The Swedish festival located in Gothenburg takes place in two parts. The main acts go on before midnight in Slotsskogen park and thereafter the so-called Stay Out West commences. The smaller acts play on various smaller venues around the city. In theory, this sounds great because the city becomes a more active part of the festival – in practise, it is really hard to convince yourself to stay awake and drag yourself to another venue across town after being on your feet for 12 hours already.
Way Out West suffered greatly from cancellations this year. Artists cancelled both well in time for the festival, but also during, which caused some very last-minute schedule shuffling. The at least ten cancelled acts was not a great look and the opening of two-day tickets during the festival further suggested the festival is struggling to maintain its popularity.
Cancellations also did not do any good for the already mediocre line-up. It seemed all the bigger artists had been drawn to Lollapalooza’s first run in Stockholm earlier in the summer. Headliners included The Cure, James Blake, Zara Larsson, Jungle, Blood Orange, Stormzy and Rex Orange County.
However, Way Out West had managed to create somewhat of a gender balance in their bookings, an act so simple, yet so many festival’s struggle to complete. And while the time schedule suffered slightly from a sudden massive downpour, the four main Slotsskogen stages otherwise ran seamlessly throughout the three-day festival.
Surprisingly, there was no need to fork out on super expensive coffee or lug around snacks for the entire day. The continuous free samples of coffee, candy, food and even rain ponchos from the festival’s sponsors, meant that with a little strategy and patience the festival experience became a lot cheaper than usual.
However, few would be able to afford drinking their way through Way Out West. The site had strict policy banning attendants from bringing in their own alcohol and buying a 33cl beer on site cost 68 krona (£5.50). This did have the positive effect that the festival remained largely sober during the day (many found a drink or two on the way to Stay Out West), and thus the festival crowd was largely calm and respectful.
Way Out West’s smaller size, both in terms of the number of attendants, but also number of days is great for those looking for a weekend jam-packed with good music and a respectful crowd. Additionally, Stay out West caters to those wishing to rave through the night. Its city location makes it accessible and the ticket largely pays for the entire experience. Assuming the festival can find away to avoid cancellations and up their attendance, Way Out West is definitely worth returning to.