South Park Festival, Tampere (Finland)
Text: Margarita Khartanovich
Photos: Boris Kashentsev
When South Park Festival takes place, the toffs of the metal and hard rock scenes go north – to Finland. This year Tampere rock Sabbath gathered such music dinosaurs as Def Leppard (UK), Extreme (USA), Helloween (DE) and Accept (DE) and rained quite a few Scandinavian cats and dogs on them. Even though the weather was not exactly perfect, it didn’t affect the mood of the festivalgoers. Pouring rain and cold felt like an entertaining adventure that just added to the overall fun. The Finnish branch of “metalhood” vindicated that it was tough, dedicated, faithful and waterproof.
Festival Day 1: Extreme (USA), Accept (DE), Masterplan (DE), Stratovarius, Teräsbetoni, Stargazery, All Rise, Kodittomat, Speedy ja Saku
Festival Day 2: Def Leppard (UK), Helloween (DE), Eclipse (SWE), Amorphis, Viikate plays some Motörhead, Santa Cruz, Reckless Love, Free Spirit, Ranger, Loudguns, Speedy ja Saku
The first thing you notice when you enter South Park Festival area is the amount of people wearing black, having T-shirts, hoodies or leather jackets with the names of the metal bands on and looking all excited but still reserved and confident. As soon as the bands start playing, these people turn into their members of the family – they show their support to the musicians sharing total understanding of their music. As a sign of approval they wag their heads and tap their feet in time with the songs. After a few plastic cups of beer, they are becoming bolder and are already beginning to jump to the beat of the music and sing along with the musicians.
The festival organizers made a very interesting program: in one place they gathered the bands from different decades of music and varieties of scales. You could basically track back the history of metal and hard rock as there were “original” bands who were at the origins of these genres (Def Leppard, Extreme, Helloween, Accept, Masterplan, Stratovarius) and also local bands who had their influence (Teräsbetoni, Stargazery, All Rise, Kodittomat, Santa Cruz, Reckless Love, Free Spirit, Ranger, Loudguns). Speedy ja Saku is a Finnish comic project with famous Finnish actors dressed like metal fans and wearing long hair wigs. It was much fun having this piece of comedy at the festival, it served as a nice icebreaker for usually shy and quiet Finns. It is a very valuable experience to have such a retrospective view on the music. You get seriously amazed at how it is possible to create a whole new genre and then inspire whole generations of musicians to follow in your footsteps and develop it further.
Metal heads might look and sound a bit snobbish sometimes when talking about music but they are definitely much deeper in their dedication than any indie music or hip-hop fans. And they are more willing to accept you in their brotherhood too, if you just share the same passion for music. You can definitely feel it when you come to the festivals like South Park.