The festival has been going since 2014, and I have been lucky enough to attend as a photographer for the past two years [see a gallery from Katie below – Mosh]. This year there were three stages; Fort West (the main stage), Tent Stage, and the tiny Huth Stage perched upon the top of the fortress with stunning views down to the town of Halden below.
Whilst the line-up largely consisted of Scandinavian rock and metal, there were also some big-name bands from around the globe; including Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Europe, Sixx:Am and Megadeth.
For me personally Amon Amarth were the highlight, but Ghost, Sixx:Am, Behemoth, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath all put on brilliant performances, as you might expect. Some of the bands playing the smallest stage were also fantastic, including Pil & Bue and Self-Entitled – a local band who won a competition to play at the festival. Black Debbath are always a treat as well; the nuances of their “Heavy Politically Incorrect Humor Rock” are largely lost on me (as they sing in Norwegian) but their stage presence and costumes can be enjoyed regardless of whether or not you understand what they are singing about. Last year they wore silver boiler-suits, and this year it was cowboy boots and some incredibly short denim shorts…quite an eye-full for those in the photopit and front row!
Festival line-ups can often be a bit of a ‘sausage-fest’, but Tons Of Rock had at least three bands that were either fronted or made up entirely of women, which is always great to see. Female-fronted Blues Pills played the main stage on Thursday, all-girl punk/rock band Lucky Malice played the tiny Huth Stage on Friday, and jazz/rock band Hedvig Mollestad Trio (two girls and a guy) played on Saturday. We also, of course, had the wonderful Nita Strauss in Alice Cooper’s band.
The festival has a great atmosphere and is family friendly – I saw a few toddlers rocking out to Amon Amarth and Black Sabbath on their parents’ shoulders. Both this year and last I found the staff and festival-goers incredibly welcoming, which makes the whole experience even better, in my opinion.
If you are a fan of Scandinavian metal in a scenic and easy-going environment then Tons Of Rock could be the festival for you. A three-day ‘Festival Pass’ will set you back around £200. There are camping facilities on the site itself, plus a selection of hotels in Halden if (like me) you prefer your festival experience to come with a proper bed and a shower.
All photos by Katie Frost Photography