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Parade of people holding balloons in Førde
Førde Traditional and World Music Festival.
Photo: Arve Ullebø
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An insider’s guide to five fun festivals

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. 

Anders RykkjaPhoto: Private

Anders Rykkja's recommendations

Førde Traditional and World Music Festival.
Photo: Heidi Hattestein

The Peer Gynt festival, Vinstra.
Photo: Bård Gundersen

Riddu Riđđu, Manndalen.
Photo: Andreas Kalvig Anderson

Nordland Music Festival, Bodø.
Photo: Henrik Dvergsdal
Mela Festival, Oslo

Mela Festival, Oslo.
Photo: Lars Gartå
More about the 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.

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