The day before we took off for Sweden Rock Festival we did like we always do – checked out the weather forecast. It was not a nice read at all – rain, rain, rain and more rain. Sweden Rain Festival 2017. Facebook pictures of friends who had already arrived in Sölvesborg spoke of the same thing – rain! I hate rain. Especially when it decides to join us for SRF. There are few things that can screw up my party mood like rain and also, there’s nothing that can convince me to stand outside watching a band – no matter who said band is – when it’s raining cats and dogs outside, so things didn’t look good at all. Well, when we arrived at Ronneby airport, the sun was shining and it didn’t look as bad as the forecast had told us. Finally at our cabin, we could actually sit outside with our shirts off, soaking up the sun with a cold beer in hand. But it didn’t take long before the dark clouds gathered and even though it didn’t start to rain then, we could all feel it coming. But except for a pretty hard shower the first night, the rain decided to go and bother people elsewhere for the rest of the festival – and not only did we got rid of the rain, we also got three days of hot summer and when the sun comes out to keep us warm, we automatically have a winner. The festival that was supposed to rain away, turned into another one of sunshine, smiles, laughter and lots of great music.
The downside with this year’s festival was that many of the bookings were reruns and too many bands that doesn’t exactly rock my world. I didn’t think the bookings were bad but after a few years of fantastic line-ups, this year felt like a middle year band wise. However, it wasn’t like I was thinking about not going – not even close. When it comes to the bands I had chosen to see, there are always some hick-ups that makes me miss out on a band or two. Mishaps like two of those bands playing at the same time, hangovers and me sleeping late happens every year – and sometimes I’m having too much fun with my friends doing other stuff and just forget about it. But just like last year, the fucking rain made sure that I missed one band that I had really been looking forward to. Last year, Queensrÿche rained off my radar and this year it was Black Star Riders turn – and bummed me the fuck out. With a new brilliant album out in Heavy Fire, I had been looking forward to catch them in action, but it wasn’t to be. Other than them, there wasn’t that much I was interested in the first night except for Helix – who replaced Y&T who cancelled – and them I got to watch. I also have to mention that Swedish melodic rockers Art Nation, a band I have heard of but never listened to, played this day. I didn’t bother with them since I had never heard them, but I got to hear them at our after party the last night of the festival and damn it they were good. I should have checked them out as well.
Come Thursday and what do you know, I actually managed to catch all the acts I had set to watch that day so there’s not much to add there. On Friday the first band-collision showed up. Both The Dead Daisies and Gotthard played at the same time and since I have waited a long time to get to see the Daisies, it was a no-brainer for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Gotthard, but for me, there have been a quality dip in the band’s albums after Steve Lee passed away and after reading a spoiler set-list of Gotthard recent live-gigs, I didn’t even think twice about my choice here. But Saturday came with some mishaps, though. Electric Boys are a band I really, really like and they always deliver live, but they went on too damn early and I overslept – something I regret today. There was also another band-collision, this time between Corroded and Thunder but since I’m a big fan of Thunder, they won, so there you go. Also, Dare who replaced Kansas on the bill were missed. Too many beers in the sun outside of our cabin and a walk to the festival area that took forever made me miss their gig – bummer. But I did watch Saxon for a bit. I love their Denim And Leather (1980) album and they have written some damn good songs during their hey-days, but to be honest, I was never a big Saxon fan and I hadn’t planned to watched them. I stayed along for too few songs for a review, but Saxon sounded good, tight and heavy and Biff Byford still has a strong voice. But I lost interest too fast, for some reason and headed out for a beer and a late “dinner”.
As always, an after-party from Hell at our cabin after the final note was played in the VIP area closed this years’ festival and we were a really strong bunch that kept going until 6 o’clock in the morning. How come those things never gets old? Oh, the fun! So, even though things didn’t look all that swell beforehand, we got ourselves another magic festival and as always, I can’t find anything to complain about other than the disgusting beers that are being sold in the festival area – there must be something better than those brands out there that would want to supply the festival with their beer. A big thanks to all my awesome friends that shared the cabin with me and my fiancée Hanna – my brother Mattias and his wife Tallee, Roger and Emma, Amanda and Björne, Mankan and Carin – you rock! And also a big thanks to all the fabulous people that helped making our after party the mayhem that it was. And a special thank you goes out to Martin Forsman – you’re a sweetheart and a savior. Big hugs. Now I’m counting the days to Sweden Rock 2018.
If you want to check out older SRF reviews go here:
Photos by Hanna Henrikson