June 5th – 8th 2019, Sölvesborg, Sweden
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Festivals often change their appearance and standard. Paradoxically, for some which are considered the biggest and are usually sold out very quickly, their standard has been very low in recent years. Organizers try to save on the wrong things and often replace stellar stadium headliners with club and indoor performers. The quality of services and catastrophic conditions in large crowded areas are not worth the price of the ticket. The Sweden Rock Festival is one of the exceptions that tries to maintain the high standard, and, in many respects, they succeed. The organizers have not yet compromised on their vision of offering the audience at least one of the most commercially successful representatives of the music scene, on each day of the festival (with the exception of the first day).
In addition, it is difficult to prove that the daily capacity of 35,000 visitors which the organizers officially state, is not actually exceeded. During the evening performances, I felt that there were more people in the crowd, but it may be just speculation on my part. I was significantly bothered by the division of the audience into two parts before Rock Stage and Festival Stage during the performances of the main acts. I understand the reason the promotors did this, but the whole matter was not well thought out and implemented. The members of the security team gathered in lines, which meant it was not possible to get further ahead. If someone was standing right next to the security guard and didn’t have a chance to move on in the crowd, they were face to face with that security guard all the time. Right in the crowd without barriers separating them. This is quite annoying and disturbing for the overall experience of the concert.
We are used to high prices for food and drinks at Sweden Rock. However, I recommend all future visitors to this festival exchange and withdraw a sufficient amount of money in advance. The fees for withdrawals at the bank located in front of the festival area are quite high. Unfortunately, it is not possible to pay all the refreshment sellers at the area by credit card. We often found that, although it was possible, the terminals did not work for the sellers.
The organizers thoroughly check the quality of the food on offer, so it is definitely worth splashing out and tasting some dishes from the rich menu of specialties from around the world. Outside the area, there are also several markets where drinks and food can be purchased at significantly lower prices. The organizers are really thinking about everything in this regard. Water and coffee were even available during the day – free of charge in several places on the premises. And if you were there early enough, baguettes and dairy products were also distributed for free. This definitely does not happen at most festivals.
Organizing such an enormous event is not easy, and without a doubt, it is impossible to meet the expectations of all visitors. There is always something that can be improved. The most important thing to me is that the positives at Sweden Rock definitely prevail. Despite very few shortcomings, I still have the same opinion. To me, Sweden Rock is the best organized festival of all I have had the opportunity to visit. The organizers focus on people, and their priority is to provide all participants with unforgettable experiences, despite the fact that nowadays calculated strategies with the intention of maximizing profits and gaining the effect of “magnificence” on social media sites, wins in the world; not an authentic experience.
The most important thing that we repeatedly focus on at Sweden Rock is, of course, the rich offering of musical performances of various branches of the rock, metal and even blues music scene. Over the course of four days, a total of 83 performers from different parts of the world take their turn on five stages. Compared to the past, this year is not so well represented by glam rock and hair metal performers. The year 2019 is marked by classic rock and hard rock. Sometimes it is very difficult to decide which band you prefer. Sometimes it is necessary to choose between two, and it happens sometimes between three performers at once. This year, I have found myself in a similar situation several times. For example, at the same time as SLAYER were on the list, the legend of the AOR scene, the Englishmen FM, also performed. Genre-wise completely different bands, which are probably expected to have very different audiences. After much deliberation, I chose the band FM, because they don’t play that often, and they were definitely one of the rare performances of Sweden Rock 2019. SLAYER announced a farewell tour, but I’ve seen quite a few of their concerts in the past.
The weather turned out perfectly for us, so we again enjoyed four unforgettable days in every way. This year, as I mentioned, I decided to go to Sweden Rock the day before so that I could enjoy the atmosphere more and use the time to walk around. I am happy to share my memories and perceptions with you, gathered during the four unforgettable festival days.