Live Nation Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in Sweden Rock Festival, one of Sweden's most successful and longest-running festivals. As in other recent festival acquisitions, the team behind Sweden Rock Festival will continue to curate, manage and produce the event, now with access to Live Nation's portfolio and resources.
The move adds yet another event to Live Nation's dominant festival portfolio in Europe, where fests have been a summer mainstay for decades. With Sweden Rock Festival, Live Nation now has six in Sweden alone: the Island Festival, Popaganda, Stockholm Music & Arts, Summerburst, and Way Out West. Of the six, Sweden Rock Festival is the only event offering primarily rock music.
Live Nation now has the largest festival portfolio in the world, encompassing more than 80 global festivals, including Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and Electric Daisy Carnival in the U.S.; T in the Park, Reading, and Leeds in the U.K.; and Rock Werchter and many more in Europe. Live Nation currently operates over half of the top 25 festivals around the world. This acquisition secures Sweden Rock Festival's leading position in the Nordic market, while also creating growth opportunities.
John Reid, president Concerts, Live Nation Europe, says he's "very excited" about the addition of Sweden Rock to the firm's Euro operation. "This is a great young team of guys who will be hugely complementary to our European festival organization," he tells Billboard, adding that Martin Forsman and Mats Natvig are the "key people" in producing the festival.
Held the second weekend in June in the small town of Norje outside of Sölvesborg in southern Sweden, Sweden Rock has grown to become one the biggest festivals in Sweden, hosting such bands as Black Sabbath, Kiss, Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Aerosmith, Volbeat, and Ghost, as well as many other emerging and classic rock acts.
Sweden Rock marked its 25th anniversary in 2016 and annually draws about 30,000 fans. Aerosmith was the first announced headliner for 2017. "[Sweden Rock] fits nicely with our portfolio of rock festivals in Europe," says Reid. "Combined with the recently launched Download Paris and Download Madrid in 2017, [Sweden] continues our growth story in that area."