It's Official: JUDAS PRIEST To Headline SWEDEN ROCK Festival!

JUDAS PRIEST have been officially confirmed to headline next year's installment of the Sweden Rock festival, set to be held June 10-12, 2004 in Sölvesborg, Sweden. This is the first word of any live dates from the British heavy metal band since they announced their reunion with vocalist Rob Halford in July after more than 12 years apart.

The following is a list of the acts that have been confirmed to appear at Sweden Rock Festival 2004:

JUDAS PRIEST (UK)
UFO (UK)
NIGHTWISH (FIN)
APRIL WINE (CAN)
KINGDOME COME (D)
CHILDREN OF BODOM (FIN)
ENTOMBED (S)
EXODUS (US)
MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS (US)
SLADE (UK)
ABRAMIS BRAMA (S)
OPETH (S)
WASA EXPRESS (S)
BRAINSTORM (D)
CAGE (US)
PERSUADER (s)
LUMSK (N)
NARNIA (s)
HEAVENLY (F)
PARAGON (D)
MEMORY GARDEN (S)
LAKE OF TEARS (S)
PATHOS (S)
HIRAX (US)

The first few confirmations for the festival are being announced this evening (Nov. 28) at the Sweden Rock 2004 kick-off party at Draken in Stockholm. DORO is headlining the kick-off concert, with additional performances expected from TEN 67, TEN JINN and SPEARFISH. Also appearing will be the "all-star" Swedish cover band MONSTERS OF METAL, featuring vocalist Mats Levén (KRUX, AT VANCE, ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), guitarist Fredrik Åkesson (TALISMAN), bassist Johan Nieman (THERION) and drummer Sami Karppinen (ex-THERION).

JUDAS PRIEST are in talks to take part in several European festivals next summer, including Holland's Waldrock and Italy's Gods of Metal, according to published reports.

The band, who will celebrate their 30th anniversary next year, are believed to be on the verge of signing a new major-label deal with Sony Music following their split with the Atlantic label last year. Their forthcoming CD will be the group's first to feature Halford since 1990's RIAA gold-certified "Painkiller".

JUDAS PRIEST's last two studio albums (neither one of which featured Halford), "Jugulator" (1997) and "Demolition" (2001), received mediocre reviews and disappointing sales — 110,000 and 50,000, respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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