The third edition of Stockholm's finest three-day summer festival, Rosendal Garden Party, delivered a memorable Massive Attack show and left the audience gobsmacked by the unannounced guest appearances of Lauryn Hill and Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) on stage. Swedish headliners Refused unfortunately had to cancel due to frontman Dennis Lyxzén suffering a heart attack twenty hours before the show. Nevertheless, Baltimore outfit Turnstile stepped in and delivered an impressive hardcore set. Legendary queens, the iconic 76-year old Grace Jones, the British-Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A, Brit Awards Album of the year’s Raye, and local hero Nina Persson with The Cardigans, put the sparkling touches on the festival.
Loyal to their original concept of ‘eat, drink, and enjoy some timeless indie favorites,’ this third edition featured a motley lineup including Raye, YG Marley, Nia Archives, Saint Levant, Yaeger, Les Big Byrd, The Heavy, and Bcuc. The festival offers one main stage, giving attendees ample time to eat, drink, and relax between shows. With a curated selection of wines and diverse food options, the experience is elevated even further. Plus, there's no mud; simply lush grass and the resplendent nature of the Royal Gardens of Stockholm—just an easy, enjoyable time. The big challenge for the festival, however, is keeping everyone happy, and queues – especially for the toilets – are always inevitable at these kinds of events. While there may have been less hardcore punk and more wine tasting than originally planned, the Rosendal Garden Party has proved to be more essential to the city of Stockholm, which lacks indie-pop rock festivals, than the ticket sales were to the festival.
Over forty thousand people enjoyed the festival over the course of three days this year. Due to the cancellation of headliners Refused, Friday was the least crowded. However, when YG Marley (yes, you guessed it, grandson of Bob Marley and son of Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley) announced his mother’s appearance on stage, the audience rushed to the main stage in disbelief. They witnessed her perform timeless classics from her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and some Fugees’ material, notably Killing Me Softly With His Song. The sunny Swedish evening transformed into a collective sing-along party. YG Marley, already established as an artist, strategically embraces his family legacy, offering the audience some Marley classics alongside his own material. 
For those disappointed by the news of Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén’s cancellation, there was a silver lining. The Baltimore outfit Turnstile stepped in, delivering a powerful and tight punk hardcore set that ignited the anticipated turbulent moshpit. Their hits, including Grammy Award-nominated Holiday and Blackout, electrified the air. Although the band’s latest full-length album, Glow On, was released in 2021, Rosendal Garden Party doesn’t require a current year’s release. Instead, it focuses on unmistakable hits and a good blend of genres.
Friday night wrapped up with M.I.A., who has not been entirely Missing In Action since her last full-length album, Mata (2022). The British-Sri Lankan artist took over the main stage with her collage of punk, electro-clash, activism, fashion, and visual art. With a short show of loud bass and dancers, M.I.A. remains artistically and politically active, raising money through NFTs and aiding in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war, for which Steve Loveridge produced and directed a documentary about her efforts, gaining significant attention at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018.
Saturday was sold out, with over fifteen thousand people witnessing Massive Attack’s live comeback—one of the musical events of the year. The trip-hop gurus did not disappoint. Alongside their cascade of hits, a digital waterfall of data, crafted by the iconic London studio UVA (United Visual Artists), provided a mesmerising backdrop, a signature of Massive Attack’s shows. To top it off, in addition to singer Horace Andy, Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil, singer Elizabeth Fraser joined 3D and Daddy G on stage, much to the audience’s delight. Emblematic tracks like Teardrop, Inertia Creeps, Angel, and Karmacoma made the show memorable. Pouring rain by the end of the show made the experience even more epic. The band’s political commitment is evident, triggered by 3D's activism on social networks. He wore an armband in support of Palestine and announced that the band had cancelled an upcoming show in Georgia to protest the government’s attack on basic human rights.
If Massive Attack were the kings of the Royal Gardens of Stockholm for a day, Grace Jones and Nina Persson were the queens on Sunday. The Cardigans’ performance appeared to be a bit challenging for the band. Following this year festival’s trend of inviting notable artists on stage, they were accompanied by Swedish jazz trumpeter Goran Kajfeš, whose equipment seemed to have connectivity issues causing his volume to intermittently drop. Additionally, Nina Persson reportedly faced some hearing difficulties, which added to the challenges. Moreover, their 1996 hit Lovefool seemed out of place in this more experimental jazz-rock set. 
Finally, the glamour of the impressive 76-year-old Grace Jones (initially wearing a skull mask) is as vast and eternal as her wardrobe, filled with countless prêt-à-porter outfits and hats. Throughout it all, the choir kept the song tight while she ventured into the audience, and using in-between songs silly anecdotes about her romantic escapades with Swedish ex-boyfriends. The electro-post-punk-dance-pop-reggae queen brings to her setlist heavyweight hits including I've Seen That Face Before, Libertango and Pull up to the bumper. She also has time between songs to destroy and take some rage on a cymbal in what appeared to be some sort of Kobainen or Thousand tribute. Closing up the festival, which by this time on Sunday night most of the audience would be indeed like ‘I've seen that face before,’ was it on Thursday at Massive Attack or on Friday at Turnstile, or perhaps on Saturday at Raye? Libertango!