In Norway you have more 900 festivals to choose from, and around 300 of these are art and cultural festivals. Whether you fancy music, performing arts or traditional events, here are five Norwegian cultural festivals out of the ordinary.
"In Norway there is about one festival per 5-6000 capita. The offer is fairly distributed between the country’s regions. About two thirds of the festivals take place in cities, the rest in the countryside or smaller towns, says Anders Rykkja", CEO of Norway Festivals.
In a survey from 2014 conducted by Norway Festivals, in cooperation with Norwegian Live Music Association, FolkOrg and the Norwegian jazz forum, one of the findings was that festivals in Norway in total have around 2.2 million spectators. In a country with approximately 5 million inhabitants, this is nothing short of impressive.
To Anders Rykkja, who is a dedicated “festivalgoer” himself, it makes perfect sense why so many people choose to go to festivals.
"Festivals provide wonderful opportunities for people to immerse themselves intensely in artistic and cultural experiences in a limited period of time. People get the chance to meet artists, watch performances, productions and concerts they otherwise would not have experienced", he says.
Read about his five recommendations on unusual cultural festivals.
Førde Traditional and World Music Festival:
This is the largest festival in Scandinavia for traditional and world music and dance from all over the world. The festival was established in 1990 and takes place in the beginning of July every year.
The Peer Gynt Festival, Vinstra:
Every year since 1967, the Peer Gynt festival is held in August in the Gudbrandsdalen valley to celebrate the local legend that inspired Henrik Ibsen’s dramatic poem “Peer Gynt”. Read more.
Riddu Riđđu, Manndalen:
The mission of the Riddu Riđđu festival, which was established in 1991, is to promote and develop the Sami coastal culture.
Nordland Music Festival, Bodø
The festival makes use of every corner of Bodø and invites you to sample classical music, jazz, folk music and pop, indoors and outdoors. The festival takes place in March each year.
Mela festival, Oslo:
This festival will challenge your senses with international rhythms, music, dance and food. Mela was held for the first time in 2001 and the festival attracts around 300,000 people every year.
Oslo is a large, Scandinavian culture hub, with countless festivals, concerts and museums. But remote villages have much to offer as well. See what’s happening where you are going.
Each year, the big festivals attract tens of thousands of people to the region, and whether you like rock, classical music, jazz or blues, you will be sure to find something to suit your taste. Various smaller festivals also maintain high standards and are becoming increasingly popular.
With hundreds of music festivals to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin. But there's no need to worry: Øystein Greni, lead singer in the rock band Bigbang and one of Norway’s leading guitarists, shares his five favourite festivals.
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