“What’s your name? Are you German or something?”, I was asked by the bloke who sat down beside me offering me a beer. He was part of a larger group of men and women sitting at the adjoining table at Eskilstuna Pride.
When planning my travel to Sweden, Eskilstuna was very much an afterthought. I’d been here once before, in 2008, but with only vague memories of what it was like, almost a decade later. When looking around online for excursions outside of Stockholm, I was attracted in seeing the town/city has a Pride Festival. I’m still a country boy at heart and the idea of going to a Pride festival in a smaller town in attracted me. In particular, I also saw that Charlotte Perelli and Magnus Carlsson were performing. In the end, Charlotte pulled out, citing a diary conflict, and even better, she was replaced by Nanne Gronvall, who I also like very much, and have twice before seen her perform.
Both Magnus and Nanne gave wonderful performances. These were amongst the most informal performances I’ve ever seen from them. Highlights included one of Nanne’s best songs, in my view, “Avundsjuk”, and Magnus’ performance of the AC/DC song, “Highway to Hell”, which was all rather appropriate for a Pride festival, I guess.
Not that it felt too much like a gay festival I’ve been to previously. Despite all the rainbow flags everywhere, it felt more like a more general community celebration, which embraced diversity. The crowd watching and participating felt very much like the general community, rather than specifically people who are LGBTQ+.
I really enjoyed the festival, and in particular, the friendliness of the people attending, including the bloke who came up to me from nowhere and offered me a beer, and the three older women who also found out completely bizarre that a man from Australia knew about Magnus, Nanne and Eskilstuna. They thought I was German too.