This is about my first time…No, not THAT first time, that was already well documented in a letter to Penthouse Forum in the mid-80’s. I’m talking about my first time at the Sweden Rock Festival held June 7-10 2017 in Solvesborg, Sweden.
Actually, this is about many first times for me good and bad including the first time flying overseas, traveling outside of the U.S., and the first time experiencing a massive Rock Festival in a foreign country.
My Sweden Rock experience and the first of my many first times started at the gate of Denver International Airport waiting to board the Air Canada plane for my 8-hour layover in Toronto before flying into Copenhagen, Denmark when the temporary crown I had put on the week before, popped off. Ensuring that I would spend my layover looking for a Toronto dentist to re-attach it. But first, I had to get through my first time going through Canada customs. I got through customs my first time, then a second time and a third time after continually taking wrong turns in the Toronto Airport leading me back through customs until they escorted me through their personal exit. This was also well documented in an episode of the CGCM podcast, thanks a lot, Meister…not.
Fast forward to meeting up with my Canadian comrades, Rich “The Meister” Dillon (Decibel Geek website editor) and DBG photographer Shawn “Animalize” Irwin boarding our flight in Toronto to Copenhagen. And then our Swedish Decibel Geek writer, Mikael Svensson at the hotel outside of Solvesborg. The four of us Geeks arrived at the festival grounds the next morning early and after parking, I followed behind them with a video camera in hand through what seemed like an endless line of vendors hawking a plethora of everything imaginable to spend our newly converted Swedish money on. From food and alcohol to merchandise and memorabilia, it was a virtual Rock ‘n’ Roll Flea Market that I could have easily spent the whole day perusing but, we had over 80 of the top Hard Rock bands waiting for us.
I have attended a few of the biggest American festivals including Rocklahoma yet, I was still overwhelmed after walking through Sweden Rock‘s pearly gates of KISS adorned faces to witness the massive acreage of 5 stages, even more vendor booths, a huge food court, and a big open restroom area shared by all men & women (first “culture shock” but hey, when in Rome…err Sweden).
Time to Rock: My purpose of providing video clips for Decibel Geek TV, the Decibel Geek YouTube channel was put into overdrive running between 5 stages to capture the sets of as many of the great Rock acts, many that I was seeing for the first time (keeping with the theme of this review) as I possibly could such as Aerosmith, Scorpions, Warlock, RATT, KIX, Running Wild, Saxon, Helix, Thunder, Alter Bridge, and over 70 others plus squeezing in interviews like Brian Vollmer of Helix and the great Dutch Heavy Metal band Picture. This proved to be not as difficult as with the American festivals I’ve been to because unlike American festival-goers, that pack themselves in tightly as close to the stage as possible and then defend that space with sometimes violent vigor, Sweden Rock Festival-goers were mostly spread out in rows leaving walkways for people to maneuver through and just rockin’ out to the show having a good time with friendly respect to everyone around them, even the guy with a camera on a selfie-stick that showed up at the front of the stage in the middle of a set. I was also amazed at how organized the festival was with sticking to the schedule meticulously as every band started on their perspective stage exactly at the time scheduled with very few noticeable glitches, this has never been the case at any other festival that I’ve been to.
After 4 days, over 80 bands, and having a great time with thousands of fellow rockers, I can honestly say that my first time at Sweden Rock was my best festival experience ever. So much so, that my first time will not be my last time as I’m already in talks with the wife to return in 2018. I know another roster of over 80 Hard Rock/Metal bands will be announced that will surely make the next time at Sweden Rock in June of 2018 even better than…my first time!
concert review by Rockin’ Ron Runyon
Be sure to check out the full Decibel Geek coverage of the 2017 Sweden Rock Festival including Meister‘s Daily recaps, Mikael‘s Spotlight Gig Reviews and Shawn‘s Photo Galleries.
And of course my live videos clips and my recap video!