Festival Fury

No season is as romantised in rock as the summer. It's the time when everyone grow young, pack their bags and head into the sunset. Several major rockevents take places during the summer. Glitzine has been visiting two of Sweden's biggest rockmayhems - The Hultsfredfestival and The Arvikafestival.

Hultsfred is a small town in the south of Sweden. It's a typical swedish town and easy to reach by train or bus. Hultsfred is also the stage for Sweden's biggest annual rockevent - The Hultsfred festival. Every year this minor town gets crammed by thousands of punks, gothic rockers, skaters, popfreaks and even some posuers. All living close and peacefully together, sharing the same facilities without any friction worth mentioning. Yours truly lived next to some beautiful sisters and a couple of losers that eagerly and aggressively tried to convince me that make-up and fun was "girls stuff". Paradoxical they were into Backyard Babies. Slaves to conventions obviously.

The Line-up of the Hultsfredsfestival this year wasn't impressive. Highlights were the reunited Black Sabbath, The Verve and Backyard Babies. The Verve later cancelled their show, putting the staff in a rather unpleasant situation, to find a replacement within 24 hours. They managed to find This Perfect Day, a pretty good swedish powerpop band. A huge step down, no need to mention, plenty of the visitors were disappointed.

I've never been into any music by Black Sabbath but I realize that this reunion with the original line-up, is a big thing among fans. Everyone,   regardless of musical preferences, looked upon Black Sabbath as the saviours of this year's Hultsfredfestival. I agree that it was cool to watch Ozzy walk like an old lady on the stage. He's one of the most charismatic vocalists in rock but as I'm not into their songs, I lost my patience after 15 minutes. Well, meeting a beautiful girl might have something to do with it.

Spooky Misfits, is another "reunited" band that quite a few seemed to enjoy watching. I liked The Misfits, their music and image is about as cool as punk gets. I liked the Misfits but the band on stage in Hultsfred is NOT Misfits, as least not to me. Mainmen Glen Danzig and Bobby Steele are missing which makes this reunion seem rather pathetic and pointless. Imagine Ramones without Joey or Johhny Ramone; Sex Pistols without Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten, Kiss without Paul Stanley or Gene Simmons et.c. The Audience seemed to love it though and that is, after all, the most important thing isn't it? Anyway, very few reunions match the flash of the "real" thing.

Two bands were of greater interest than the rest - Backyard Babies and Space Age Baby Jane. Backyard Babies is Sweden's biggest rockband at the moment and aregrowing way out of their homecountry. The band consists of Nicke Borg (vocals & Guitar), Dregen (Guitars & Vocals), Johan Blomquist (bass) and Peder Carlsson (drums). Dregen and Borg make up a frontduo with almost unlimited starquality and potential. Recently bassist Blomquist have been on fire as well. This band breaths rock n roll and eventhough their latest album - "Total 13" - was some kind of a disappointment, they're destined for the stars. Contrary to most bands, Backyard Babies are real. Dregen and Borg ARE rock n roll, the first mentioned is one of the most energetic appearences you'll ever get the chance to watch. Johhny Thunders didn't die in vain. In case you haven't heard the band, they sound like a 90's version of Hanoi Rocks, Guns n Roses and Sex Pistols
. One got down, three to go. Well, it won't be long until all four hit the dirt on Backyard Babies command.

Most songs were from "Total 13" except a cover of Hanoi Rocks' "Taxi Driver" and "Fill Up this Bad Machine", the latter is from Backyard Babies' first album - "Diesel & Power". I wouldn't mind if the Babies increased the amount of songs from their debut which material is a bit more varied and, in fact, better. The hitsingle "Look at You" got the audience nuts and was the concerts brightest moment. Backyard Babies easily won the battle of Hultsfred.

The Hultsfredfestival is very recommended. Even if the music ain't up your alley, it's a pleasant experience. Lots of people from different subcultures. If you're interested in discussing music, life, love or politics, no one will be speechles. Everyone has got an opinion and that is what makes every festival worth while when the music suck (which it usually does). There were however some tendencies at Hultfred that I dislike a lot. I had a backstage pass which gives access to the space behind the stages. This is the ultimate place of segregation. Only bands or business are allowed backstage. Getting there was no problem, the fuss started when I tried to get in where the beer was served. I might add that this was also the place where everyone was, actually this was the real backstage area. The Guard (you have to be 18 years old to buy beer in Sweden) grabbed my shoulder, looked me in the eye - a look that said "You're not that welcome here" - held me for a couple of seconds before releasing me. I won't jump on anyone for doing his job BUT one can be nice and this action had nothing to do with me being underage. Then why did he let me enter despite that sore look on his face? I didn't like it inside. Too many "wanna bee's" and people who felt very important and laughed in the "right places" when even more important people attempted to be funny. Things like that makes me sick, I'm not a part of the ratrace. Maybe it was me that was in the wrong mood? Probably... Anyway I left to watch a concert, the sad scenario started when I got back and tried to get in again. The Same guard as before had obviously changed his mind, this time evil looks wasn't enough, he wouldn't let me enter. He asked for I.D. I answered that I didn't have any. Come on! I bring flyers, my glamkit, my good sense of humour and drugs to a festival but not my I.D. I had it back at the camp (which was far away from the backstage area). I may look younger than my age but not like 17! Gimme a break! I don't like that attitude. Why being hostile to your guests? I thought this was about rock n roll. I thought the general approach was to have fun. Obviously not. I guess it's all about beat and bow in the right places. I told him to get lost and left just to run into the beautiful girl (who I mentioned earlier)... in the arms of another man. Life's fair isn't it?

Arvika as a small town in the west of Sweden, close to the border of Norway. The Arvikafestival has got a focus on goth and industry, Sisters of Mercy was the headliners. During the festival I watched Kent (a swedish popband), Sisters of Mercy, Backyard Babies and Space Age Baby Jane.

Sisters Of Mercy are an interesting band. How Andrew Eldrich manages to get such a reputation and following is a mystery to me. Sure, the music is quite good but not anything special. There must be some magic or poison to which I'm immune. It was raining cats and dogs during the concert and all goths really had to stand the test of weather, all their black make-up fell to the ground. I suppose it was worth it though as this was Sisters of Mercy's only appearance in Sweden this summer.

Backyard Babies grabbed Arvika by the balls. The Audience freaked out and this was the wildest moment in Sweden this summer. The Guards in front of the stage pulled people over the fence. Lots of stagediving et.c. The Babies had the same set as usual, I'm starting to get a bit bored due to that.

Space Age Baby Jane was a pleasant suprise. This is an up and coming band fromBorlänge, Sweden. They play glitter pop/rock heavily influenced by Bowie. Vocalist/ guitarist Anders Ljung is an androgyneous gypsy from outer space and guitarist Mick knows all the cliches which make rock n roll survive. Steve Priest-look- a-like bassist Laban, seem to be stuck in one place though. All in all, Space Age Baby Jane is one magical band. Glitzine will feature more on them in the near future.

Both festivals are worth a visit. It was very hard for Glitzine to get presstickets however. The Staff in Hultfred only gave me a backstage- pass with the justification that they receive applications from many fanzines and magazines. The Next breath they started talking about how well they support the underground scene. I guess that scene doesn't include glam/sleaze rock. Glitzine is, by far, the biggest glam/sleaze magazine in Europe (10 000 readers) or maybe even the world. If the festival wanted to support glamrock, Glitzine would be the best choice but as too many times before - glamrock was neglected. The Responsible at Arvika managed to lose Glitzine's application. Therefore, everyone who reads this and think the general view upon glamrock sucks. Mail Hultsfred  & Arvika and demand more glam/sleaze rock and Glitzine.

For more information:
Hultsfred -  Website   &  E-mail
Arvikafestivalen -  Website   &  E-mail