SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2012
Av Rune Grande(Sölvesborg, Sverige)
SWEDEN ROCK 2012
Sölvesborg - Sverige
6/6 - 9/6
Sweden Rock Festival blir i år arrangert for 21. gangen og er Nordens desidert største rene rockefestival. Alle band og artister som har betydd noe eller som fremdeles betyr noe har spilt der. Årets festival har samlet sammen en imponerende line up med MÖTLEY CRÜE, SOUNDGARDEN, TWISTED SISTER, BAD COMPANY, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, MOTÖRHEAD, THE DARKNESS og KING DIAMOND øverst på plakaten.
Sweden Rock Festival blir av mange omtalt som en av verdens beste utendørsfestivaler. Ble første gang arrangert i 1992, den gang som en endagsfestival og med bare 10 band på plakaten. Allerede året etter var Sweden Rock utvidet til en todagers festival og med betydelig flere band (23). Festivalen ble arrangert som en todagers festival de neste årene fram til og med 1999. I 2000 ble det innført en tredje dag, men de gikk tilbake til to igjen de neste 2 årene, før de igjen utvidet til tre dager i 2003. I 2007 ble enda en dag tilført og Sweden Rock har siden da vært en firedagers festival. I fjor var det hele 81 band som spilte under Sweden Rock.
Norske innslag under årets Sweden Rock er DIMMU BORGIR og RETURN.
Intervju med Martin Forssman
(av Rune Grande)
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL, could you please provide us with a brief overview of the history of this massive festival?
The festival started in 1992 under the name “Sommarfestivalen” (“The Summer Festival”) in Olofström. The founder, Ingolf Persson, was in his 30’s and thought it was strange that all music festivals were for teenagers. He wanted to start a festival that he and his friends would be interested in, with a focus on classic rock. In 1993 the festival moved to Karlshamn and was renamed Karlshamn Rock Festival. In 1998 it moved to it’s current location and in 1999 the name changed to Sweden Rock Festival. This was also the year when it was decided that this should be a hard rock and metal festival. For the first ten years several different owners were involved, the economy was often shaky and the festival was close to going bankrupt when it was taken over by new owner Michael Ivarsson. Under his management, most of the team except Ingolf were exchanged and the festival got clearer strategies and financial control. Ivarsson left after a few years, but the rest of the team he built has remained and in the last ten years, the festival has grown from 7400 attendants to 33000, while the Sweden Rock brand has been expanded with Sweden Rock Magazine, Sweden Rock Shop and Sweden Rock Cruises.
To make all this come together one would probably need more than one body and more than one mind, tell us a bit about the crew behind the festival, how do you make this all happen?
We are about a dozen people working full time all year around. As the festival dates draw closer, more and more people join in and all in all there are about 3000 people involved in making Sweden Rock Festival happen.
Booking bands could be a problem for any organizer, with a festival like SRF I suppose this is not a relevant issue, or is it?
Having a well-known brand like Sweden Rock makes it easier to get the agent’s attention, but it does not necessarily make band bookings easy. Anyone can put together a bunch of band names on a piece of paper. The tricky part is negotiating prices, and valuing how much different bands are worth compared to how many tickets you think they can sell. Also, availability is always a big factor – we have 81 bands on the bill this year, but to book those we have been negotiating with at least three times as many.
What is the top ten moments of the festival thus far?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I don´t think we can name any official moments - everyone’s experience of each festival is different and what is a top ten moment for one of us would be completely irrelevant to most other people. But to name one, I have to say that getting Twisted Sister to reform in 2003 was a bit of a turning point in the festival’s history. Getting the first Europe and Judas Priest reunion gigs in 2004 was also a milestone.
Have you suffered, like so many other festivals, from the financial crisis that struck Europe like a brick wall a couple of years ago? If so, how?…if not, why not…?
No, we haven´t noticed it at all.
Any dream acts past or present that has still to be on stage at SRF?
As a general rule, we don´t discuss bands that have not been confirmed for the festival. But Led Zeppelin would be nice!
Metal has once again grown in popularity during the past few years, any thoughts on the matter?
It is certainly much, much healthier than it was 10-12 years ago. But anyone thinking interest is on its peak right now should take a look at Finland, where metal is not only a big underground genre but actually a vital part of popular culture as a whole. You can go into a posh downtown Helsinki bar full of brats and hear a thrash metal song, and your local Oulu radio station will not think twice about playing heavy metal in between the Lady Gaga songs. I think both Sweden and Norway have a long way to go before we get there.
What can you tell us about the Sweden Rock band competition?
Basically, we realized that it was too hard for up and coming bands to get a slot at the festival. We get hundred, even thousands, of requests each year and we have had to turn everyone down since we didn´t really have slots for new talent. We did have the Nemis stage, and we still do, but that is a cooperation with the Swedish organization that is behind most of the rehearsal rooms here, so we don´t have much say in what bands get picked for that stage. Also, it is only open for bands who are members of that organization. Our band competition allows us to make slots available for both Swedish and foreign up and coming bands and apart from getting a slot they also get a small fee, catering, 4-day passes etc.
What do you think is the benefit for any given band to play a venue like SRF?
You get to play in front of an interested and usually big audience, you have 600+ journalists on the festival grounds and the best tech-, security- and artist service crews you will ever come across are working for you to make sure everything is on the highest possible level.
For SRF 2012, what are YOU looking forward to the most?
As for bands, I have to say King Diamond. It will be the very first full show he does after his back injury and heart surgery, and I know he is very excited about it. I’m sure it will be awesome.
Do you have any last words of encouragement as to why people from Norway should journey to Sölvesborg and the 2012 edition of Sweden Rock Festival?
Program med spilletidspunkt finner du her
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16.05.2013 SEXHIBITION 2012
15.05.2013 EXTREMEFEST 2013
14.05.2013 CLAYMORDS - Svalbard
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03.05.2013 Kabul på 48 timer
27.04.2013 NEUROTIC DEATHFEST 2013
17.04.2013 CLAYMORDS - Videoinnspilling
31.03.2013 KARMØYGEDDON 2013
02.03.2013 TRONDHEIM METALFEST 2013
26.02.2013 Greatest show on Earth as it is in Hell
26.02.2013 INFERNO 2013
21.01.2013 ILLUSION SUITE - Iron Cemetery
20.01.2013 HAMMERSLAG FESTIVAL VINTERBLOT 2013
06.01.2013 HOSTILE TERRORTORY 2013
05.01.2013 ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2012 - Ego edition
03.01.2013 ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2012 - Readers edition
21.12.2012 X-mas videos 2012
21.11.2012 SCORPIONS for siste gang i Norge
16.11.2012 OUIJABEARD - track by track
31.10.2012 HOSTILE TERRORTORY - Band Battles
17.10.2012 SUNSWITCH - Pre-listening party
09.09.2012 SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT 2012
19.08.2012 TIL DOVRE FALLER 2012
12.08.2012 BEYOND THE GATES 2012
03.08.2012 ATLANTERHAVSROCK 2012
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26.07.2012 RAUMAROCK 2012
24.07.2012 BUNKER 2012