In its 11th edition Way Out West has thrown its biggest festival so far – bigger size, bigger line-up, bigger production… Total WOW factor everywhere!
Around 34,000 souls stepped into Gothenburg’s Slottskogen fields every day, looking to satisfy their thirst for excitement, music and fun, because this is what Way Out West is all about, as we could discover by talking to the festivalgoers. Just see for yourself in a video we have prepared in case you missed the festival. But also if you were there, you will most likely agree with these other festival-people here in ‘The WOW mood” video:
Among the most outstanding performers were superstar Frank Ocean, who transformed the stage into his own little world. On it, he had an attached platform that came out some meters to the front and among the public. This platform led to a second, smaller stage where he did most of his performance together with his musicians. On this stage there was also a disco ball shedding twinkling lights over the public, it looked like thousands of stars shining in the dark sky. At some point an orchestra came out to this platform and played along to some songs with Frank Ocean. Occasionally he also took a seat to play an old keyboard. Back on the main stage there were three screens. The smaller two screens were showing details from the members of the orchestra and the main big screen showing different angles of Frank in different perspectives. Several cameras were following him from all angles, which gave a pretty cool composition of images from all sides, even showing the public, and it looked like a video art installation
Even though we photographers were not allowed to photograph this marvellous performance, my admiration for Frank Ocean grew quite enough because of his soulful, emotional and deeply touching soft low voice, his musical talent and the way he interacted with the supporting musicians on stage. With this show he has challenged what it means to be a festival headliner.
Way Out West‘s Linné stage, which is housed under a tent, saw talents such as Sampha, who finally got to perform cuts from his debut album Process for the first time on Swedish soil. The wild rock/punk of Thee Oh Sees set this very same stage on fire on the Friday afternoon. And Perfume Genius turned the Linné stage into a jungle with a thick leaf-printed curtain and leaves and other greenery attached to his band’s instruments. Seattle-based Mike Hadreas, Perfume Genius‘s real name, is such a performer! Bringing sensual moves to his already sensual and emotional lyrics and melodies, at times sounding like rebel punk and at times delicate ballads.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable performances was Mac DeMarco. The Canadian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer is such a prankster in the best and funniest of ways, It’s the way he performs and moves, the jokes that he tells… But then he starts playing and he produces these emotional, sensual and romantic tunes. You’ll find it hard to believe he’s all that in just one person. Just as Mac DeMarco and his band walked out on stage, he grabbed the mic to say “We’re gonna play some tunes, we’re gonna have some drinks…” and he opened a bottle of Jameson whiskey which he made sure to have on hand during the duration of the concert. He then played songs from his three albums, including his most recent This Old Dog. He also did a piano and voice mash-up of That’s Just the Way it is from Bruce Hornsby & the Range, followed by Jeremy from Pearl Jam and With Arms Wide Open from Creed. But he changed the lyrics to “with thumbs wide open”. This section won him the loudest applause from the crowds. Another moment of joking was when he did his own rendition of Vanessa Carlton‘s A Thousand Miles. People couldn’t believe their ears, but they were absolutely loving it. Sometimes you need musicians not to take things too seriously and just enjoy the moment and it was probably this feeling he had when he took off his shoes, jumped down the stage and threw himself onto the public who carried him around joyfully before delivering him back onto the guards’ arms and back to the stage.
Feist, just as her name states it, brought a feisty feeling to the festival fields. She expressed her happiness of being able to perform in Sweden. She took over to the stage to greet the audience and said that she is on an ongoing long tour, having performed in Lithuania and Norway in the previous couple of days, just to scream right after “but we’re finally here!”.
The XX landed some indie sounds to the Azalea stage, the other main stage of the festival. Romy, Jamie and Oliver expressed how surprised they were with the reception they got from the Swedish public, who just wouldn’t stop screaming and clapping after every song, making it hard for a very shy Romy to talk on the microphone and say “This is something we just never expect, so thank you!”. Oliver asked the staff to turn the lights onto the audience, just to continue after a nervous laugh “You are a very attractive nation!”.
Euphoria was the feeling that flooded Way Out West during Major Lazer‘s headline show on the first day of the festival.
Pixies got the alternative identity out of each person that witnessed their performance and chanted together with them to the chords of the classic Where Is My Mind.
Like it was to be expected after two days of beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures, Saturday came with not so surprising typical Gothenburg rain. This of course didn’t sop acts like Band of Horses from coming out to the stage and performing. Band of Horses own Ben Bridwell (vocals, guitar) said during their drenched performance ‘The weather is horrible, but you are beautiful’, cheering up the spirits of the audience a bit.
Lana del Rey‘s captivating performance had the entire audience hypnotised from the first second she stepped on the Flamingo stage during the last day of the festival. Her elegant presence felt like a warm summer night, beating up the wet and cold conditions that had prevailed earlier that day. She delivered songs from classics like Blue Jeans and Summertime Sadness and fresher sounds form her latest Lust For Life album like Cherry. Moving on stage like a modern-day diva and singing with such beauty, she elegantly concluded another edition of Way Out West.
The area in Slottsskogen named “Höjden” became a place for conversations, as its scene WOW Talks made room for debates and the deliverance of knowledge, insight and inspiration. Rebecca & Fiona‘s conversation with Anders Ygeman was an unexpected inspirational meeting. Agrikultur’s restaurant with seated four-course dinner under the trees and the sky, gave new experiences to foodies as well. For the first time also an outdoor cinema was put into function here and it proved its success by drawing big crowds to the world premiere of Silvania’s documentary! Another premiere at this year’s Way Out West was the restaurant area called “Lilla Dammen”, with wine and champagne bars, outdoor living rooms, an outdoor beauty salon and a hot tub. Way Out West 2017 is perhaps one of the most complete years ever.
Cover photo by Olle Kirchmeier
All other photos by Karen Pérez Guzmán www.1-way-ticket.com