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Jurassicrock 2013 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Jurassicrock 2013

Jurassicrock is a fairly small festival in Eastern Finland, held in the Visulahti amusement park near Mikkeli. The festival has been stepping up their game year after year, but for 2013 they dropped a huge bomb by booking System of a Down and expanding the festival to last full three days.

What's typical for Finnish festivals is that the billings are very crossover with extreme metal bands playing side by side with pop acts as Jurassic's very diverse bookings showed, too.

Pää Kii is one of the few new big domestic acts seen on the Finnish summer festival stages this summer. Their Finnish-sung punk/rock relies on traditional sounds and catchy songs, a recipe well welcomed by both media and fans. Fun band to watch that always gets the crowd going.

PMMP is one of the biggest Finnish pop bands of the 21st century. The hyper-energetic girl duo (and their band) has decided to call it quits at least for the time being after this summer. This was their last festival weekend show filled with joy and some tears, as fans said goodbye to one of the few bands that frequented Finnish festival stages that you didn't really get tired of seeing. Mad props for being able to say we're done while they were still on the top of their game!

The festival's opening day ended with Pendulum's DJ set in a very dark Finnish summer night. Most of the festival-goers headed to the fairly large camping area located right besides the festival, but some also opted out to check out the nightlife in Mikkeli and utilise the accommodation packages that were offered in cooperation with Mikkeli hotels.

Saturday started slowly with the pretty unknown Bloodred Hourglass, a local tech/groove metal band, followed by the Russian alternate band The Tel, both of which didn't really get the hungover party crowd up from their tents, besides from few enthusiastic BRHG fans who started a small moshpit.

Kotiteollisuus was the first crowd magnet of Saturday. The festival's head of security figured he might as well get married on the stage during the band's set. Well, why not? Besides that, the Finnish rock trio's show didn't really offer anything none of us have ever seen before from them- a few obscene jokes between the songs and basic hard rock tunes with cheap hooks that sometimes slip into a pretty poppy sound, but then again isn't that what rock and roll is all about?

Stam1na has been on every single Jurassicrock, and the tradition didn't end this year either. The groovy Lemi band doesn't take themselves too seriously, and played an entertaining show, this time dressed in beach paradise outfits. The band's live show is an odd combination of perceived carelessness, yet exceptionally tight technical musicianship.

Other notable performances on Saturday featured Killswitch Engage, now back together with their original vocalist Jesse Leach, and an odd Heavyweight DJs set that got people dancing in front of the Sue stage.

Saturday's main act was Devin Townsend Project, who put on an impressive looking show that was supported by a huge video screen. Devin as a festival headliner never really clicked for me; the dude has a very faithful but relatively small following, and something more mainstream would fit these slots better. By the time his set closed closer to 2AM, most of the crowd had already vanished in the nightlife of Mikkeli or to continue the party in the camping area.

Despite the heavily mixed set of artists on the festival that attracted a really diverse crowd of people, everyone seemed to get along really well. The parties in the camping area raged on until the morning, and during daytime people enjoyed some of the unusual attractions in the area, including a big waterpark, a carting track, a human catapult, bungee jumping and more.

Sunday opened with some unorthodox bookings, like the pop/rap solo artist Cheek and a standup/beatbox show, which both fit well to the already diverse mix of performances in anticipation of the main event of the weekend.

Before System of a Down, Amaranthe made sure that this night wouldn't be a one-band show. This talented Gothenburg band mixing metal and pop with their odd formation of three singers has really broken through in the last 2 years. Having headlined the US and played more than a dozen festivals this summer, the band showcased its strong live routine in Mikkeli to an enthusiastic response, certainly converting many new prospects into big Amaranthe fans.

By the time System of a Down was getting started, the area was getting absolutely packed, perhaps because of rumoured controversies of conflicted interests between Serj Tankian and his solo career and the rest of the band -- some wildest speculations even hinted that this could well be the last time SOAD is playing in Finland.

The band's live show is pretty plain in terms of production, but the songs spoke for themselves. The tighly packed set featured more than 20 of the band's most popular hit tunes that were well welcomed on Finnish soil that witnessed the band only for the second time ever.

Despite the poor weather Jurassicrock left an overall positive impression. Although having grown considerably in size, they've still managed to maintain that homey feeling of a small local festival, while still being able to provide a big name lineup. They hit their attendance goal by far and everything worked like a dream in pretty tough, rainy conditions, so one can only expect them to aim even higher come 2014.

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