The land of a thousand festivals

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Photo: Gunnar Kopperud / Fotografgunnarkopperud

Norwegians love their music festivals. From small indie festivals in the most obscure and weird places you could imagine – to big mainstream festivals which draw huge crowds from all over the world.

As the seasonalclock turns to spring, with the melting of the snow and the leaf-out of the trees, you can be certain that the Norwegians will yet again awake from their festival hibernation. The period from May – September is the high season for festivals in Norway. When the sun arrives and brings with it warm and relatively stable weather, the Norwegians step outside and flock to the many music festivals around the country. The fact that nearly every city and small village wants to have their own festival is one of the reasons why Norway has become “the land of a thousand festivals”.

From small indie festivals deep inside the fjords to rock festivals on top of mountains or huge mainstream pop and electronic festivals at big stadiums – the Norwegian music festival scene has something for every musical taste.

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Festivals such as Trænafestivalen on some small islands in northern Norway and Vinjerock high up in the Norwegian mountains are examples of festivals in spectacular and hard-to-get-to locations that draw big crowds year after year. However, you do not have to be an adventurer to get to some great festivals in Norway. Most of the larger cities in Norway have their own festivals, and festivals such as Øya-festivalen in Oslo, Jugendfest in Ålesund or Bergenfest in, you guessed it, Bergen, are big festivals with music from most genres.

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Although the Norwegian music festivals have a wide variety of genres to please most musical needs, only half of the Norwegian festival attendees actually go solely for the music. In a recent survey by Norstat and the Norwegian national broadcaster NRK, 42 per cent answered that they go to music festivals mainly to socialise with friends and family, while 53.3 per cent goes mainly for the music.

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An important explanation for why Norway has so many festivals is that most of them are relatively small and local. Most of the festivals are connected to the local culture scene, and what formerly was known as community celebrations in the small villages and towns have turned into festivals. The festivals are usually not driven by the prospect of economic profit but to create something for the local community to enjoy.

Why not check out a music festival yourself while you are visiting Norway? This list of music festivals from Visit Norway is a great place to look for your next festival experience.



Photo one: Vinjerock - Joakim Mangen
Photo two: Trænafestivalen - trena.net
Photo three: Jugendfest - Aleksander Ramsland / Scream Media