans who want to gather with friends and other festival fans for an evening of drinks, festival planning strategies (sharing schedules and planning who to meet up with for shows) and grabbing some grub. This year, we closed the place down. I don’t usually stay out like that the night before the kick off to a festival, but when in Sweden, why the hell not? I highly suggest anyone who’s not done this, give it a shot.
Day 1 of the festival is the warm up day each year. It’s a half day event that starts off as gates open at 3:00 PM welcoming in the first fans for the season. It’s also the less packed day of the entire festival will less tickets sold by the festival for this day, but also not all stages are open on the first day. Just because it’s a shorter day, doesn’t mean it’s short on talent or fun.
This year the event was kicked off by the cool band James Holkworth and The Coolbenders. A UK/Swedish blend of talent who released a fun blues rock album shortly ahead of the festival. Many of the fans in attendance had already checked this band out too. There were many singing along in the crowd and there was a great vibe around the stage during their set. For any band who manages to get this particular slot, it’s not a bad one to have. There’s no competition for the audience because there is no other band performing at the same time and there’s no such thing as a bad stage at Sweden Rock. So where some may stick their nose up to any festival who offers then the opening slot on the first date of their festival, that’s a welcomed slot at SRF.
As the evening continued on, I checked out OZ, a really great metal band who put on a killer show. My only regret, was getting to their set late. This band was a lot of fun to watch live. Then for my next live shot, I went with the UK band Demon and wow was that a ton of fun! The theatrics from vocalist Dave Hill were just a blast. That paired with some seriously good music made for a really great performance. I hadn’t had a chance to see Demon before, but I definitely want to do that again one day.
As luck would have it, a few gigs I was left picking between as the never ending festival line up collisions started early for me this year. Having either seen or knowing I will have the opportunity later in the year helped a bit, but still… it’s Sweden Rock, you often get performances you will never get back in the USA, especially when it comes to my moth to the flame love of all things pyro at a live gig! So I made the hard choices and carried on. The first hard choice was between Gathering of Kings and Krisiun. Sadly, I missed Krisiun! However, Gathering of Kings is a new band that’s made up with Swedish artists from many other bands and the chances that they will be coming to the USA in the new few years is beyond slim so there was no way I was missing this group, especially with how much I’ve loved their album. And while speaking of this band, on the night before the festival I also got to preview their next single from the new album they are working on. All I can say is, you want to hear this one, but I can’t tell you anything more about who’s on it. Just keep an eye out around Fall for it’s release.
So what about GoK? Phenomenal performance! Fans, including myself, were singing along with all their songs. It was a performance that will be rare for any fan to experiences so I have no regrets picking their show. For me it was pretty surreal because this is a group made up from many artists I already been following for a long time and to see this live, was really cool. Added to the perfect weather, sunny, the breeze in the air and the epic music they have made, you couldn’t as for a better performance.
The last performance for me on this first night was Sweden’s own Dynazty. This is a band that I’ve gone crazy over their new album and can’t seem to get enough of it. I’ve only heard they are a great live band, but never had an opportunity to see them until this year. I can say, I’ve never seen that Rockklassiker Stage that crowded before. The crowd was incredible! Especially considering Death Angel was on the 4Sound Stage at the same time. But then, these are two very different bands, but bands I love too. I have to say the live performance by Dynazty blew me away. So full of energy and excitement. They sounded great as well. This is a band you want to catch live if you’ve never seen them before. Seriously impressed by how much energy was in their show.
Day one was a happy start to the 2019 show!
Day 1 Running Order:
15:30-16:15 James Holkworth and The Coolbenders UK/SE – 4Sound Stage
16:15-17:15 Rock på svenska: en hyllning till Strängen SE – Sweden Stage
17:30-18:15 OZ FIN – 4Sound Stage
17:30-18:15 Black Mamba ITA – Rockklassiker Stage
18:30-19:30 Demon UK – Sweden Stage
19:45-20:45 Gathering Of Kings SE – 4Sound Stage
19:45-20:45 Krisiun BRA – Rockklassiker Stage
21:00-22:15 Joe Lynn Turner US – Sweden Stage
22:30-23:30 Death Angel US – 4Sound Stage
22:30-23:30 Dynazty SE – Rockklassiker Stage
23:40-01:15 Skid Row US/SA – Sweden Stage
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