The atmosphere is so refreshing, cheerful, personal, more denim and less new rocks, a laid-back party for metal maniacs, less poser and definitely warmer compared to the ones we are more used to. The organizer Kristian welcomes personally every visitor as if he was inviting all to his living room, where there is such a fireplace he is so proud to share. As soon as you cross the entrance gates of the venue you feel immediately home. We come to the last notes of Armory and already we felt assaulted by the wind of 80s…
Day 2 - 30 September 2017
The line-up for the second day looks definitely softer than the day before, and it seems tangible in the venue. Maybe because of some form of the collective hangover, or maybe even by the tunes of the first on stage, the band Teaser Sweet,
which confirms that, yes, we are far away from the yesterday’s slaughter. The sound is far better though, which gives to the show a big plus. Next on stage, Screamer, pure, bright heavy metal. Crowds won’t resist to the sing along on their catchy refrains, especially on Monte Carlo nights. Yes, Screamer caught all of us! Another great performance, but missing that “one louder” we got with Total Inferno and Ambush later on.
And here goes my bitterness level up, when the praised Sir Blaze Bayley comes on stage for his acoustic set. Diametrically opposite to most of the bands I’ve seen in this festival is the attitude of Mr Bayley to my eyes. Ostentation of the giant against the amused-amusing modesty of the other bands. The show works in itself, the violinist is so talented to give still a living vibe to the scene. Blaze warms up the audience that fills up more and more the venue floor, but…no, I am definitely not impressed, sir. The fact that you have been singing in titanic bands doesn’t necessarily mean that we are going to bang our heads to whatever you do.
Time for the last band, Bullet, a hard rock beast with heavy metal iron fists, who invite the audience to the last electric party. Authentic and accustomed performance, even spiced up with grinder and sparkles, a shiny storm of the blades! The knife is sharpened, the audience sweaty and gratified. The party shall be continued somewhere else, in some hotel rooms or pubs of the picturesque Jönköping. And the message is loud and clear, dear unholy blacksters: heavy metal is alive and kicking!
Here comes an interview to Kristian Möllerström, organizer of the festival, about the past and the future of Huskvarna Rock And Art Weekend.
- Hi Christian, thanks again for the amazing festival and for the passion you put into this. We heard rumors saying this might have been the last edition of the festival. What would you say about this? If this is just a rumor, as we really hope, how is the festival going to be? Any changes?
- When it comes to this particular edition, how comes Blaze Bayley performed his acoustic set? I found it quite out of place. Is there any particular reason behind such a choice?
- How do you choose the bands for every edition?
- Have you noticed an evolution-involution when it comes to the presence of the audience?
Definitely, it is and have always been a very friendly feeling of brotherhood between the bands and audience. That’s the goal and if you don’t have that feeling something is wrong. The response for this year have been great and I’m very proud of the lineup and how everything turned out. Most bands stayed for both days looking at each other’s shows, attended the tattoo convention as a crowd and well it’s all ”us” and no band only sits backstage and then just go back to the hotel after the show
Nowadays I only choose bands that I have seen live or that I want to see live, bands that have the hunger and that I know deliver on stage, it is as simple as that. From a business side of things it might be stupid not to book ”safe” bands that you know sells a lot of tickets, but as I’m doing this event on my spare time and for the love of music and not for money it would be useless to book stuff that I don’t like. Some of the years I kinnda did that with 2-3 bands each time to get a bigger variation. But i really felt it’s not worth it, I have to feel that I can stand 100% behind everything I do. To book bands for a date that is already set is a huge but really fun challenge. I usually start planning what lineup I would like to have for more than one year ahead.
- And finally, who better than you could answer to this question: how is the Swedish Heavy Metal doing?
And if Kristian says so…let there be Metal!
Text, interview and photos by Katia