They say time flies. Well, yeah, you can say that again. When we arrived at our home from home down in Norje Boke, it almost felt like we had just packed our stuff and left 2015’s festival. But if the year since last year’s festival had rushed by, it’s nothing compared to how fast the four days at the festival went. But the reason time flies by fast is that you’re having a blast and every Sweden Rock Festival is a blast for me – listening to great bands, drinking shitty beer, hanging in the VIP and meeting up with friends. See, quite a lot of my friends are people I get to meet once a year – down at Sweden Rock. Sure, we keep in touch through Facebook and there might be the odd gig or party night back home, but it’s at Sweden Rock you get to really get to hang out and talk all those wonderful people. To start talking about the organization surrounding the festival is always a pleasure as well because it’s an extremely well-organized festival and it feels like it’s getting a little better every year, not that there are that much to better with it. I really can’t find anything to complain about – maybe the crap beer, but since there are good stuff to digest in the VIP area, it’s something I can live with. The weather was really great as well, except for a bit of rain off and on on the Friday and since 2003 when I first sat my foot at the festival – we’re talking 13 years here – only 2009 and 2010 (if I remember things correctly) came with bad weather, so we’ve been very lucky in that department as well. Other than that, I have nothing but praise for all people involved getting this festival going. Rounds of applauds from me then.
When it comes to the bands being booked here, 2016 will stand out as one of the best for me. I might say that every year, but this year, the number of must-see bands were bigger than ever – something like nine bands a day from Thursday to Saturday, with only few on the first day. But of course, for different reasons, there are always some bands that falls on the way-side – some I damn myself for missing and some of them aren’t any I lose any sleep over. But let’s go through those before we get to the reviews, shall we?
On the first day, the only bands playing I really wanted to see was Saffire and Eclipse, both from Sweden. Ex- White Lion singer Mike Tramp was playing but I was never a big fan so I didn’t bother and the same can be said Of Diamond Head, they just don’t interest me enough and Blind Guardian are band I couldn’t care less about so nothing to write home about there either. I did miss Saffire which bugged the crap out of me. But since we didn’t manage to get an early flight down to Sölvesborg and we had to do some shopping (food and beer) plus it took some time to get our festival wrist bands and Saffire started playing at 3.30, there was nothing I could do about it. Bummer. But I did watch a bit of Tribulation, a death / black metal band from Sweden just because some friends forced us over there and they were ok, very melodic and even catchy and I even got a bit of a glam vibe from them. I also managed to catch the Graham Bonnet Band for a few songs. Since I was never a huge fan of the old Rainbow / MSG / Alcatrazz singer I hadn’t planned on watching his gig, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised – ha sang way, way better than I had expected. Besides, when I saw the set list, I regretted missing so much of his gig.