For the second time the organization behind Rockfest managed to get an interesting lineup. The festival that started out last year, now even expended to four days instead of two. They presented us a lineup with classics such as Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Amorphis and many many more. As there were no reasons to not attend this festival, we decided to check out how Rockfest shook the ground in Hyvinkää.
The festival started quite late in the afternoon on Wednesday. As I live in Helsinki and don’t own a car, I decided to go by public transportation. There was an opportunity to camp at the festival side, but I decided not to. The trip however, went quite smoothly. While last year, it was a bit of a struggle to reach, the organizers clearly learnt their lesson. The walk from the station to the festival was about 3 kilometers, or a 40 minute walk. Every 500 meters, there was a resting point for those brave enough to endure the long walk. The others, could be satisfied with a shuttle bus. The shuttle bus however, was quite expensive in my opinion, €5 per ride, €10 per day. In other countries at least, usually these shuttle busses are included in the ticket and it given the price of the ticket, it would have been a nice given.
Doors opened later as expected and as a media representative, there were some issues with my wristband. It wasn’t activated for some weird reason, which meant that during the first day, I wasn’t able to buy drinks or food. Luckily I came prepared. That being said, the cashless system seemed to cause a lot of issues during especially the first day. Personally I think it’s a nice idea to have less cash, but I feel like there should have at least been possibilities to pay by card or MobilePay.
That being said, let’s continue to the things you actually came to read. The bands! Rockfest kicked off with Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus at the Radio Rock stage. As a first band to perform, the massive crowd stayed behind, most likely solving their wristband problems. Nevertheless, more and more people joined in after a couple of songs. The band managed to deliver a powerful and straight-to-the-point set. The band seemed to have a lot of fun on stage, so did the audience. With a setlist of 12 songs, the band actually played quite a lot of songs, couple of ones that stuck to my head being the strong opener “Toisen luokan kansalainen”, “Suomi sata vuotta” and of course the last song of the set “Viimeinen päivä taivaan?”
A little while later Kilpi opened up the Perkele stage. Unfortunately, because of the issues with my wristband I took the time to try and fix all of my problems. This didn’t go as planned. Accompanying me on my journey was the weather. It started to rain quite a lot. People who were inside enjoying Kilpi, praise your souls, as you missed out on the first and only rain of the festival. The rain stopped right in time for Stone Sour to finally arrive to Finland again. Their stop at Rockfest, managed to get a lot of attention and a lot of people came out to say hi to the band! Personally, I don’t know Stone Sour enough to actually call myself a fan, nor do I listen to this kind of sub genre. But needless to say there is not much I can remark on their performance. Corey Taylor sure knows how to lead a band. A song that immediately convinced me of the band’s capabilities and professionalism and made me convince that this was a great performance actually came quite early on “Absolute Zero”, where the crowd was engaging a lot with the band and shouting along loudly. In total the band played 11 songs and the massive crowd, seemed really excited afterwards, ready for the rest of the evening.
Next up were Bullet For My Valentine, who I actually listened to a lot in the beginning of their career. I’m nowadays not so familiar with their newer work, but whenever I see them play, feel really nostalgic. Bullet For My Valentine, played at the Perkele Stage, which made it a bit more intimate, for such a big band. Among the highlights were renditions of “Your Betrayal”, “Scream Aim Fire” and the classic “Tears Don’t Fall”. The band managed to get the venue full and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun during the performance. The setlist contained many different songs from around their career.
After Bullet For My Valentine it was time for the main act of the day. Ozzy Osbourne is taking his band for a last stroll around the world. With his goodbye tour, Ozzy luckily didn’t skip Finland and managed to take a halt at Hyvinkää out of all places. Being raised as a Black Sabbath fan, I couldn’t personally be more delighted to be part of it. Unfortunately the photo pit was closed and it was prohibited to take any high quality photographs, however a silver lining was that because of that I managed to get to the second row and enjoy the show to full extent, something I had been looking out for for a couple of months now. Ozzy kicked the show off with “Bark At The Moon”, from the first moment it’s clear Ozzy has been looking forward to this. His voice, outstanding, smiling, having fun. I have seen Ozzy quite some times during the last ten years, but out of all shows this definitely was the best one out of all (excluding his performances with Black Sabbath). While we got treated with a lot of classics, these were my personal highlights “Mr. Crowley”, “War Pigs” and “Crazy Train”. Ozzy is accompanied by such great musicians that the gig was blessed to be outstanding right from the start. Zakk Wylde, delivering high class and kick ass guitar solos, added that little extra punch to the songs. Ozzy Osbourne treated us with two more songs “Mama, I’m coming home” and of course the always welcome “Paranoid”. A great show, meant a great start to the festival!
After Ozzy Osbourne the trip home followed and surprisingly everything went pretty smoothly. VR arranged more trains between Hyvinkää and Helsinki and there were plenty of shuttle buses going between the station. This definitely is something that the festival has improved on!