Sweden Rock 2004 Festival Review

Many, many thanks to Jollyhawker for this excellent review of the Sweden Rock 2004 Festival, and more
particularly, Hawkwind's performance there.  The graphic is from the official Sweden Rock website (URL
shown in graphic) which bears watching as they might post some photos from this year's festival...

Rude words asterisked out for the benefit of those surfing at work!
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Let me just say that this is not a biased view it is the consensus of opinion of all the people I talked to at the
festival and the opinion of all was that HAWKWIND were F***ING AWESOME!!!!!

Thursday 10th June
The two of us (my mate Julian and me) set off from Porthcawl, S. Wales at 2am for the long drive to
Stanstead Airport, N. London to catch the 8.10am Ryan Air flight to Sturrup Airport in Malmo, Sweden,
with great anticipation and excitement. We knew it was going to be a great festival as we had been there
two years ago and had a fantastic time. Then we had driven all the way which took us 27 hours but was
well worth it! This year's was a sell-out - 20,000 people, the first time in its history it has sold out in
advance, last year selling out each day. It's getting better each year and how can it fail with the fantastic
line-ups they provide! The flight was on time and took us 1hr 20mins to get there. Passing through
passport control the guy was more interested in my HAWKWIND T-Shirt than checking me out for any
illegal substances! Which Julian found very amusing! We said goodbye to the other rock fans we met on
the flight, a few HAWKWIND fans amongst them and went to collect our hire car which turned out to be a
brand new Nissan Micra with all the mod cons and a very good CD player which was soon blasting out
'Spaced Out in London'! And set off for our hotel in Tyngsryd another 3 hours away but only 30 mins
from the festival site! We decided we were not going to rough it this year and treat ourselves to a little
holiday with beds and a shower!!! - very civilized! On arriving we had a few hours sleep and a shower and
set off to the festival at Solvesborg to catch various bands but mainly JUDAS PRIEST. They were
excellent but we both thought that Rob Halford failed to reach the high notes which he is famed for! A
good day and so we set off back to the hotel looking forward to the next day and of course HAWKWIND!

Friday 11th June
Woke at 8.30am, had breakfast, showered and set off to the festival. Spent most of the morning and early
afternoon looking at the stalls, eating, drinking, getting stoned (as you do!) and listening to various bands,
APRIL WINE standing out in my mind. We decided to go to the huge Main Stage an hour before
HAWKWIND were due on to get a place right down the front and to catch them doing the sound check. As
we approached the stage Julian hoisted the Welsh Flag and I could see Dibs and Chris pointing to us and
waving and as we waved back we could see the band also pointing and waving at us looking very surprised
and pleased to see us! We planted ourselves a-mid-stage and by that time various HAWKWIND fans from
around the world came to talk to us and we all had a good laugh talking about many things - HAWKWIND
mainly! Dave Brock and co were looking very happy and were joking around with one another and us.
They did the sound check and the heavens opened - it pissed down and we got soaked!! I said to Julian I
would become a practicing Catholic again if God would make it stop - He heard me because by the time
they took to the stage it did stop!!! (by the way God - I lied!!!) HAWKWIND came on to thunderous
applause at 4.30pm and launched into ASSAULT AND BATTERY followed by THE GOLDEN VOID
which soon made us forget about being wet and blasting our misery away!! The sound was perfect -
crystal clear and very loud! They were still a three piece, it didn't make any difference - 3 or 8, the music
was awesome! This was followed by WHERE ARE THEY NOW? And PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS , and
then Dave announced that they had some special guests playing with them - DAVE WYNDORF and PHIL
GAIVANO from MONSTER MAGNET!! And we all knew it had to be the RIGHT STUFF! - F***ING
AWESOME! What a rush man, this was easily the highlight of the gig! (those of you not present will be
pleased to know that it was filmed) The crowd went wild! Other songs included WINGS, BRAINBOX
POLLUTION, SPIRIT OF THE AGE, EJECTION, ANGELA ANDROID, HASSAN I SAHBA and EARTH
CALLING - all played exceptionally well but not necessarily in that order!! I might have left out some songs
for which I apologise but I was very stoned at the time! What a fantastic performance which rightly
deserved the two encores they received! One of only two bands to receive two encores during the whole
festival - which says it all really! They should have been headlining that day because THE SCORPIONS
sucked!

HAWKWIND did not have their light show with them and neither did they bring any merchandise to sell at
the festival (a bit silly really!) but the stage lighting and smoke were fantastic anyway!  The next big band
was MONSTER MAGNET who were fantastic and we could see HAWKWIND watching in the wings -
perhaps Dave was going to guest with them?  But no - it was not to be alas! They made up for it however
by playing a sh*t hot version of BRAINSTORM - fantastic! DAVE WYNDORF shouting out after it,
"MOTHERF***ING HAWKWIND MAN - F***ING EXCELLENT BAND" (or words to that effect!). As I
mentioned earlier THE SCORPIONS were not brilliant and nothing in our eyes could surpass or equal
HAWKWIND'S performance and so we set off back to the hotel very happy bunnies at the day's events.

Saturday 12th June
We were wrong!  HEART equalled HAWKWIND'S performance - they were a great surprise and totally
f***ing awesome too!! Most enjoyable! The crowd were now getting excited at the prospect of the home
band taking to the stage - EUROPE didn't dissappoint! They were awesome too!! An excellent performance
and a great end to the festival. The weather was excellent apart from two showers and the festival was
extremely well organised. We cannot think of anything to gripe about! Apart from Julian moaning about my
snoring! We wished that there were festivals like it in Britain - can you imagine a sell-out ROCK festival in
Britain with four major stages and one smaller one? - Dream on! SWEDEN ROCKS MAN! And so does the
rest of Europe! Thanks to Sweden for having HAWKWIND there - please have them back but headlining
this time!

Sunday 13th June
Woke up 9.30am, had breakfast, showered and with smiles all around checked out of the hotel and hit the
road. Our flight home was not until 10pm and so we decided to take the scenic route back to the airport
around the coastline. Sweden is exceptionally beautiful, twice as big as Britain with only 8 million population
(same as London) with large open expanses, large pine and decideous forests, large and small lakes, and
huge glacial erratic boulders dotted everywhere! - very nice! A few farms and villages along the way but
not much else! But something weird happened to us which I reckon was fate conspiring to make the end of
our trip an even more memorable one! On a lonely stretch of road we came to a sign announcing 'CAFÉ'
and so we decided to pull in for refreshments. We couldn't understand how this café made any money as
it was only in a small village called KASEBERGA with only a few houses, a shop and two cafes! In talking
to the owner he informed us that thousands of visitors pass through his establishment each year on their
way to visit Sweden's STONEHENGE!  We looked bemused and so he showed us a postcard of this
'Stonehenge'. It is called ALES STENAR and is a boat shaped Barrow with 39 standing stones, the largest
in Sweden apparently! We had never heard of it but something wanted us to see it - weird or what? It was
about half a mile along a footpath atop a hill overlooking the sea and was well worth the walk! An
appropriate end to a wonderful weekend, which will be remembered the rest of our lives! Thank you
HAWKWIND for giving us a reason to do these wonderful things! We arrived at the airport at 6.30pm and
met everyone we had seen on the way out - everyone was well pleased with the festival and had really
enjoyed themselves and agreed with us that HAWKWIND were one of the exceptional performances.

Conclusion

Three bands stood out above the rest HAWKWIND, HEART and EUROPE, but well done to all the others
for making the weekend such a fantastic experience!! Again sorry for the vagueness of the song list but we
will endeavour to remember more and will send you some photos ASAP.

Best wishes everyone,

NEIL. (JOLLYHAWKER)

P.S..
Memories are flooding back and I have just remembered that HAWKWIND also played SWORD OF THE
EAST and they rounded off THE RIGHT STUFF with PARANOIA!! They also played a new instrumental
which perhaps was OUT HERE WE ARE? - I'm not sure!! Also there are 58 stones at ALES STENAR not
39!!  I must have been thinking of the 39 steps!

Neil
The author at Sweden Rock 2002!
Sweden's Stonehenge
Check out Photo Gallery 121 - Sweden Rock 2004 for some pics taken by Neil and his mate Julian