Norwegian music has a strong reputation, not least in the genres of metal, indie and electronic music. Some of the world’s bestselling artists regularly tour the country as well.
Norwegians are a music-loving people, and all over the country artists, promoters, venues and enthusiasts come together to provide a rich offering of concerts – from massive stadium rock shows down to tiny and intimate performances.
While Oslo has the most venues and might be the preferred destination for most international artists and bands, the large student cities, like Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø and Stavanger, also have a myriad of gigs all year round. The fact that artists now tour more extensively, partly due to the decrease in record-sales, makes it more likely that the top notch bands will come to several cities in Norway during a tour.
Oslo Spektrum and Telenor Arena are the venues for the largest concerts in Oslo, while Rockefeller Music Hall and Sentrum Scene are typically used for the mid-sized ones. If you’re into clubbing and electronic music, Blå (in one of Oslo’s most striking locations) and The Villa are clubs with a good reputation worldwide. Not to mention the capital’s very active and exciting underground scene.
In Bergen, Grieghallen and Ole Bull Scene are popular venues, while Koengen has hosted outdoor events with major artists like Bruce Springsteen and Foo Fighters. USF Verftet and Kvarteret have a somewhat younger and more adventurous profile.
If you’re more into classical music, The Oslo Philharmonic has its home in Oslo Konserthus (a venue that also hosts pop and rock concerts), while the spectacular Norwegian Opera and Ballet also regularly host more traditional concerts. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, which had Edvard Grieg as its artistical director in the 1880s, performs regularly as well, mostly in Grieghallen.
Few Norwegian music festivals can equal the international status that the Inferno Festival holds. With a solid focus on the world's best black metal bands, the Inferno Festival in Oslo attracts metal fans from far and wide. It´s voted one of the 10 best in the world by the readers of Terrorizer magazine and is now the Norwegian metal community’s most important gathering.
Oslo is one of the large, Scandinavian culture hubs, with countless festivals, concerts and museums. But even the most remote village should have a football team and a cultural centre for you to get a taste of the local identity. See what’s happening where you are going.
Great art can become even better when experienced together. Festivals of food, music and films are vital to the Norwegian culture scene.