Metal Festivals in Sweden

How They Have Become Big Business

Sleeping in a tent to get a glimpse of Denmark’s Mercyful Fate, England’s Orange Goblin, and other heavy metal legends making history. Trooping into a park for the surprise performance that turns out to be Metal Church from the United States at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2017. As metal festivals in Sweden become more popular, these are some experiences that have become a major attraction. Thousands of metalheads from all over the world troop into Sweden annually to attend some of the biggest events in the metal circuit.

In the last couple of decades, the metal festivals Sweden scene has grown to become a major moneymaker for the country. The biggest festivals include Sweden Rock Festival and Way Out West Festival, and a few defunct ones such as the Metaltown Festival. All these events offer you multiple stages, an endless list of performers, and many camping options. Look up “metal festivals in Sweden,” and you are likely to find a host of smaller events occurring around the country.

Crowd at a concert

The Origin of Metal Festivals in Sweden

Most concerts and festivals take place in big famous buildings or big open spaces. Bands and their fans do not have preferences on where they perform or meet. Metal festivals or concerts are usually held at locations the directors arrange for and concert halls available. The metal scene, and in extension the festivals, is big in Sweden.

One of the biggest modern festivals was the Sweden Rock Festival that started in 1992. Back then, the event was known as Sommarfestivalen i Olofström (The Summer Festival in Olofström) before changing the name to Karlshamn Rock Festival in 1993. In 1999, the name Sweden Rock Festival was born, and its focus became hard rock.

A Communion of Metal Culture

For decades, metal festivals are a communion of the culture. Groups of individuals who are into metal music come together to explore the depth and creativity in the genre. That was the driving force throughout metal festivals held in other parts of the world through the 1970s and 1980s – before they adopted a profitable format.

Music is changing, making metal festivals in Sweden a bigger attraction for listeners. Streaming today is popular as a method of listening to music, making the purchase of tickets and merchandise the major expenditures in fan budgets. While listening to music is almost free or subscription-based, live metal performances become more special.

Metal band performing for a crowd
Zephyra band

Metal Festivals Help Artists Make Money

For artists in metal, appearing at festivals is an easier way to make some money compared to extensive tours and record sales. The steep decline in record sales during the early and mid-2000s drove many bands to depend on touring to earn money as digital music grew. Festival organisers in Sweden caught on the decline of bands going on roadshows and offered to pay them substantially more for appearing at events.

Today, it is easy for local and international bands to fly to a festival, earn six-figure salaries, and fly back home. No more dealing with grinding tours. This model is super integral, and this explains Swedish metal artists and their agents are more focused on festivals. Further, big music promoters are shaping and streamlining music festivals. Some of the largest metal festivals Sweden sponsors include Volvo, Monitor, and Polaris. These and more brands are an integral component to keeping the metal scene very much alive!