Festivals in Norway
A feast of flavours, sights, and sounds.
Great art and culture is even better when you share the experience. Music, film, and other popular festivals are a key part of the booming Norwegian culture scene.
A growing hunger for festivals
Norway offers more than 900 festivals that match interests in music, food, sport, film, theatre, literature, history and much more.
Summer is undoubtedly the biggest festival season, but several exciting events take place throughout the year all over the country.
Festival packing tips
Festivals in Norway might present you with “all four seasons in one day” and it is highly recommended to pack functional clothing. Here is a list of essentials:
Layered clothing: add or remove clothing according to the temperature. Light wool is recommended, even during summer.
Rain gear/poncho: stay dry on a rainy day.
Rain boots: you get far with trainers, but only rain boots will keep your feet happy in heavy rain.
Sunglasses: look like a rock star. No need to squint at the stage.
Sunscreen: protect yourself in the sun.
Earplugs: in case you need to give your ears a break.
There is a myriad of music festivals in Norway, covering both popular genres such as jazz, blues and contemporary music, as well as niche festivals showcasing more experimental music. The festival scene in Norway holds a high international standard and measures up to the best festivals in Europe.
A festival of festivals
Some of the most popular festivals in Oslo are The Øya festival, by:Larm and OverOslo. The Øya festival emphasises indie, hip-hop and electronic music. By:Larm in the city centre attracts a huge crowd in early March, and OverOslo provides a fantastic view over the capital from the Grefsenkollen plateau. Beyond Oslo, Slottsfjellfestivalen in Tønsberg, Pstereo in Trondheim and the Bukta festival in Tromsø are just a few of the excellent music festivals you can attend.
Norway is in many ways a country of extremes, so it’s perhaps no coincidence genres like black metal and jazz have thrived here for decades. Norway is the home of black metal, and there is no better place to experience it than the Inferno festival, held every Easter in Oslo. There are also international jazz festivals in Bergen, Molde, Kongsberg, Haugesund, Oslo, Lillehammer and more.
And speaking of extremes, every year in Voss you can enjoy Ekstremsportveko, the largest extreme sports festival of its kind, which also includes live music performances. And don't miss Voss's jazz festival, Vossajazz, usually held in April.
Are you a cinephile? Norway is home to several international film festivals The international film festival in Tromsø in January has a unique Arctic atmosphere, while the Film fra Sør (Films from the South) festival in Oslo screens new and exciting titles from Asia, Africa and South America. Bergen is home to the popular international film festival BIFF, usually held in October.
Food, and especially locally-sourced food, is increasingly important to Norwegians, and there are several annual bigger festivals, like for example the Matstreif festival in Oslo, the Trøndelag Food Festival and Trondheim Brewery Festival and Gladmat in Stavanger, but also several niche festivals like the Rakfisk (semi-fermented trout) festival in Valdres and cider festivals in Hardanger.
And last, but not least, there are also a variety of theatre and literature festivals.