Malmo’s Crime City Rollers hold the future of Malmo and Sweden in their roller skates


photo by Peter Troest-

photo by Peter Troest-

Recently I found myself disappointed with Malmo’s summer cultural events calendar, admittedly what was not offered disappointed me more than what was.

The Malmo Festival, the city’s biggest event taking place this August 16 to the 23rd, boasts many terrific musical acts, theatre, food etc.
However, my fringe festival loving self longed for some strange, odd, non-conventional entertainment something like Möllevångsfestivalen that I experienced in 2009.


This small organic, neighborhood festival blew me away with its collection of backyard concerts, non-conventional theatre venues and abundant street food.

I felt I found a potential venue for future performances. Now to my horror I’ve discovered it’s gone.
However, a few weekends ago, my sadness evaporated when I stumbled into Malmo’s Roller Derby Festival, this weekend long event hosted at Malmo’s open house cultural center STPLN featured international roller derby bouts, roller-skating workshops, a citywide roller-skating tour and more all for free.


This whole scene reminded me of San Francisco’s vibrant flare yet not due to the veneer of tattoos, dreadlocked hair and punk rock fashion.

Nor because they presented an alternative to Malmo’s rigid, standardized society but because this scene offered an accepting, anything goes mentality which contrasts the city’s often stifling, unaccepting mindset.
When I attended this event at Stapelbäddsparken in the western harbor, I realized why Malmo came in 4th directly behind San Francisco recently in Forbes Magazine’s list of the 15 most inventive cities.

Malmo’s roller derby crew are not your average Scandinavians living a same-as-it-ever-was life style who never dare to think or act outside of the pre-decided norm but rather are people who possess a Why wouldn’t you as opposed to the all common Swedish well you couldn’t attitude.


For me this reveals that Sweden’s future exists not in its traditions but rather its ability to be different, flexible and accepting of the non-traditional and in its prowess to innovate as oppose to stagnate.

Sweden’s rich cultural history represents its blessing and its curse offering the comfort of the known yet at the same time the weight of its past.

Like a ship clinging to an anchor outweighing it one risks being drug down by the very object that offers security.
As a volunteer guided my 7-year-old daughter through a roller skating workshop another coxed my wife and I into a pair roller skates.

My daughter getting roller skating training

My daughter getting roller skating training


Steven catches the fever

Steven catches the fever

Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry stated once “ A man’s got to know his limitations.”

At 48 I certainly do as some things I plan never to do again or even attempt.

The acceptance of my aging body as well as my accident prone nature ranks roller skating with parachuting on my not-to-do list.

Yet the contagious enthusiasm in the ether channeled the in a for a penny in for a pounding attitude of my youth.

As I strapped on a pair and the protective gear I jokingly asked if they had a pillow for my butt.

Malmo’s Roller Derby may come and go but the people draw to it possess the qualities required for Malmo’s and Sweden’s future success.

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