Since the demise of Väsby Rock Festival a few years ago, a Rock festival in Stockholm is something I have missed – and is much needed. Therefore the news of another festival in Sweden’s capital would take place was really great. The difference between Rock City and Väsby Rock is that while VRF was more of a miniature Sweden Rock Festival, an outdoors happening RCS is an indoors happening and takes place at Annexet inside the Stockholm Globe Arena, a smaller venue that swallows somewhere around 2000 – 3000 people. The death of VRF was due to poor audience attendance which was a damn shame as it was very professionally organized and since it was easy to get there if you lived around Stockholm, be it by car, bus or train, it was strange that more people didn’t show up. Its biggest problem, however, was that it took place in July, a time where many had gone on vacation or just returned from it with little money to spend.
One of the organizers of VRF, Bosse “Zinny Zan” Stagman, is also involved in RCS and wise from his experience with VRF, he and his partners decided April would be a better month for an arrangement like this. And I must say that RCS was extremely well-organized – everything ran smoothly and the guys that handled the light and sound were truly world-class professionals. This was the work of true pros, no doubt about that. But as a new festival RCS suffered from the same disease that killed off VRF – poor attendance. Part of that issue is, at least if I get to speculate freely, is what I call the Stockholm Syndrome Pt 2. I have the feeling that many Stockholm rockers are a bit jaded and just can’t seem to be arsed with a thing like this and I also have the feeling that if this kind of festival was to take place in say Gothenburg or Malmö, the place would be sold-out. I could be wrong but lots of people I have talked to agrees with me on that.
Ok, so the ticket wasn’t super-cheap but this festival was announced several months ahead and it can’t be that hard to save up the cash for the ticket. Also, it takes place just outside of the city which makes it super-easy to get there – no matter where around Stockholm you live. One reason for the audience fall-off is very likely because we didn’t get a huge draw band-wise, only “smaller” bands were on the bill, but I can’t really subscribe to that anyway. In my book, the event itself should be able to draw at least a 1000 people a day, but a bigger headliner would probably have filled the place. Slaughter and Michael Schenker aren’t headline acts as such, I guess. Of course, the whole set-up wasn’t without hick-ups, Joe Lynn Turner was booked but the poor guy suffered a mild heart-attack recently and was forced to cancel every gig this summer – all our best to Joe and we hope for a big recovery. Turner was replaced by H.E.A.T., a world-class live act and a band that probably pulls more people than Turner would, to be honest.
For me personally, all the acts that I saw did a damn fine job and none of them were even a small disappointment. However, due to a strained time schedule, I was forced to miss Swedish AOR rockers Wildness that opened day two. A huge bummer as their debut album is superb and I would have loved to see them live. I was told that they played a killer gig, though. I also missed most of Dynazty’s gig, another damn bummer. I have seen Dynazty several times before and they always put on a great show and their albums are great so that was a shame. I only saw the last three songs – “The Human Paradox”, “Titanic Mass” and “Starlight” and they all sounded awesome. Also, the idea to put smaller bands – in this case Cruel Intentions on day one and Reach on day two – after the headliners had played maybe wasn’t the best idea in the world. When they played there was hardly anybody left in the venue and even yours truly made his exit after Slaughter played, tired after a long, long Friday. So I was a no-show when Cruel Intentions went on. Sorry, guys.
As a whole, this whole event was great – really great – and I had an amazing time, something everyone I talked to agreed on which means that all of those who decided to stay put at home missed out. Also, all the musicians that I talked to said the same thing, they were really happy about the whole thing and it kinda figures as for many of them, it will probably take a long, long time until they will be treated with playing on a stage like the one in Annexet, with the brilliant light show and the sound. Hopefully, the word will be spread about his little festival and that they will be able to fill the place next year – because there will be another Rock City Stockholm. So Stockholm rock fans, get thy shit together and make sure to grab a ticket for RCS 2019. If we fill this place up next year the party potential is endless!
Dynazty photo by Hanna Henrikson