Sonisphere, the huge heavy metal fest swings through Europe this summer with acts like Slayer, Anthrax, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. I caught the headbang-athon here in Stockholm this rainy Saturday.
My friend Lyssa B who is crew on Leonard Cohen–he’s playing Sunday–staggered through the mud and crowds with wristbands and badges which were supposed to be for artist area. security–mostly volunteer kids– sent us to different gates where each time we were told to either go back where we’d been or given odd directions. We took a breather to watch a great set by Iggy Pop and that’s when I got to talk to Kevin from Southern California who was there for show. He had the same wristbands we did. So of course I asked him about Prop 19.
That’ll be my first election, I’ll be turning 18 in time to vote and I’m for legalization. My dad is a lawyer and I think the prisons are overcrowded and that someone getting strikes under three strikes for possession of pot is wrong. Their whole life could be ruined just for pot? That’s wrong. And so I’m really excited I get to vote!
After a great set by Iggy (with Mike Watt on bass!) and with Kevin in tow–he was quite a gentleman holding our umbrella above our heads like we were Puff Diddy– we once again tried to access the artist area since I’d wanted to ask the bands about Prop 19, but my plans were foiled by zealous though polite volunteers who weren’t sure what our credentials meant, so saying “no” just seemed safer for them. But at a certain point we went fuck it, stopped asking and somehow by strolling firmly, blithely in the rain with sunglasses on, heads down and ignoring security we ended up backstage. Literally.
Suddenly were behind the main stage in a no-man’s land with two clean portapotties (seriously awesome!) and a tiny pop up tent where several cool chick production assistants beckoned us over as the skies opened up. Ah, shelter! We fashioned ponchos from trash bags and tried to text and call our friend who was head of production to no avail since between the storm and tens of thousands people on their cell phones the circuits were jammed. I begged the clouds for a golf cart. Or a coffee machine. Alas there.
Despair as the rain increased. We were resigned to sitting there until..something. But ask and ye shall receive– a golf cart whizzed by and I ran out into the pelting rain.
Are you going to the production office?! Please can you take us?!
Tom the very cute golf cart dude took one look at we three drowning rats who obviously were someplace we weren’t supposed to be and said sure. Our drenched trio squeezed in, me on dashboard, and Lyssa B on Kevin’s lap as we zipped up some side road past crew catering and the rear of stalls selling food and tee shirts. Saint Tom dropped us at production where we were given rain ponchos to replace our trash bags couture, plus candy bars and coffee before being escorted to the fenced off grassy area close to the stage to watch Alice Cooper–a section we’d been sent away from at one point because–who knows why. But now we were there.
Alice so rocked. “Billion Dollar Babies” was awesome. And with real ponchos replacing our rubbish sack wear, we didn’t mind the damp. Until it started to hail, at which point we hightailed it back to production and were ferried in van by a charming tour vet named Duke. He dropped the three of us at the train station which had we hiked to would have be a 30 minute walk. In the rain.
As he drove us through the vast park Duke showed us the community gardens which have a several year waiting list for plots– and he told us the royal residence, which is also on the grounds, has 300 rooms but the newly married princess wants a bigger one. At least it will provide construction jobs.
It wasn’t the day we had envisioned but it was pretty darn fun, despite being soaked to the skin and not getting to exactly where I was trying to be. Met some nice people, managed one discussion about Prop 19 and saw parts of the festival most attendees don’t. It was a pretty rad adventure.
Tonight, Sunday, it’s Leonard Cohen followed by a few days here then on to Gothenburg for Way Out West, a citywide music fest.