Väsby Rock

Väsby Rock 2014

The fact that Väsby Rock Festival announced their second coming was really good news. Last year, the attendance rate could have been higher, but since it was the first year the festival no one could really have expected that it would draw thousands and thousands punters to the game. Still, they did a good job with booking some really cool bands and the whole thing ran pretty smooth when you consider the tight economic situation. How much money that the arrangers lost on that festival is not anything I want to speculate on, but that there wasn’t a profit is pretty clear – they only drew 1500 attenders after all. This year, everything about the festival had improved. First, it was decided that the festival would run for two days instead of one – a good choice, in my book. What wasn’t a good choice, though, was to only sell tickets for two days – something that changed the same week the festival would take place. Yes, the price for a ticket wasn’t that high, but it doesn’t really matter because if you only have the possibility to attend one day, you don’t want to pay for two days, no matter how low the ticket prices are. The risk you run by doing so is that you might lost an attendee completely instead of having him / her there one day. Also, the festival starts on a Friday which means that some people might work that day. Well, the good news is that the started to sell one day tickets after a while so I guess all that sorted itself out. Other than that, I have no complaints at all, except for maybe a toilet or two more for the VIP area. This year, the whole festival area was a lot bigger than last year’s, with more food stands and places for buying cold beverages. When it comes to the beer that was being sold there, maybe an additional label or two would be a good idea as the Norrlands Guld (a real gross Swedish “beer”) is more or less undrinkable after two days. The cues to the food, drink and merch stands were also short so that the cue time were close to minimal. Kudos to the arrangers that were visible out on the festival area through out the whole festival and despite at tight, and I guess, a pretty stressful schedule never said no to exchange a few words to the audience – everything done with a smile. Applause for that.

When it comes to the bands that were being booked, a lot of them were to my – and it turned out – to a lot of people’s liking. Now, for a smaller kind of festival like this it’s impossible to get the huge headliners like, say Sweden Rock can. The big names for Väsby Rock would be middle of the day acts for SRF, but the fact that Väsby Rock are only at their second year, the line-up this year was pretty damn impressive, I would say. Of course, with a limited amount of money to spend, there were miles between the popularity of some of the acts. In fact, some of the bands that were being booked were bands that even a music nerd like me was oblivious to. That said, it’s cool that unknown bands gets the chance to be part of a festival like this. For me, however, covering every gig on this festival wasn’t possible. In fact, on the first day, I only covered three bands for different reasons. One reason is, of course, that I just didn’t find all the bands interesting enough to review and also the fact that eating and socializing is a something that needs to be done at a festival like this. The plan was to be at the festival in time for House Of Shakira, a Swedish AOR band that I know of, but isn’t that familiar with their musi  and this was a chance to catch up, but of course, that didn’t happen. Grand Design was coming up next and as that band contains bass player Mats Vassfjord (Impera, Laney’s Legion) and their Def Leppard-esque hard rock would maybe up my alley. I managed to get there in time for their last three songs and from what I heard, their music doesn’t really stand out enough. Not bad, but way too bland. Johnny Lima and At Vance are two other acts that I missed. Lima also plays a kind of 80’s hard rock with little identity and At Vance’s Yngwie Malmsteen influenced metal only goes in one ear and out the other. Jorn, on the other hand, is a brilliant singer and when he puts his voice on albums from Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon or Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia – or the two first Masterplan records – he can send shivers down your spine complete with goosebumps all over, but unfortunately his solo material doesn’t reach that high standard in quality. I saw a couple of songs by him at SRF a few years back and that was way to dull for me to make me wanna go out and check his gig out here. Primal Fear are a German power metal band. That’s why I didn’t bother with them.

There were a lot more cool acts to check out on Saturday, though. Denied and Dynamite are both bands that I have heard of, but they played way too early for me, so they had to go. I managed to get my ass down to the area by 1 o’clock to check out Treat, who had replaced Nubian Rose who had to pull out due to singer Sofia Lilja’s pregnancy – she was due around that time. I also missed out on Degreed. Too bad, as I heard that they were great, but food and drink were the priority by then. Another band that have pretty good album out is Devil’s Train and I guess I should have checked them out, but I really couldn’t be arsed to. One band I really should have checked out are Gotthard, but I didn’t? Why? Well, the truth is that I had too much a good time partying with friends and I just didn’t could bother with them. Besides, even though I really like their older stuff, I just don’t think their two latest Steve Lee – less albums cut it and I really has lost a lot of interest in that band.

To finish this off, before I get to the reviews, I would love to give a HUGE round of applauds to all the staff and the promoters that has managed to create such a great festival in only two years. This festival is made by people who has a lot of heart, soul and passion for rock music, by people who picks their love for music over profits, by people who has gone out of their way to try to make this experience as loveable and comfortable for everyone who bought a ticket. There are also shitloads of volunteers that helped out with everything practical involving the festival without earning a dime. Impressive! I don’t know the exact number when it comes to ticket sales, but I heard something like 3000 on Friday and 5000 on Saturday, which sounds pretty accurate. But for every rock fan who didn’t attend: This is a festival that should be supported. Neither the one day or two-day tickets are expensive – quite the contrary – and the whole thing was very well organised. So let’s hope that there is at least one little bit of profit for the organisers and that they give us a Väsby Rock Festival in 2015 as well. I give this year’s festival a BIG 8/10 as a whole – and I’m positive that it will improve every year as well. Väsby Rock has all the potential to become a leading rock festival in the future. Well done!!!!

Get to the reviews:

Friday
Saturday

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