As with every year, all good things must come to an end. The final day of Sweden Rock Festival 2019 had arrived! The days preceding this final day were exhilarating and exhausting, but one last day of music, festival vibes and friends, no time to sleep… yet!
On this last day of the festival you could say I was supercharged because of one of my favorite new bands being on site to perform. A band who’s yet to step foot in the USA so my first opportunity to see them, I was prepared to completely enjoy myself. Say hello to Beast In Black!! While there were other bands on the line up for this day, many were bands I’d seen in this year already or ones who I’ve just not connected with their music as much. So on this final day I decided to just enjoy the day and take it all in.
Jared James Nichols happened to collide with Beast In Black and having just seen Jared and interviewed him in Seattle, I had to make the decision to fully immerse myself in all things Beast In Black, I’ll have another opportunity with JJN at Wacken soon too, so it softened the blow a bit! Just before BIB’s set, there was a nice rain storm that pushed through the area rather quickly leaving the awnings on the stage tops full of lots of water. And in the final five minutes before BIB took the stage the wind shifted, sending all that water over the awning and down into the photo pit below as photographers were scattering to avoid the full waterfalls. For me, no such luck. Fully geared up and ready to shoot the coming set, I took the direct force of the water that came over the edge and literally looked like I had stepped into the shower fully clothed! To the shock and horror of all my fellow photographers, they started digging napkins out of their pockets to help me dry my gear! I can take the soaking and I did, the crowd had a great laugh, me too! Even spotted some good friends in the crowd who didn’t know if they should laugh or not. Thankfully my gear was not affected thanks to all those around me who came to my immediate aide to dry my gear. Me, a soaked rat, my gear ready to capture the crazy performance I’d been waiting for! Onward to one of the best sets of the festival for me.
Beast In Black has two albums out, the first being my absolute favorite and they didn’t skip my favorites during the show either! These guys hit the stage with a rush of energy and the crowd went wild with them. With their retro 80’s rock, disco and metal mix they make, this was one of the most entertaining bands of Sweden Rock Festival 2019. Fans were singing along in every direction I looked and even myself. I stayed to enjoy the full set and it was glorious. This is a live band to see if you ever get the chance to do so! They’ve never hit the USA yet, but I am hoping that will change soon, we all need a dose of Beast In Black live!
After their set I just wandered around aimlessly taking in the feel of the festival and chatting with other music fans who have been enjoying Sweden Rock for many years. Every year I get this feeling there as the wind blows and fog from stages is mixed into the air. The smell of the food, the sights, the sounds and people are simply happy, it’s just what I refer to as that special feeling of Sweden Rock. It’s probably an odd way to describe it, but every year I get that same feeling, and it just feels like Sweden Rock. I do not get that same sensation at other festivals, it’s only at this one and to me it’s like going home.
Some friends from the USA were in town to perform this year so of course I had to catch them live, they haven’t played here before and I also wondered just how the fans were going to react. Who am I talking about, Green Jelly of course!!! If you’ve never seen them and just happen to be at a festival or venue with no knowledge of the band, you are in for the most unexpected time of your life! First off, Green Jelly is a force of nature, wild and crazy, nothing is off limits… so when they started playing and frontman William Manspeaker hit the stage… many were unsure if he was band security or part of the band, but that quickly changed. And the drop of the pants to his underwear with middle finger raised high in the air, I started hearing fans asking each other, what exactly they were watching. Then when they asked for fans to join them on the stage for the song Three Little Pigs, the entire show just lost control and the Green Jelly mayhem ensued! A number of band members jumped off the stage and over the barriers into the audience, some leaned over the barrier, security was scrambling to keep track of band members and it’s pretty much a no-no for bands to do that at Sweden Rock. So not sure that Green Jelly will ever get invited back, but it was one hell of a show to see!
For me there were just a few more acts I wanted to catch before calling it an end to another season. Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow and Behemoth. Rainbow was a set that I watched simply for enjoyment. The sound was incredible. As I stood there watching with a group of friends, we started to sing along and just take the past few days in and preparing to make all of our yearly goodbyes. It was as that moment I finally ran into a friend I hadn’t seen the entire festival! Big hugs a few moments of conversation then back to the performance. This truly is the vibe of Sweden Rock. It’s more than just a music festival, it’s a gathering of friends, strangers who become your battle buddies and a momentary escape from the rest of life that for a few short days can simply be put on hold and your mind and body get to recharge.
After that I had planned to stay through Behemoth but the announcement started making it’s way through festival grounds and via the official festival app that Behemoth had trouble getting to Sweden and had to cancel their performance. In their place was an encore performance by Myrath. For me, with a flight the next day to return back to the USA, I opted to call it a night an head back and finish packing. Another great year had been had at Sweden Rock Festival and my dreams of what the next year will bring have already begun. One thing for certain, I will return.
Thank you to all at Sweden Rock Festival who work tirelessly year round planning and putting together one of the best festivals I have had the honor to attend for many years. I place my faith in your team another incredible festival in 2020. Until then vi ses!
Day 4 Running Order:
11:30-12:15 Dust Bowl Jokies SE – 4Sound Stage
12:15-13:15 Danko Jones CAN – Festival Stage
13:00-14:00 Jared James Nichols US – Rockklassiker Stage
13:15-14:15 Electric Boys SE – Rock Stage
13:15-14:15 Beast in Black FIN/GR – Sweden Stage
14:30-15:45 Styx US/CAN – Festival Stage
14:30-15:30 Brothers of Metal SE – 4Sound Stage
14:50-15:50 Pete Way Band UK – Rockklassiker Stage
16:00-17:15 Demons & Wizards GER/US – Rock Stage
16:00-17:15 UFO UK/US – Sweden Stage
17:00-18:00 Myrath TUN – Rockklassiker Stage
17:30-19:00 Saxon UK – Festival Stage
17:30-18:30 Green Jellÿ US – 4Sound Stage
19:00-20:00 Zal Cleminson’s Sin Dogs UK – Rockklassiker Stage
19:15-20:45 Hammerfall SE – Rock Stage
19:15-20:30 Unleashed SE – Sweden Stage
21:00-22:30 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow UK/SP – Festival Stage
21:00-22:00 Darkane SE – Rockklassiker Stage
21:15-22:30 Hank Von Hell NO – Sweden Stage
22:30-23:30 Blue Coupe US – 4Sound Stage
22:45-00:15 Behemoth PL – Rock Stage
23:00-00:00 The Bones SE – Rockklassiker Stage
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