I spent several weeks in Sweden, and I don’t remember all of it (especially the week at Peace and Love), so this will not be as detailed as previous entries. Overall, it was an excellent time. Out of all the places I’ve seen in the world, Sweden still seems like the best place to live.
Upon arriving at Arlanda airport, I was greeted by Morfar and Lena. I spent a day or two at their house and then went out to Erikslund for Midsommar.
Midsommar was great fun. First, we had lunch, with herring and potatoes among other things. Then we played a game where Lotta would read a few words of a song and the groups would try to complete the line. I literally had never heard a single one of the songs she read out. Then we danced around the Midsommar pole.
Later we had dinner. It was a good time.
The next day I went to Solna. Erik and I went over to one of his friends’ house and we played a few rounds of poker. At one point I met up with a friend from Sigtuna, Emmy, for drinks and conversation. She had a lot of interesting tales from her travels in Southeast Asia.
I took the train out to Rosersberg to meet up with some friends who were driving up to Borlange for the Peace and Love music festival. We made a couple of stops for supplies along the way and arrived in Borlange ready for action.
When we arrived, there were people everywere. Some people were carrying their tents to the campsite, some people were having lunch, some people were just sitting around and drinking. We made our way to the campsite and set up camp.
The people at our campsite were great. Some people came for the music; some came for the party. Others came for both. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out and having an excellent time. After a while, I decided to go and explore some other parts of the camping area. I met many people, all of them in a great mood. At some point, I realized that I was utterly lost. But, it all worked out in the end.
Most nights followed a regular pattern: hang out at the campsite for a while, head out and meet new people, have a wild time, fall asleep somewhere. I won’t go into specifics here.
So, having established that the nights were consistently excellent, I’d like to talk about some of the music. The first band I saw was Jimmy Eat World, a band which I have been listening to for a long time.
I wandered into this nightclub-like area where a band called The Amplifetes were playing.
They have a brilliant electro-rock sound which was incredible to experience live. I’ve since acquired their album, which is very good.
I also saw a band called Those Dancing Days. I had heard of them, but neer actually heard them before. It was such a great performance. Despite the fact that they were playing at the same time as Bob Dylan, the venue was completely packed. I’ve been listening to their first album and it’s quite good.
I saw Deadmau5, along with at least 4,000 other dancing, sweaty Swedes.
The word that comes to mind to describe that performance is ‘hot’. Indeed, it was eventually too much for me and I decided to head back to the camp. On the way I met up with a girl who was camping with us. She had actually maneuvered her way all the way to the front and touched the stage. I thought it was too intense about halfway back…. Can’t imagine what the energy level must have been like at the front.
As I was cruising around from stage to stage, I saw a metal band called Soilwork. At the climax of the concert, the singer called for the “Wall of Death”. The crowd split into two halves and faced each other like warriors on a battlefield. Then, the singer emitted a primal scream which signaled the start of the battle. We rushed toward each other and a mosh pit erupted at the collision point. Everyone was running into each other in a frenzy. I’m not normally a fan of metal, but I have to admit that concert appealed to some ancient part of my brain. I did lose a couple buttons on my favorite shirt in the process, though.
One of the best bands I saw was also the last band I saw: Foreigner.
My dad says they were the greatest rock band of 1978. I can definitely see why. Awesome stage presence, face melting guitar solos, songs that you recognize but don’t know why - to me it was exactly what a true rock n’ roll concert should be like.
A few other things I saw:
- Speech by Jesse Jackson
- Guided meditation session
- Bad Religion
- Social Distortion
- The Strokes
- Bob Dylan
- Many, many other good performances
I went back to the camp and did my usual routine. I remember meeting a girl called Paola Denton whose father is also named Jeff! What are the cances of that? Eventually it was time to head home, so I hopped in a car with some people who were heading back. After a while I appeared in Solna and promptly fell asleep.
I went back to Morfar’s and Anna was there. We visited Gamla Uppsala and the castle, which I hadn’t seen before. We also had dinner with Lollo and her brother at a fantastic Korean restaurant in Stockholm.
I purchased an Interrail pass and a plane ticket back to the US. I’m going to be in Iceland for a week or so before getting back to Maryland. I took the train down to Croatia after bidding everyone farewell.