Hultsfred Festival '99, Sweden - June 17-19
The Hultsfred Festival is the biggest rock festival in Sweden. Since the start 1986 it has taken place each year just outside the small town of Hultsfred. This year the festival was sold out, which means that there were around 26 000 people there. This was probably due to the fact that this year's line up was far superior to the fairly weak one of last year.
This had its price for the audience. Those who arrived the day before the festival started had to wait in line for up to three hours in the extremely hot sunshine, or if having arrived later, in the brutal cold of the Hultsfred night. And far worse, there was the terrible and very debated death of a 19-year-old girl during the Hole concert. Who should be held responsible for this is not certain, but the fact that singer Courtney Love encouraged the audience to storm the stage, didn't make the pressure in the crowd any lighter.
Besides this tragic event, the festival was fabulous. The weather was amazing, although the gazing sun almost made one long for a quick rainfall at times. And as always people seemed to enjoy themselves, partying hard with old friends and new aquaintances.
And then there were the bands. On six different stages, around 150 bands performed. Among them were Swedish and international celebrities like Suede, bob hund, The Chemical Brothers, ex-The Clash singer Joe Strummer, Marilyn Manson, and The Cardigans, along with smaller names like Statemachine, The Aphex Twin, Yvonne, Barusta, S.P.O.C.K, DJ Vadim, and Shy FX.
Marilyn Manson did a fairly poor show, with none of the spectacular live attributes they've gained fame for. Marilyn Manson himself tried to start a fight with a member of the audience, encouraged his fans to spit on the photographers and was generally grumpy. Not very impressive.

But there were other highlights. Scottish band Mogwai was absolutely amazing, with their wild swings between beautiful, calm moods and sheering guitar noise. Perverted blues man Andre Williams once again proved what a great showman he is when performing with the band The Sadiers. Atari Teenage Riot was as pissed and great as always. The mostly instrumental sci fi surf punk of Man or Astroman? was a knock out live experience. And this is to name but a few.
To make it short: A great event. /Kristoffer Noheden