Bobfest is a Christian Metal Festival in Swedens capitol Stockholm up in northern Europe that is held yearly in March. As far as I know it is Europes biggest Christian Metal festival. Each year there are about 10 bands playing + great teachings with the longhairy Pastor Bob Beeman from the USA.
After much prayer, preparations and work it was finally time for Bobfest 2000. First thing that happened was that there were problems with Pastor Bob's apartment. We had an apartment ready for him but in the last minute something happened and the owner of the apartment changed his mind and couldn't host Pastor Bob. So when Bob arrived on Wednesday and Olov and Daniel (two of the organizers) picked him up they found out that we hadn't got any place where Bob could stay. Then they checked if there were any hotelrooms where he could stay. But everything was fullbooked and not a single room on the hotels was available!!
But later that day they called from one of the hotels and said that they had a room for Bob. But when Bob was about to pay, there wasn't a single cent on his account, even though he knew that he had plenty of $ there!! But God opened a way out (He always does, cause He will never leave or forsake us Hebrews 13:5) and a pentecostal church nearby had a room where Bob could stay for free! Amen, so it worked out well, at last.
Then there was some big problems with the overnightplaces. I had an agreement to hire a big sport hall, with plenty of showers, where all people could sleep. But when I called them a week later, they had changed their mind and we couldn't stay there at all! :-( They explained that there were some hard regulations that didn't allow people to sleep there at all.
So I had to start again to find some places where people could stay during the festival. I called lots of sport places but all said no and said that they weren't allowed to have people to sleep there according to regulations from the fire department. Then I checked with schools and it was the same problem there, according to the fireregulation people weren't allowed to sleep there either. So then it was only the churches left and there we finally found some places where people could stay. Unfortunately no church couldn't take all people so we had to split the people on 6-7 different churchbuildings.
Then came a BIG problem! We realized the the hall that we was about to have the conference and the friday concert in was double booked!!! :-( Our contact that should had booked the hall hadn't talked to all people he should. So when we came to the church were the conference was to be held two days before the festival, we weren't booked at all!! So we had spend hours talking with the people in the Filadelfia church to get a hall where we could stay. The hall we wanted and had booked was a smaller and nice hall that would have been perfect for us. But there was a youth event that in no way wanted to leave that hall for us. :-( So we had to take the big hall instead where the sound wasn't as good. Everything would have been better in the small hall, but since this youthevent in no way wanted to let us have it, we had to be in the big hall instead. Our choice was to either be there or no where, so our choice was quite easy. :-)
But thirsday ended in a great way! We, the organizers met Bob and the Sanctuary team (the ministry Bob is hosting) and had some great time where we fellowshipped and prayed together for the festival.
Friday came and we, the organizers worked hard to get everything in order. We also got good help from Gary and Casey that did a fantastic work with spreading the word about Bobfest to metalheads in Stockholm through flyers and putting up posters. We also found out that one person was going to bring 20 unsaved to the concert! Woah, it's things like this that makes me glad!
A really cool thing with this years festival was also that people were coming all the way from Holland, Poland, Letvia, Germany, England and Phil Powell came all the the way from USA to join us! And of course there was also plenty of people from Finland and Norway on the festival.
One hour late the festival started with an up'n'coming band called Apploro. Sounded really promising. Atmospheric black metal, good vocals. They played 3 tunes. When they were ready, Jim La Verde (ex Barren Cross) lead the worship before Pastor Bob started to talk. Bob said lots of good things and I can really recommend that you get the tapes with his teachings at the Bobfestpage http://come.to/bobfest
And then it was time for the friday concert. I think it was like 250 persons there. First band out was the melodic rockers in Vital Sign. I had never heard them before so I hadn't got any expectations. Some tunes were really good, but the overall sound was too light, to much pop in it. More heaviness to their sound is what they need. Vital Sign was very Christcentered and said plenty of good things. As extra encore their singer redressed so he looked like Joey Tempest in Europe and then they played The Final Countdown.
Sons of Thunder played next. They have developed in the right direction and the new tunes sounds promising. I really like their combination of heavy Heavy Metal and praise lyrics. It's gonna be very interesting to hear their fulllength cd.
Soapbox is a really good live-band. Hardcore is not my thing but they were moving and jumping around at full speed all over the stage. As an extra surprise from us organizers Blindside hit the stage at the end of Soapbox set and played some tunes with Soapbox equipment.
Then it was time for the release gig with Sanctifica. Full speed as usual and plenty of atmosphere in the music. Must be the best gig I have seen with them, even though the sound in the church wasn't the best.
Saturday started with a bang at 8:00 am to get everything ready for the meeting at 10:00 am. Jim LaVerde (ex Barren Cross) was leading the worship with the help of Sons of Thunder. At times it was real hardrockspraise during the weekend! That's what it always should be in the churches on sundays. :-) Pastor Bob talked and said many good and memorable things during both meetings on Saturday.
Then it was time for the big concert at a place called Klubben, the best arena for Metal concerts in Stockholm. I think it was like 350-400 people there, of which many were unsaved. A bunch of satanists were also there. During Deuteronomiums set the satanists planned to do a seans or something like that and formed a circle, but when Christians around them saw what was going to happen they started to pray that Deuteronomium would play a worship song. Soon after Deuteronomium played their worship song called Northern Praise, and the satanists got completely confused! They didn't know what to do, splitted in different directions and their evil plans fell flat to the ground! :-) Amen, God truly rules and there is power in the worship.
Another cool thing that happened on Klubben was that local-TV was there! They had seen one of our posters and now they were there to interview us for their programs. We found out that they were coming from a secular death/black metal program on local TV in Stockholm. They interviewed us organizers and got a pleasant surprise when they found out that all the bands were christians. They also interviewed Veni Domine, Crimson Moonlight, Antestor and also Pastor Bob Beeman himself! Amen, it was truly a work of God that they were there interviewing us and recording a bit of the concert as well. The cool thing was that they didn't mind at all that the bands were christians but thought it was pretty cool. Pray that God will continue His work in everyone that saw their report from Bobfest.
The concert started with the hardcore/punk band Silver from Norway. Lots of energy and full speed. Too much hardcore in their sound for me to really get into it but they had a few good tunes. They also played a Stryper cover and it rocked!
Deuteronomium was the next band. It was the last gig with Miika their singer. They played many classics from their cds. Spell of Hell, Northern Praise and many other tunes as well. It was a really good set that got the crowd going with plenty of headbanging. The bassplayer Manu talked about his brother that recently had died and told the audience that we are not here forever, our lives can end tomorrow. Therefore we have to use our time well and take the message of Christ to our heart while we still got the time. It was a very strong message directly from the heart. Deuteronomium also played a cover of One Bad Pigs tune Red River. Nice to hear this classic again.
Then the melodic metallers Laudamus hit the stage. Lots of show, lots of solos, real Metal and full on for Christ! Yeah, this is Metal folks! A very good liveband, indeed and the guitarist Peter is truly a brilliant guitarplayer. Their drummer Jonas also did a cool drumsolo while lots of lights was flashing. Nice to see some solos again. We have had too little of this the last couple of years. Laudamus was one of many highlights this evenings.
Antestor followed them and they didn't dissapoint. First gig in 5-6 years but they ripped of the tunes like it was yesterday. It was awesome to see them again! Didn't liked their corpsepaint image, but besides that they shredded. Kungsblod and plenty of other classics was played to the audience's delight. Their guitarist played so brutal that guitarstring after guitarstring broke, so he had to change guitars 4-5 times! Bit if you play brutal, you do. :-) Antestor played a very good set, a real highlight!
Veni Domine played an hour and a half and was without a doubt the ultimate highlight of the evening! I have never seen them this good before!! You could really feel that they were on fire and loved to play. I talked with Thorbjorn Weinesjo, their guitarist and he said that they hadn't had this fun to play in 5-6 years. They rocked thru Wisdom Calls, Dawn of Time, In The Day of the Sentinel and plenty of other classics. They even played their 23-24 minutes tune Chronicle of the Seven Seals from their first album. Heavy, Christcentered and Veni Domine at their best. Woah, what a gig!! All Veni Domine fans that wasn't there really missed something. But maybe you will got a second chance to hear it since they recorded the whole gig and maybe will release it on a live album later....
Last band out was the black metallers in Crimson Moonlight. Last Bobfest their 2nd guitarplayer was in Israel, but this year they had two guitarists which made the sound heavier and more powerful. As always with Crimson it's full speed and full on for Christ all the way. Pilgrims voice sounded great and fits perfect with the music. His singing has really improved. But all in all I didn't found their gig this year as impressing as it was last year on Bobfest 99. It was more spikes and image then also. :-) Pilgrim should swing his mighty sword more! Maybe it was this that I lacked, but an ok set anyway.
The sound during the Saturday concert was great and it was a big difference from the bad sound we had last year. They are really good at mixing hardrock/metal in Klubben. This year we also had a proffessional dude that took care of the lights and he did a great work. To say it short I was having a great time and totally enjoyed the concert! It was lots of work before the concert started to get everything in order, but since it had begun everything went very smooth.
On Sunday we was about to end Bobfest with an ordinary service at the Filadelfia church. We had got a promise that we would have 15 minmutes of the meeting to talk about Bobfest. But when Bobfest was about to start the keypeople in the church had totally changed their minds and now we couldn't even get a minute of the meeting! :-( We wasn't even allowed to say a word about Bobfest even though we had had the festival in Filadelfias own church hall! We also met some old ladies outside the building that would like to hear more about Bobfest. Even they were interested and wanted to hear us talk and still we wasn't allowed to say a word...
Pastor Bob had talked a lot about that religion/religiousity is our biggest enemy and we definately got that proved... Seems like it easier to be interviewed in secular black metal TV than it is to be allowed to speak in church...hmmmmm.... But besides this Filadelfia was very helpful and tried to help us in all ways and we also got the permission to lent their building for free, of which we are thankful.
As a whole I'm VERY SATISFIED with Bobfest 2000 and we all really hope that everyone that was there got something good from God with them home. We organizers have really done ALL we could to make this festival to a highlight with Jesus in center. I'm so glad that the vision I have had about a yearly Christian Metal Sweden now have become true.
I thank God for the unsaved people that was on the festival. Keep them in PRAYER and pray that God will continue His work in them. Many seeds were planted in peoples hearts this weekend and the Bible saids that God is faithful and will continue His work in them. So I'm sure we will see a great fruit of this festival, in heaven if not before. (Isaiah 55:11, Jeremiah 1:12, Philippians 1:6)
I would also like to thank my co-organizers and great friends Olov, Rickard, Daniel and Johan that did a MARVELLOUS WORK to make Bobfest a reality. Big thanks also to Pastor Bob Beeman for great teachings, Nordic Mission for providing great music during the festival, the whole gang from Sanctuary, Michael & c:o and everyone that helped us, all bands, Phil Powell from Screams of Abel (you rock dude! I'm glad and honoured that you came all the way from the US to join us) Olli from Turn or Burn (it was really cool to meet you), Manu from Little Rose, Michael from Paradox, Marek & c:o from Poland, all visitors from far away and nearby, all that have prayed for the festival (thank you so much! we truly needed your support), Bageribolaget, Bilsom, FS, all churches that has helped us so people could have a place to sleep, but most of all I want to thank JESUS for making this possible, we would never have made it without you. Thine is the glory.
And last I want to share some things of which I give God all the glory: Bageribolaget sponsored us with 300 baguetts, Bilsom sponsored with 1000 earplugs, the Metro started to go at nights again, the weekend before Bobfest and as result it got much easier for people get to their sleepingplaces at the churches.
An interesting detail is also that we organizers have only met only once to plan Bobfest. The rest of the contacts have been thru Internet. But with God's help it has worked great.
It was also cool to meet so many Prayer Warriors (prayerchain for Christian Metal in Sweden http://www.prayerwarriors.org) and all other people that I have had lots of contact with but never been able to meet in reality until now.
All in all I'm REALLY SATISFIED with Bobfest 2000 (with a few exceptions) and it has been the best weekend in my life! I hope I will see many of you again, and many new as well next year on Bobfest, Europes biggest Christian Metal Festival.
If you want to support Bobfest you can order the cool Bobfest - t-shirt and Pastor Bobs teachings at the Bobfestpage. This would help our festival economy a lot, and help us to pay all bills. More info about Bobfest can be found at http://come.to/bobfest
God Bless U all, stay close to God
In His Service