Sweden Rock Festival 2013 was different from the “usual” festivals for me.
Maybe some of you noticed that I haven’t been posting or blogging in a while, except for a few photo-updates just to keep myself occupied. I just didn’t feel like writing or doing anything.
My father left this world on May 31st.
I was originally supposed to go to Croatia and visit him today, because that’s where he was – and as his birthday was on June 8th and mine on June 13th, we were going to celebrate our birthdays together. I was so looking forward to the trip so that I could see him again.
I never got to see him again. The last time I saw him and hugged him goodbye, was at Copenhagen airport when he left in early May. He was smiling, nothing was wrong with his health.
He’s always been a vital, strong man and everyone who knew him remember him as the guy who would take long walks through town every day- I couldn’t even keep up with him most of the time cause he was walking so fast.
He was in a cafe in Split, Croatia, with some friends one evening and in the middle of a sentence he just fell off his chair, and he was gone. Just like that. They say it was his heart and that it was instant. He never felt a thing.
My dad was 75 years old, he never made it to his 76th birthday, which was only three days ago. And I miss him so much that I could break in half. He meant so much to me, I can’t even begin to explain…
I didn’t want to go to the festival at first. But I felt an obligation to go because my friend from Germany was visiting and Sweden Rock was supposed to be her bachelorette party as she’s getting married soon. I couldn’t let her down. And the magazine couldn’t just find another correspondent to review all those bands I said I would review, so I took a deep breath and went.
The first day up there was bad. I couldn’t stand seeing all those happy people. Being there felt so wrong. I felt that my dad would think that I didn’t care about him because I was up there “having fun” (although I really wasn’t) and basically – it wasn’t a good day at all.
The next day was different. Somehow, I felt like my dad was walking beside me at the festival, and I was showing him my world. He never quite understood what my life looked like, he just knew that I loved music.
I would show him whenever something out of the ordinary happened – like my name in the Judas Priest biography “Defenders of the Faith”, or my cover story for Sweden Rock Magazine (also Priest) or going to Thessaloniki, Greece to see a show and then ending up presenting gold plaques to Firewind. I showed him the video on my cellphone and he would smile but of course he had no idea who all those bands were.
The second day of the festival, he was with me. I could almost see him walking there next to me with his hands on his back and a curious smile, just absorbing everything that was happening. His only concern in life was always my happiness. I “talked” to him all day and being at the festival actually felt good. It wasn’t wrong – it was the only right thing to do.
The third day I just lost myself in the music. I felt good, I was singing, smiling, just being far away from the rest of the world, it was the most powerful healing I’ve ever experienced. Forget about pills and shrinks. Music is the strongest and most powerful medicine there is.
The fourth and the last day of the festival, I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to just stay there and be a part of everything that was not everyday life.
When you’re at a concert you don’t think about stuff. You just LIVE it, you feel, you experience, you’re going through emotions, you let the music take you away to wherever it wants to take you, there is no yesterday and no tomorrow. There is only the NOW.
I was so glad to see two bands who I really love, not only because of their music, but also because I like them for the great people that they are.
The Firewind-guys and crew on Friday and the Skid Row guys on Saturday. The Skids have been around for 24 years, I’ll always love those guys for being incredibly sweet.
Scotti was all smiles when he saw me, going: “Heeey! We were wondering if you were gonna show up!” Rachel and Snake were asking if I remember when we last saw eachother… I didn’t, it was way too long ago, seven or eight years ago probably.
And the Firewind guys are cool to be around, Kelly is a funny dude, had us laughing everywhere we went (backstage, VIP area…). Jo is lovely crazy in his own sort of way and Gus is probably the busiest guy I’ve ever met, yet he tries to make time to socialise any way he can. I really appreciate and respect that. A great guy.
Sweden Rock Festival is “home” to me. This was my 19th year there. It’s a place where I feel content and happy – surrounded by my kind of people and my kind of music. Somehow everything happened the way it should…
If Su hadn’t come to visit me I may have missed the festival and also missed the opportunity to feel good for a few moments. It was good to have her visiting, she’s a super nice girl and we get along great, so I was lucky that I didn’t have to be alone after the very difficult time that followed my father’s death.
Now I can’t wait to just lose myself in music and concerts again, the sooner the better. Everyday life is just too hard to handle without it. Especially now.
Music has always helped me through hard times my whole life and it’s no different now. I’m finding comfort and explanations to my questions in songs, things that make me feel better.
Dave Mustaine was right when he said: “Moving on is a simple thing. What you leave behind is hard”. My dad never suffered. For his sake we have to remember that he was spared from pain and illness and find comfort in that.
And I know that my father is with me now, sharing my life in a way that he never could before. I should just be grateful for that…
[My beloved dad, he was so happy when I came back from spending a year in the States 1997. Here he is waiting for me at the airport in Copenhagen… Somehow we will always be together, he’ll be in my heart forever…]
[Dad and I, Christmas a long time ago….]