Day 5: Way out West


In Sweden, Göteborg is infamous for its tendency to enjoy puns. Many famous people from here sit in national TV and play with words in a way that nobody really appreciates outside Göteborg. Naturally then, Way Out West is an orgy in bad puns: Stay Out West (that’s what you do after the last band exits the stage and you go on clubbing), Way Out Fest (that’s what you do before the first band, when you’re in a park or a beer tent) No Way Out West (that’s what you do if you don’t go at all). At one point, a guy even made an attempt at a limerick about Mae West.

To the average Swede, Göteborg is known for puns and for one more thing. That thing took the stage at eight tonight, after the crowd had been building up in front of the stage for a full hour before Håkan Hellström made his comeback. And then nobody was disappointed. This was a very special gig, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Håkan’s legendary debut album Känn Ingen Sorg För Mig Göteborg by playing the record in its entirety. Many of the songs had rarely been played live and, given the album’s huge impact on Swedish music, almost every song was known by heart by almost everyone listening. More than once, the crowd took over the song and made Håkan stunned and flattered because he didn’t have to sing himsfelf. In the last song’s crescendo, the place exploded in confetti, making a proper finale for this year’s biggest music happening in northern Europe.

Continue reading…

Way out West: Day 4 (FOOD)

food way out west
Today was a hot and humid day and your correspondents tried to get something chilly to drink. There was wine and there was beer. So we changed our minds and went food-hunting, perfectly contempt with our plastic bottles of water. The snack selection did however get us dizzy. We ran into a blonde Swedish girl named Ingrid (such a cliché!) who was trying to talk us into eating wild boar kebab but the act felt a bit too much of a viking feast and we settled for the Hungarian delicacy langos, which essentially is fried bread with sour cream and different salty/fat toppings. Yummy! In the process we turned down everything from Swedish meatballs to Fish and Chips.
During the day, there was one thing besides the omnipresent discussions about weather that occupied the minds of Way Out West-crowd: Håkan Hellström. At eight, he will enter the stage. We can’t wait for the local poet’s return!

Way out West: Day 3

way out west

Peaking with tomorrow’s highly anticipated performance by local hero Håkan Hellström, there are a lot of Swedish, and especially “Göteborgska”, artists at this year’s Way Out West. Friday night in Slottsskogen was however an international experience. After the amazing Soundtrack of Our Lives, accompanied by Göteborgs Symfoniker (LINK (but not with the Gallagher brothers, as the rumour had it), delivered a sparkling cross-over between pop tunes and classical music, there was not a Swede on the scene for the rest of the night.

But who has time for pseudo-nationalistic ideas when the line-up includes some of the world’s best musicians? Iggy Pop, for instance, showed that he is one of the world’s greatest entertainers still alive – even if the latter is against all odds. The Stooges were as tight as they were in 1970 and in a very non-Swedish act, Iggy at one point brought up a huge group of fans from the crowd, fighting resistance from the guards. They danced and co-sang with him during “Shake Appeal”. The act made the rest of the crowd, the ones still off-stage, go even wilder and the singer himself seemed to enjoy the power and didn’t exactly slow down after that.

Among the many other super acts to compete for our attention this evening, LCD Soundsystem made a lasting impression. The club/pop/electronic constellation from New York has been extremely influential during the last five years or so. Tonight’s show was a manifestation of why and the giant chandelier hanging from the scene roof made the listening experience interesting (Will it fall? Who will be killed?). Continue reading…

Way out West: Spotted Kirstin Dunst

way out west

Yesterday’s euphoria and massive downpour are gone but not forgotten. The weather is clearing up just as the festival area opens its gates. Discussions about yesterday’s pregame night
are ubiquitous (”After we saw Harlem, we tried to go Port du Soleil but couldn’t get a cab in the rain so we just dropped in at some jazz bar where the owner allowed smoking indoors”) but the focus quickly shifts to the real deal: Way Out West – the proper, daylight version.

After the legendary hip hop-act Wu Tang Clan made 10,000 people wave their hands in one synchronized motion, the festival really felt officially alive and the lines to the beer tents exceeded 5 kilometers.

The general impression is that the visitors mainly come from all over Sweden. The downtown central station has been flooded with travelers on their way towards the festivities and now there are enough people at the area to make you think you’re in Tokyo. A lot of foreign visitors mixed with the native crowd; including them Hollywood stars such as Kirsten Dunst. Your correspondents took a stroll around the area, got our feet muddy and spoke to some people.

way out west

Erik, Manager/Hustler

What’s the single best part of Way Out West, in your mind?

The concerts, hopefully. There are a lot of different stuff going on, but I feel the clubs and parties have to be secondary.

Were you bothered by the rain?

What rain?

Way Out West Live Blogging: Världskulturmuséet

WAy out West 2010Famous even before its opening, Världskulturmuséet is a very special building. It was designed by world renowned architect Gert Wingård and opened officially in 2004. This year it has once again been included as one of Way Out West’s “club scenes”, meaning that after the last concert at the Slottsskogen area, we will all fight for entrance to the museum in order to stay awake all night and enjoy live acts and DJs. Before that, though, we had to try out the place on Thursday night’s “sneak preview” – one day before the actual festival started.

The night included three live acts, in addition to the resident DJ, and after running around six different bars we arrived at Världskulturmuséet just in time to see jj enter the stage. The crowd waiting for hours in line had to discover the hard way a bitter fact about Göteborg – once it starts raining, it never really stops…

Inside, it was hot, humid and crowded. Once JJ got on stage, the place went bananas and never came back. On big screens, everything from vacation pictures to Youtube clips of Zlatan was streamed and the crowd went nuts. Jj, being a local act, did all they were supposed to and delivered a dancy yet subtle performance. When they finished, the place was quickly emptied and the crowd shattered. Your correspondents left for Park Lane, one of the other club venues, and the night went on for a long, long time. And so did the epic rainfall, symbolizing Gothenburg. There’s not a dry pop soul in the city tonight. Some cried from jj, some couldn’t afford the tax ride home and had to walk.

Live Blogging Way Out West: DAY 1

There’s no big ceremony with balloons and fireworks, but the 2010 edition of Way Out West is now officially alive and kicking. The three day festival in Göteborg starts off with a club night that brings together all of the city’s bigger clubs as well as 25 different live acts, but the actual festival area does not open until tomorrow. Friday and Saturday are the major dates, when the city’s biggest park Slottsskogen will teem with hipsters, teens and tourists looking for a world class music event but of course also for a true west coast experience.

This long weekend in August is when Sweden’s second city shows itself from its best side, especially since its synchronization with Kulturkalaset , a citywide fiesta aimed at the crowd not so very interested in beer, loud music and muddy sneakers. The two events combined mean that Göteborg is turned into something very different for a while. The clubs and cafés stay open longer, the city squares are filled with improvising musicians and behind every apartment door there’s a party going on. Many hours before the festival schedule officially starts, the city is literally filled with music, as shown by this clip we just shot from Kungsgatan, one of the shopping streets normally not occupied by pop musicians:

Untitled from explore westsweden on Vimeo.

The Explore West Sweden blog will be your confident guide during the next couple of days, providing concert reviews as well as interviews and vivid accounts of Way Out West’s beer and shellfish selections. Tonight we will sample the club night, taking place at 10 different venues around the city. Stay tuned!

Car Plus Vacation, Last Year’s Winner.

Gothenburg! We wanted to find out just how amazing her trip was so we asked her a few questions. Enjoy!

Mary-Jordon in Gothenburg! We wanted to find out just how amazing her trip was so we asked her a few questions. Enjoy!

1) What was your first impression of Sweden?
I was taken by how well kept everything was there. Anywhere you looked it could have been a view from a postcard.

2) What was on your itinerary?
We began our tour in Gothenberg, then headed north along the coast. After we got our Volvo loaner, we visited Klädesholmen, the Nordic Watercolor Museum (and saw an Andrew Wyeth exhibit, funnily enough), Handelsman Flink on the Flatön island, and the Vitlycke Museum in Tanumshede. Later we traveled to Fjällbacka and tooled around the village while waiting for our ride out to Väderöarnas Guest house. On our way back for one last night in Gothenberg, we stopped for lunch at Villa Sjötorp.

3) What was the greatest culture shock that you saw/experienced while in Sweden?
Coming from the sometimes chaotic New York City, I was surprised to see such order in Gothenburg. It was evident that the Swedish Government devotes a great deal of resources to making the country a pleasant place to live.

4) The beauty in making your own travel itinerary is that you could tailor your trip to your liking – What was your favorite part?
I appreciated getting off what I would consider the beaten path and seeing the Swedish countryside and the more remote sights. We traveled the backroads instead of the E6 whenever possible and enjoyed the farmlands.

5) Is there anything that you left off of your itinerary that you wished you were able to do or see?
Too many to list. I will have to go back one day and see so much more!

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Way Out West Countdown!

And the countdown begins for the Way Out West music festival! We are about a month away from the epic show set to kick off in Slottsskogen city park in central Gothenburg. For three days, the city becomes a centralized home for top national and international artists. With performances by M.I.A., Iggy & The Stooges, The Chemical Brothers, Lykke Li, LCD Soundsystem, Paul Weller, Pavement, La Roux, Girls, The xx, The National, Jens Lekman, Miike Snow, Imperial State Electric, Jónsi, The Drums, Mumford & Sons, Real Estate, Surfer Blood, The Radio Dept., Konono No1, Rango and Cymbals Eat Guitars, its no wonder that this is one of the best urban music festivals in Europe, now in it’s fourth year! Tickets for the event are on sale now.
See you there!

The Details

When: Friday 13th and Saturday 14th August, with club performances from the evening of Thursday 12th until Saturday 14th
Where: Slottsskogen city park in central Gothenburg.

Tickets: 1,390 Swedish crowns (£115) for a full two day festival pass including club performances. Ticket sales at Eventim: Telephone +46 771651000.