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Sweden Rock Festival 2023 | Live report

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Pantera @Sweden Rock Festival, afternoiz.gr Photos by Savvina Eleftheriadou
Pantera @Sweden Rock Festival, afternoiz.gr Photos by Savvina Eleftheriadou

So the time for this year’s version of our favourite festival was getting closer and closer but nothing was going right about this trip. Schedule difficulties, delays, flight cancellations and various other troubles were setting a quite pessimistic mood about the outcome of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Sweden Rock Festival 2023!

30years of Sweden Rock Festival_afternoiz.gr

In the end our fears vanished in the air as in general the whole festival was a success. Not of course without some dark spots every now and then. But we will get into it below.

Let’s get started.

Sweden Rock Festival 2023_afternoiz.gr
Sweden Rock Festival 2023

Wednesday, 7 June, Sweden Rock Festival

The sun is shining over the fields of Norje, warming everybody up for a four-day non-stop party! We are already in place, covered in sunscreen, ready to check Dynazty out. The Swedes are extremely popular, so the audience in front of Sweden Stage is big and eager. The band doesn’t disappoint them: energised, strong and loud, they have everybody jumping up and down. After that, the signs of a heatstroke became apparent, so retreat to the shade is necessary. However, we are back for Airbourne, ruling Festival Stage, the biggest of all four stages. The party continues with the band in excellent form and the audience enjoying every minute of it.

The sun has started being less strong

so it makes it easier to move back to Sweden Stage. What made the process more difficult, though, was the number of people. Queues of people wanting to buy food and/ or drink, combined with the already large number of people wanting to move about certainly was something everyone still complains about.

Queues of people everywhere!

Anyway, we made it in time to watch one of the most anticipated reunions, that of Wig Wam. Having watched Åge Sten Nilsen with Ammunition not so long ago, this time we were a little let down by the state of his voice. The quality of the sound didn’t seem to help either, although the band was in great spirits and delivered a great show. What made the process more difficult, though, was the number of people.

Following the same route, we return to Festival Stage

for Def Leppard. The number of people seemed to have increased, making the trip even longer, but it’s Def Leppard on stage and that is all that matters. Excellent form, fantastic show, top-notch music, a band having fun and an audience mesmerised. There is something magical about this band and everyone agreed on that. Personal opinion: it was them who were the real headliners of the evening. Short break for food and out of a friend’s suggestion, we move back to Sweden Stage to check out Avatar. Melodic death metal in a more avant-garde style, they offered a quite impressive show with lots of pyro.

Our day closed with Mötley Crüe on Festival Stage. In the presence of 43000 people (the official number given- in reality there were many more), the band was in obviously better shape than a few years prior, but Vince Neil seemed absent, together with his voice. But that is no news.

Thursday, 8 June, Sweden Rock Festival

The sun is shining over the fields of Norje today also, and the dust fills each and every pore in our bodies. We are thinking it’s way better than having to deal with rain, so we make our way to see Lita Ford at Festival Stage. The 64-year-old delivered an all-about-the-guitar show, obviously enjoying herself greatly, too, so the result could only be successful.

Later that evening one of our most anticipated acts hit Sweden Stage. Myrath with their enormous production. Dancers (many of them), costumes, pyro, fires, swords, swords on fire and a setlist full of their biggest hits and some new songs delivered a show very difficult to get over. The crowd seemed ecstatic also singing and dancing along.

Extremely satisfied we headed to Festival Stage

for the headliners of the day, the mighty Deep Purple. Keeping our expectations low, we were absolutely surprised watching and listening to those legends delivering a nothing less than a decent and very nostalgic and beautiful show.

The time has come for our favourite act of this year’s line up

Europe got on Rock Stage and gave us their best performance of all times we had the luck to watch them live. My God, what a show it was! In our opinion much better than their 30th anniversary show they gave 10 years earlier at the same festival.

What a day actually!

Friday, 9 June, Sweden Rock Festival

Another glorious day starts and we are all prepared and ready to party at Festival Stage together with H.E.A.T. And so we did as H.E.A.T. are a always a trustworthy act to give a fantastic show. Playing at their own home, as SRF is litteraly their crib, they feel comfortable and fully energised by the love of the crowd.

We then move over to Rock Stage for TNT.

Some sounds issues (again) and it’s more than obvious the band are far from happy about it, rightfully so. The problem is fixed at some point and the show goes on. Opinions about their performance differed. In our opinion, Tony Harnell sounded better than the last time we saw them live.

Next was Mike Tramp’s turn to get on Sweden Stage.

The front man of White Lion gave all he could give to deliver a decent show. Surely he seemed to be in a great mood even making some jokes between the songs. Us? Well, we were just glad to watch him live. We didn’t appreciate that much his effort to change the sound of his songs, though.

 

An act we wouldn’t miss for the world, was that of Powerwolf. As always we had the best time, enjoying the band in great shape and spirits, having the whole audience singing and jumping up and down!

As the day was drawing to a close, headliners Iron Maiden took over to complete the festival day. Nothing new here, high-class heavy metal, huge crowd (we were constantly notified to arrive early, as long queues were expected), classic tunes and top-notch performance.

Saturday, 10 June, Sweden Rock Festival

Last day and the heat and dust persist. “Beer is great, but have you tried water?” notifications beeping on phones, we make our way towards Festival Stage for Skid Row. No doubt the band has come back to life after Erik Grönwall took over as lead singer and singing on Swedish ground made the whole thing an experience to remember. Party time in all its glory.

Beer is great, but have you tried water?

After such an experience, the best way to cool down is to watch something classic: Billy Gibbons & the BFGS. We are talking about a whole different level, a whole different school, a whole different planet. Everything else is an understatement.

A little of Alter Bridge with Myles Kennedy’s beautiful voice was music to our ears as we wandered around the festival area grabbing a bite, having one or two ciders and watching people, one of our favourite activities besides actual concerts.

And then the time for Pantera came.

I can’t even find words to describe this explosion of a concert. Not being an actual fan of the band this show won us 100%. Maybe the Almighty Zakk Wylde on the guitars played a huge part for this. We should mention here a very beautiful tribute on the video walls of Rock Stage to Dimebag Darell and Vinnie Paul while the band performed a cover of Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan. A concert to never forget.

Actually that was it.

But we should stay a little longer to watch the last headliners of the festival Ghost and their amazing production and performance on Festival Stage. Not a big fan of their music, not haters either though, we stayed a little bit but eventually exhaustion got us and we took the road back to our cabin, full, contented, happy, but also sad about the time flying so fast when you’re having a blast!

 

The whole festival ended with a huge and awesome firework show above the sacred grounds of Norje, the best little spot on the map.

Sweden Rock Festival 2023_Fireworks _afternoiz.gr
Sweden Rock Festival 2023_Fireworks

Until next year (let’s hope not so crowded)!

Savvina Eleftheriadou
Georgia Alipranti

Sweden Rock Festival 2024 – June 5 – 8