Way Out West celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and the festival was bigger than ever with more booked musical acts than ever, as well as daily film screenings and TV show releases.
The festival had a record-breaking average of 33.000 people per day and the crowds gathered around the five stages to celebrate with music and dance. Also new to the festival was the WOW Talks stage with various panels, speeches, spoken word and debates focusing on different perspectives of creativity and sustainability.
Among the best shows we had the opportunity to see on the first day of the festival was the indie rock legend, Morrissey. During his performance he dedicated Throwing my arms around you Paris to the people from Paris and Nice, creating a very emotional moment during his concert. Another moment that got the crowd excited was when Morrissey said: “Don’t you feel like news and television drags you down and pushes you down and puts you down?”. He then shouted: “Then stop watching!!” and went on to sing World peace is none of your business.
The presence of the sun was very much appreciated by the festival-goers who also cheered to concerts of artists like Talaboman (John Talabot and Axel Boman), Chvrches, The Last Shadow Puppets, Jessie Granqvist, M83, among others. Perhaps it was M83, a band that has been pretty well embraced by the Swedish public, who gathered the most voices singing along to hits like Midnight City, Reunion, Wait, and more.
Unfortunately the clouds showed no mercy and didn’t let the sun shine through on the second and third day of the festival. Instead the crowds had to deal with rain that was at times intense. Despite our shoes being muddy and our clothes wet, the spirits remained high among the audience and the artists alike.
José González offered a unique acoustic presentation to a completely packed crowd – so much so that at some point the doors to the stage had to be closed and access limited due to full capacity.
Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals thanked the audience for having come to see them regardless of the rain. At a certain point of their show, Anderson Paak stopped and said: “This stage is pretty slippery, so if I fall just don’t post that shit”. Of course he then did slip and fall, but he got up again and continued jumping and singing like nothing had happened.
We can say that a very balanced variation of music was presented on the stages on the second day as well, with the punk rock of The Libertines, the rock of James Bay, the jazz of Kamasi Washington, the pop and charisma of one of the festival’s favourites, Zara Larsson, who put most everybody in the dancing mood with her dazzling choreographies. The admirable Grace Jones wowed many with her performance and her outfits, going from wearing a long black cape with a golden skull mask with black feathers on top, to wearing nothing but body paint, a head-do of golden shiny leaves, knickers, a corset and shiny leaves covering her backside.
Way Out West’s second day of music was crowned by the presence of PJ Harvey on the stage. She appeared playing the sax and singing with her very distinctively beautiful velvet voice.
On a previous visit to Way Out West we were talking with the festival-goers about being at a music festival and going with the flow. Since this time we were all so impressed with the looks of the assistants as much as the performing artists, we thought it would be interesting to take the opportunity and explore “The Way Out West look”. Want to know what we found out? Watch our video below!
The highlights of the third and last day of festival performances were provided by artists like Ane Brun, Jamie XX, Seinabo Sey, Sia and Massive Attack.
Morrissey may have had some of the most controversial imaging projections, at some point having the painting of a bull harping a bull fighter with a sword as a clear statement of his position against bull fighting. But it was Massive Attack, the band in charge of bringing the festival to its closure on the third day, who had the most impressive set of lights and screens, together with very impressive video and graphics projections.
Way Out West promises to come back next year even bigger, to continue promoting sustainability and consciousness. The festival offered only vegetarian food options and have been a point of reference for emerging talent, not only in music but also in film and other art forms.