The bouncy castle gave it away - if there was a birthday party to be found, out in the middle of acres and acres of farmland, then it was probably going to be here. The line of cars, parked in a row over a section of mowed grass across the street, supported this idea, as did the white tents set up in the yard. The only thing left to do was find the one person at the party I knew, whom I'd never actually met before.
Aske answered my call to the Swedish Number back in late May, and we had a long conversation about all kinds of things: history, politics, regional differences within Sweden. Malmö, his city, is the third largest in Sweden, and is in Skåne, the southernmost county. When he heard I was headed there for just one day, he invited me to meet him at a friend's birthday party outside Trelleborg, a half hour south of Malmö (still within sight of the Øresund Bridge, connecting Sweden to Denmark).
All of which led me to the house with the castle - I was pretty sure I'd located the right spot, I just had to find Aske himself. After making a quick circle of the crowd, with no luck, I took out my phone, pulled up Aske's Facebook profile, and asked a friendly-looking person if they might know who he was. Sure enough, they did - in fact, he was playing in the band.
Aske and his brother and sister, Love and Tilde (band name: Folkfronten) were setting up on a stage in the side yard, and that's how we met in person for the first time. We didn't have a ton of time to chat, since they were about to start playing, but we were able to do a quick portrait session out in a sugar beet field at the break between sets. The party itself was for Aske's friend, Dennis, who was turning 40. Dennis and his wife, Cilla, had set up tents for food and drinks, with coffee and pastries served in his woodworking shed. Kids played in the castle and out in the yards and fields surrounding the house. After the music wrapped, we had a chance to talk more. Aske and his friend, Sebastian, insisted that even though I was headed north to Norrköping in the morning, I had to experience at least little of Malmö itself.
And so, around 11pm, the three of us piled into my rental Fiat, and we headed back to the city and into Folkets Park and the outdoor club, Far I Hatten, where two DJs were playing Swedish oldies and everyone, including us, was dancing. At 2am, we headed out to Jalla Jalla for late night falafel (Aske had told me on our initial call that Malmö had the best), followed by more music and politics/history conversations till 4am, when I caught a nap on the couch before heading back north. All in all, an evening very well spent.