12th August 2016. Canis Folkpark, Lysvik, Sweden.

We left the golf club quite late after I’d washed my hair (that is rather a convoluted affair, it involves doing it the old fashioned way with a bucket of water and a jug then rinsing the rest of the shampoo out under the shower and hoping the hot water doesn’t run cold before I’ve finished) then I attempted to make some macaroons, it turns out you really do need rice paper or greaseproof paper otherwise they stick like superglue to the surface they’re baked on!  I’ll have to have another go at those when I’m better prepared but at least we’ve got something tasty to sprinkle on our Greek yoghurt.

We drove into Sunne in search of a supermarket for supplies for the festival and the ice cream shop that I’d seen advertised in the Sunne booklet.  Sunne has some pretty buildings although we didn’t linger as we were searching for the ice cream shop because it had started to rain, well that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it.

Darren enjoyed his ice cream and I had a waffle with cream and strawberry jam, the waffle was very nice but I’d forgotten that the Swedes only seem to use fluffy cream which didn’t compare to the thick sour cream I had in Norway which was lovely.

On the way back to the van we went into I.C.A food shopping then left Sunne to try to find the venue in Lysvik.  We found the field, it was down the one road we hadn’t tried before, I’ve no idea what a folkpark is but I had assumed it was like a visitors centre, so far it just seems to be a field accompanied by a couple of huts in the field next door and a marquee.

There were already some very big American cars in the field which we were delighted to see.  We figured that if they could get out after the festival then so could we, if not we had our fingers crossed that the farmer had got his tractor ready to tow us all out!

I was glad that I’d got my big waterproof doggy walking coat because it looked like I was going to be needing it over the next couple of days.

Something very strange happened after dinner.  I was just doing the washing up when we saw a very wet man standing looking in the driver’s window.  Darren called him round to the door and invited him in.  He had a very surprised look on his face and told us in broken English that he hadn’t looked at our registration plate so he had assumed we were Swedish like everyone else there.  He was surprised we had let him in as he was a stranger (and quite ‘merry’) he asked us all sorts of questions, one of them was which bands did we like, we mentioned Imelda May.  He hadn’t heard her music so Darren put a song on which apparently wasn’t to his liking, he said could we turn it off because he didn’t like it he then informed us he only likes 1950’s rockabilly and he hates anything with a double bass in it!  I was under the impression 1950’s rockabilly music often had a double bass in it but that certainly told us!  With that he said goodbye and went off visiting other people on the site.

After he’d gone I started to get dressed and made up ready for the gig to start.  We were looking forward to the evening ahead particularly as, with only an hour and a half to go before kick off we could hear a couple of the bands rehearsing and they sounded really good.  Looking at the other vehicles on the site we noticed that all the other vehicles there had Swedish registration plates, we were surprised because we knew there was a German band performing and there was also a band from the UK.  We wondered whether we would actually hear some British accents over the next couple of days

We’d been having a discussion about whether to go over at 9 p.m. or whether we should wait until we saw some of the other campers walking over as we had no idea where we should be going.  We waited until 9.30 p.m. but there was no sign of anyone else so we ambled across the field wearing warm clothes and a waterproof coat in case it poured down later, I was a sight to behold!

Unfortunately we were a bit premature!  It seems we should have waited until some of the others went over after all because although Darren had emailed the organiser and been told the bands were playing between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. when we got to the gate it became apparent that we were in fact the first of the festival goers to arrive.  This is ironic considering I’m usually the last person to arrive anywhere!  On one occasion I took part in a cycle event on the Isle of Wight along with Darren and our friends Stu and Andy, it was called The Hills Killer and it involved cycling up and down some very steep hills.  True to form I was rather tardy and somehow had the misfortune of being given a large number ‘1‘ to wear on my shirt.  Needless to say I got a lot of ribbing from complete strangers that day as they all raced past me!

(I hope anyone who knows me is taking note of the fact I arrived somewhere early for once, although there have been two other notable occasions when I was early.  On the first occasion I took our sons Morgan and Austyn to a party and my friend was rather shocked when she opened her front door because we’d arrived a week early.  On the second occasion about six years later I took our son Gethan to a swimming party and I couldn’t find the venue and as usual, in the words of my Mother, we were running a bit late.  Luckily for Gethan it turned out we were in fact early, a day early!)

Anyway back to the present day, we spoke to the three men standing around a table at the entrance, the table was empty except for a closed cash box.  Darren asked what time the first band came on and they told us 10.30 p.m (although in the end the band actually started playing at 10.20 so maybe they felt sorry for us sitting there like ‘Billy Nomates’!)  We wandered over to the first stage which had nothing set up on it and then walked over to the big open barn at the back of the park which had two stages in it.  Only one was set up ready to go!  We were in there ALL on our own, there weren’t even any roadies around, it was very peaceful.

We hung around there for a short while then walked VERY slowly (almost doing pigeon steps) to eke out the time it took us to walk from that barn over to the bar.  We weren’t sure whether the bar was open because there were metal barriers around it but on closer inspection we found there was a gap between them so we went in and bought two cans of beer (10 Kr) and went and sat at a table and waited for the band to start (Hurley and The Blue Dots) they were great, they had the bar stage for the whole of the festival.  When people did eventually appear we noticed that they were rather reticent about sitting at the table next to us so we had a very big table all to ourselves for most of the set.

The next band on were in the barn and I took what was left of my can of beer and started following everyone else outside just in time to see a guard pouring a can of beer onto the ground and throwing the can in the bin (how can anyone afford to waste their beer like that!).  That’s when we realised why the barriers were there, no one is allowed to take beer (which is all they were allowed to sell) out of the building, the Swedes are very hot on that, we’ve been told there are a lot of drink issues so wine and spirits are only sold in Government owned shops.  We went back into the bar and I shared my beer with Darren otherwise we’d have been in there all night then we went over to the barn.  The band playing were a local band called The Otterville Bluegrass Boys, they were real showmen, they were dressed up in bluegrass style clothes and were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

The barn was great it had padded cushions on the benches around the walls of the building so we sat down to listen to the band, unfortunately it was a bit chilly as there were no walls that side so we moved over to the other side of the room and sat looking like ‘Billy Nomates’ once again.  Unfortunately we also discovered that although it looked like there was a wall there in fact they were just slats of wood with large spacing between them letting in the cold outside air AND the rain from earlier so with wet bums from soaking up the water on those benches we moved further into the barn and found a seat in front of the mixing desk beside the second stage where we decided, just like Goldilocks, it was just right!

Halfway through the evening Darren pointed out that all the other people were wearing wrist bands and we hadn’t got one, what a result, I hate those things now I’ll only have to wear one for Saturday evening.

When the band finished we wandered over to the bar to listen to Hurley and The Blue Dots part II.  We were having a lovely time listening to the music and minding our own business but we caught the eye of a VERY drunk and VERY large Swedish man who decided that we needed to join him doing something, whatever he was doing seemed to involve pointing his fingers in various directions and posing for a moment every time he did it.  We kept trying to explain that we had no idea what he was saying but he was persistent, we decided in the end that he might want us to dance so we joined in with the other people who were dancing and he seemed happy then and jigged away making pointy finger moves as he went.

We thought that he’d forgotten about us and were standing watching the band when he reappeared but this time he had a friend with him who was drunk and boss eyed he came up very close and started talking to me in Swedish.  It took him quite a while to figure out I had absolutely no idea what he was asking and then the pair of them boogied off across the crowed dance floor.  Luckily the band finished their set and Darren and I scurried back to the barn knowing we’d be safe there because there was no way our new friends were going too far away from their beer.

The last band was brilliant, they were fantastic to dance to even if we were dancing salsa to rockabilly tunes most of the time.  They were called Maryann and the Tri Tones and they were from Estonia.  We were exhausted by the end of their set which finished far later than 2 a.m. because they had so many calls for an encore, the sound engineer wasn’t a happy bunny I think his bed was calling, mine certainly was.

We made a foolish mistake when we got back to the van, we made ourselves some food and completely forgot the lesson we learned at Sweden Rock, don’t try to sleep, just watch TV, instead we were lulled into a false sense of security from the quietness outside and the minute we put our heads on our pillows all hell broke loose outside when we were thrilled to be treated to music played full volume from two sides of the camp trying to out do each other.  It wouldn’t have been QUITE so bad if music they were playing hadn’t sounded like it had been recorded by a really bad covers band.  Amazingly enough Darren managed to go to sleep and so did I when it stopped around 5 a.m.

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