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Festivals in Norway

A feast of flavours, sights, and sounds.

Peer Gynt, Gålå .
Photo: Bård Gundersen
Peer Gynt, Gålå .
Photo: Bård Gundersen

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.

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.

Pstereo 2017
Pstereo 2017.
Photo: Pstereo
Pstereo festival in Trondheim

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. 

Video Thumbnail - vimeo - BEST OF EKSTREMSPORTVEKO 2017
The best of Ekstremsportveko.
Photo: Ekstremsportveko
Ekstremsportveko in Voss

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.

A growing appetite for festivals

Norway offers more than 900 festivals to cater to near every taste in music, sports, food, film, theatre, literature, and more.

Although summer is by far the busiest festival season, excellent events are held all year round, 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.

Festival guide and calendar

Jazz and Blues festivals

Experience Europe's oldest annual jazz festival in Molde and others. 

Pop and rock festivals

Showcasing big-name international artists as well as up-and-coming local bands.

Food and drink festivals

A multitude of flavours and activities for foodies of all ages.

Get inspired

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See our selection of companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.

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