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9.6.2017 – Day 1 – RockFest @ Vehkala, Vantaa.

In the city of Vantaa, citizens experience excessive noise of planes passing by every 5 minutes on a daily basis. And if they would think that nothing would shake up the ground more in the city than departing airplanes, then they couldn’t have possibly more wrong.

For the first time ever organized in Vehkala in Vantaa, RockFest presented us a lineup one could only dream of. International big bands like Pain, Rammstein and Evanescence but also talent from around like Santa Cruz, Brother Firetribe, Stam1na, Turmion Kätilöt, Michael Monroe, Viikate and many more were set to play on the second weekend of June. It all sounded very promising. The location, quite conveniently next to the railway station, provided us a very interesting setting, as every minute some planes disturbed the view. Reason the more to discover the first edition of this festival as a magazine.

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Photo by Tero Vihavainen

The lineup was most definitely a reason to visit the festival. And even though it being a first edition, they managed to get some really appealing names, which is why it also attracted a lot of people. The first day there were about 30,000 visitors and in total for the two days all-in-all about 50,000. Now that’s some awesome statistics.

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Photo by Henri Juvonen

The festival was divided in several sections, you had a priority zone, a fan zone, the VIP zone and then of course the section for drinking. And there were two stages: Main stage and Perkele stage. The idea of having different sections and different perks could work, although it still needs some polishing, eg. the priority zone didn’t get priority to get on the festival, they had to wait in the same queue as people with a normal ticket and they were sitting rather far away.

Our journey was a bit of a complicated one. We got media passes, but due to some mistake at the accreditation point we only got wristbands and we had no information concerning where to go. We somehow thus ended up in the VIP queue and area. And spent the first time wondering about where to go. Anyhow, we decided not to let the confusion get to us and enjoyed the bands set to play that day.

The first band ever to perform on RockFest was Royal Republic, a rock band from Mälmö, Sweden. They released their fourth studio album “Weekend Man” last year. The day started off with a good turnout for these guys. And even though there was some confusion about where the hell Vantaa now is, the crowd made it pretty clear to them. No, Vantaa is not a part of Helsinki, it’s different. Royal Republic played an energetic set that was very appealing and warmed up the crowd pretty nicely, however as the stage was so massive, they looked kind of small and innocent on it. They told everyone not to headbang, but apparently headbanging is not a choice, it just happens, it’s part of the lifestyle. And yet again, the Swedes prove us that they are not afraid to make fun, even of themselves.

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Photo by Tero Vihavainen.

The way to the Perkele stage was a bit disastrous, as it was raining the day before, the festival grounds were not that blessed with the usual dry and steady ground. And even inside of the tent it was not the best ground to stand on. The tent could have somehow benefited from a plastic floor, as it was a bit inconvenient and because of the puddles of mud, a lot of space got lost because obviously no one wants to stand in mud while watching a show. The tent itself could have been a bit higher, or differently structured. It was quite difficult getting into as one side was covered with fences to separate the tent from the drinking zone. This is not a problem really until it becomes one. In case of disaster, it would be quite difficult to get out of the tent.

The first band opening up the Perkele stage was Brother Firetribe, who are celebrating their 15th anniversary. The show was kind of like how they usually describe themselves: “Infectious, contagious and feel good”.  The audience seemed to have a great time and even though it was quite early for a festival starting on a working day, the tent was pretty packed already.

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Photo by Henri Juvonen

Viikate, who don’t need any introduction around here, were scheduled next for main stage. By now more and more people had joined in on the festival area and the field was pretty much packed. The crowd got really excited by Viikate, they are after all quite legendary here. A lot of people were singing a long, having fun and they played on point.

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Photo by Niki Soukkio

We tried checking out Kotiteollisuus, however the tent was so packed that we didn’t have the energy to push through. And after that it was time for Pain on mainstage. For what originally just started out as a hobby, Pain definitely grew out to be one of the best industrial metal acts of our time, with of course front man Peter Tägtgren. The show was undeniably one of the best acts of the festival. Tägtgren has one of the most versatile voices in the world that I know of. The set list was a mix between old and new songs, with of course the icing of the cake “Shut your Mouth”.

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Photo by Niki Soukkio

Because of the misinformation we had had earlier that day and still were in the believe that media people didn’t have any kind of perks, we decided we would try and get closer to the stage and wait there until Rammstein started playing. One hour and half went by pretty fast and it was time for the most anticipated show of the year – so far.

Rammstein, you either like the band or you don’t, but there’s no denying in there that the band is probably one of the best live bands worldwide. Even if you don’t like them, you can’t possibly not like the amount of show attached to their performance every time they perform somewhere. Fireworks, pyro effects etc. They don’t have to say much in between songs, but the crowd is nevertheless captivated from the first until the last second. And even though there was a warning to enjoy the show instead of filming the event, there were so many phones up filming the whole show, that it almost had a dystopian effect. The setlist consisted out of 17 hits, such as “Keine Lust”, “Feuer Frei”, “Mein Herz Brennt”, “Du Hast” etc. Word by word the audience chanted along as if German was their mother tongue, from the first second of “Ramm4′ until the last of “Engel”.

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Photo by Skyjphoto

But alas all good stories end and it was time to go home for most of those 30,000 people. VR was kind enough to arrange extra trains from Vehkala to Helsinki city centre. But somehow things went wrong there. A huge queue forming in front of the train station, made it take almost as long as the Rammstein song to be able to go on the train. Nevertheless we had some time to process and reflect over the whole day and we deemed it to be a success.

Continue to reading more about the second day of the festival, click here!

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