(Atlanta-based NCS contributor Tør is hoping to attend the 2020 edition of Steelfest in Hyvinkää, Finland, on May 15-16. This year the open-air festival will include such bands as Deicide, Sodom, Moonsorrow, Primordial, Venom Inc, Nifelheim, Impaled Nazarene, and many more. In this interview, Tør spoke with Steelfest founder Commander.)
Tell us a little bit about the concept and history behind Steelfest. What motivated you to organize it and how is it different from other metal festivals?
Steelfest started over a decade ago, 14-15 years ago, as a private “festival.” In the beginning, it was just local bands, friends, and lots of beer. I think in the first few events, there were more band members than the audience. So just the normal underground activity as usual.
I don’t remember how it happened but one day we just decided to change the venue and try to sell some tickets. We didn’t really think about what kind of bands or genre we wanted to focus on. We just invited bands what we liked at the time, and of course those we could afford to invite. In the first years, we had seven guys doing this and it really showed in our lineups. So, we didn’t have much of a [cohesive] idea about what we were doing or what kind of festival we wanted to do.
Nowadays, there are just two guys including me behind our events. So in the last four or five years we have founded the path that Steelfest is now on. As we concentrate on the underground and extreme side of black/death metal and other obscure controversial stuff, I would like to think that Steelfest is different because of its whole atmosphere. Atmosphere made by the venue, bands, audience and all of Steelfest’s volunteers crew. Usually, Steeefest includes some rare artists which you cannot find in other festivals. So maybe that also is something that is unique to us and what we are known for.