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The festival is being held at Moheds Flygfält in Söderhamn, 210 km north of Stockholm’s Arlanda airport in the beautiful and mythical county of Hälsingland (Hell-Sing-Land), at an old army airfield. The 3rd annual Rockweekend Festival was once again held at a new location for this year - according to the festival manager, this will be the permanent location for future Rockweekend Festivals. This was my second year coming here, and I’m so impressed with this festival but it seems to be forever struck with bad luck. Last year, there was bad weather...really bad weather I might add, and this year, Rockweekend was set on the same dates as the Getaway Festival in Gävle, 80 km from Söderhamn. With bands like Slash, Motörhead, Megadeth, Cavalera Conspiracy, Europe and Exodus they were sold-out and, according to the media, also the winners of the “battle of the festivals” in the area.

As a rather new festival, Rockweekend has some problems they must try to solve in the future. There was a lot of confusion and bad information when my company and I arrived, not even a sign from the highway. On the other hand, people were nice and very keen to help. Misfortunes never come singly and a power failure was the first thing that happened one hour before the first band was due on stage. This, that we read about later in the local paper, also led to problems with electricity in the food stands and the running water, causing most of the stands to close business before even starting.

Despite all of this, I really like this festival and I hope they will go on for years to come. The reason for this, in my opinion, is simply this: great and exciting bands - both new and old, the heart and passion for both the music and the festival, from the organizers as well as the local citizens. Fair prices, tickets to Rockweekend were half the price of Getaway but still they had twice as good bands! And guess what? Rockweekend 2010 was, in the end, the biggest and most successful yet! This, overall, gets my “horns up” and, yes, I am keen on going again next year - keep it true!
Thursday 8th July - Saturday 10th July 2010
Moheds Flygfält in Söderhamn, Sweden
"Rockweekend 2010 was, in the end, the biggest and most successful yet!"
Tarja Turunen performing at Rockweekend, 8th July 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Annika Argerich - www.metal-discovery.com
Reviews by Ritchie LaRoux; Photography by Annika Argerich
The first band on Rockweekend’s main stage was Obituary from Tampa, Florida. The 5th best selling death metal band so far in history promised a blistering pace for the festival. With a stage time of 19:30 and due to the fact that the festival area opened at 19:10, there was little time for an eventual bigger crowd to be converted into death metal soldiers. The 2-300 die hard fans that made it, would have their hour of satisfaction to one of death metal´s finest acts around. There were some sound problems through the show but it didn’t seem to matter that much to an already familiar audience. Obituary delivered their crushing metal with brilliance and seemed to have a great time on stage. Celebrating their 20th anniversary their songs span from their legendary first ‘Slowly We Rot’ from 1989
to their latest ‘Darkest Day’ released in 2009 and it should leave no fan disappointed to one of the true pioneers of the genre. There should have been a bigger crowd for this exclusive show though; last time they came to Sweden was in 2006, now finally on a big stage, and they certainly deserve it. Good show guys - hope you’ll come back to kick some Swedish ass again.
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Never underestimate people’s curiosity. Next up on the schedule at 21:00 was ex-Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen. Now thousands of people had found their way to the front of the stage and awaited the appearance of the opera voice from the neighbouring country of Finland. Tarja received a warm welcome as she entered the stage, all dressed in white, accompanied by the powerhouse Mike Terrana on drums! This was a promising opening indeed. Promoting her new release ‘What Lies Beneath’, Tarja made this exclusive and much appreciated appearance at Rockweekend. Unfortunately the level of the vocals shifted widely and this added more confusion to my mind if this really was a good idea. Being one of the doubtful to this concept and not a fan of female voices in metal in general, I really tried to give it a chance. It wasn’t all bad though - Terrana gave it all stability and Tarja was professional and her face lit up with joy when she reached out for support and received it. Among the highlights were ‘I Walk Alone’, ‘Poison’ (Alice Cooper Cover) and the ‘Over The Hills’ cover. Since I’m neither a Nightwish or a Tarja fan, this was not my cup of tea. But the amazing Mike Terrana made me watch the whole 60 minutes without regrets. Hard to say if the fans of Nightwish and Tarja were pleased though, but judging by the audience reactions it seemed to be okay.
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Much as one may wish otherwise, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Mr.Waters has run out of interesting ideas. While his talent at guitar is indisputable, he has simply failed to write consistently strong material for years. Fortunately enough, with classic albums like ‘Alice In Hell’, ‘Never, Neverland’ & ‘Set The World On Fire’ the Canadian Thrashers have earned their spot at the main stage of any festival. Their appearance at Rockweekend was surprisingly good. Annihilator´s well-crafted meaty Thrash Metal tunes of high quality had the audience attention throughout the gig. Waters was excellent and it was clear to all that he was pleased with everything on stage. The combination of his vocals along with returning frontman Dave Padden worked out quite well. With highlights like ‘Alice in Hel’, ‘The Trend’ and ‘Set the World on Fire’, added with a genuine determination and passion for metal, Waters & co put on an energetic effort which makes for an enjoyable 75 minutes on this, the first festival day. And there is no doubt that Jeff Waters and his band will continue to deliver the goods for appreciative fans all over the globe.
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The clock is near midnight and as the headliners on this first day are about to enter the stage, there is only a couple of hundred spectators present. It was a bit of a surprise to me, since there was a lot of appreciation in advance that Rockweekend managed to book the legendary Venom for the festival. For those of you that have seen Venom, you know that they aren't the most visually entertaining band on the scene…to put it mildly. Between the squealing screams/singing, Cronos walks from one place to another, bangs his head and bass for a while, then repeats the pattern. It would not hurt if the band loosened up just a bit once in a while. After the first 5-6 songs ‘Black Metal’, ‘Straight To Hell’, ‘Countess Bathory’, ‘Bloodlust’, ‘Welcome To Hell’, it got really boring. The sound was awful, even with "Venom Standards" it got worse and worse. The bass drums were the only thing you could hear; the guitar seemed to be dead, and people left. It was too bad to endure, even for most die hard fans. My company and I left as well all in all pleased with the first day, despite some minor setbacks. As we slowly walked away from the festival area, in the confusing light of the nordic night - we had our minds set on the second day, hoping that the overall sound would improve and that people would show up!
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