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Make your own festival round trip

When music and food determine the route
With so many festivals happening in Norway, you are best off following your inner rhythm. Professional festival photographer Tord Litleskare leads the way.
A band performing in front of a big audience at Granittrock festival in Oslo
Granittrock, Oslo.
Photo: Granittrock

Planning can be as pleasurable as letting your musical taste decide where you go this summer, like if you were an untamed breeze flowing through Norway on a whim. Find yourself attending exotic lesser-known music festivals in Instagram-friendly nature, as well as in the middle of the crowd at huge festival gigs in the larger cities.

To fill up your stomach, make gourmet stops at the many food festivals along the way, that serve local delicacies.

Discover new music - and destinations

Tord Litleskare is a free-spirited chap. He works as a photographer and editor-in-chief of Gaffa Norway, a branch of the Nordic countries’ largest music magazine.

“Luckily, at Gaffa we are free to cover music and artists that we care for personally, and that freedom strongly influences where I travel in the summer festival season.”

For a safe start, Tord points out festivals in the bigger cities, as he believes he will find the most interesting artist there. It could be the Pstereo festival in Trondheim, Utopia in Stavanger, Øyafestivalen and OverOslo in Oslo, and Bergenfest in his native town of Bergen.

“Like others who are into music, I let the artists decide where I travel. But this is a question of where you are in life. When I was 17 or 18, I was ready to go anywhere. That attitude has changed a bit” Tord explains.

But he understands the adventure-seeking festival crowd who look for unusual nature experiences.

“The Vinjerock and Træna festivals are both fit for youngsters who are hungry for new experiences in the middle of nature, and who have an urge to discover new places. That crowd seems especially dedicated, because after all it’s an investment of time and money to travel that far.”


Tord adds that another advantage of going to the lesser-known festivals is the possibility of experiencing new talents who may later play only at the biggest gigs.

And a rising trend is festivals that specialise in music genres. More people tend to choose their festivals according to what I would call rather quirky musical tastes. The huge artist names that used to unite large crowds become rarer, as there aren’t many Paul McCartneys left, and tastes are constantly diversifying”, Tord states.

Open your mind – and your mouth

The same recipe is employed by the increasing number of Norwegian food festivals, as they are constantly diversifying and specialising in the reborn interest in all that local food has to offer, all year round, all over Norway.

In the city of Haugesund, you will find The world’s longest herring table every year in August. In Hjelmeland, there is the Norwegian fruit and salmon festival every September, and Valdres is known for its quirky and beloved Norsk rakfiskfestival where they serve semifermented trout every November. The sur & bitter craft beer festival in Sandnes is the place to be for beer enthusiasts in September, and The klipfish (bacalao) festival dominates the city of Kristiansand in late June. The list of food festivals gets longer every year.

Foodies and music lovers finally have much in common when it comes to following their taste. Those who travel wherever their favourite chef or musician go on tour can make extensive round trips: “When huge artist names like Sting or Elton John come to Norway, it often happens that they go all over the country to give concerts”, Tord says.

So which festival experiences would Tord Litleskare recommend for people who are new to Norway?

“Start with a couple of days in the capital of Oslo to explore all new things that are happening, including some festivals. Then, jump on the train for a scenic voyage over the mountains to Fjord Norway and Bergen, to experience one of my favourite musical festivals, Bergenfest.”

Back in 2014, Bergenfest got a lot of attention and boost when they had managed to book Lana del Rey months ahead of her album release, that happened just two days before she took to the stage in Bergen.

“That made their reputation”, Tord says.

This season, the Gaffa editor-in-chief and his staff plan to cover at least 22 festivals.

“And when I’m off work, I admit that I keep spending my time going to festivals, sometimes simply because the destination seems cool.”

Start planning your festival round trip

Find more information about the festivals by clicking on the icons in the map.

Music festivals
Music Festival @ the Iddefjord, Bakke, Halden Read more
Bølgen Festival 2018
Music festival in Kristiansand, Southern Norway. Read more
Dark Season Music festival
One of central Norway's most important cultural events is the annual Elverum Music Festival (Festspillene i Elverum). During ten days in August… Read more
Elverum Music Festival
Fjellparkfestivalen (literal translation: The Mountain Park Festival) is the oldest continuous rock festival in Norway, and has been arranged every… Read more
Fjellparkfestivalen 2018 - Music festival
The Førde Traditional and World Music Festival is the largest festival for trad and world music in Scandinavia. Read more
Førde Traditional and World Music Festival
7–8 September, Grorudparken: Great concerts, lots of space and free entry Read more
Granittrock: Free rock festival
Many of the great composers have created some of their very best works in the chamber format. Throughout these years, the public in Stavanger has… Read more
International Chamber Music Festival
A real summer highlight many simply can not live without, and every July the small and charming village of Nordfjordeid get transformed into a… Read more
Malakoff Rock Festival
Experience Europe's oldest annual jazz festival Vibrant rhythms permeate every nook and cranny of Molde when thousands of visitors descend on the town… Read more
Molde International Jazz Festival
Månefestivalen offers you a different festival experience with the combination of music, art, performance and literature in beautiful… Read more
Månefestivalen 2018
International country music festival in Breim, in Gloppen.  Since the first festival in 1995 the festival has slowly but surely grown to become… Read more
Norwegian Country festival
Norway Rock Festival in Kvinesdal, Southern Norway is Norway's largest rock/metal festival. The festival is located between Stavanger… Read more
Norway Rock Festival in Kvinesdal
Three nights of wonderful culinary experiences, music and entertainment. There are three important things to know about the festival: It’s for… Read more
ONS festival
20–23 June, Grefsenkollen: Popular summer festival 377 metres above the city Read more
OverOslo music festival
Palmesus is Scandinavia's biggest beach party, attracting more than 20,000 people to the city beach of Kristiansand, Norway, over two sun-drenched… Read more
Palmesus 2018 - Scandinavias biggest beach party
The festival is a concept based on a combination of concerts and concomitant treatment of the music from these concerts in a studio environment, where… Read more
Punkt Festival
The Ranglerock Festival is an annual rock festival that takes place in the small town of Bryne, located on the west coast of Norway. Usually arranged… Read more
Ranglerock 2018
Rauma Rock is the biggest outdoor rock event in Central Norway. The festival offers a weekend of varied pop/rock music, featuring everything from… Read more
The Risør Chamber Music Festival is widely recognized nationally and internationally for its variety and quality of programs. Read more
Risør Kammermusikkfest - Chamber music festival
Sildajazz in Haugesund has become one of the two biggest jazz festivals in the country. The Tradjazz profile is clear, but most other styles are also… Read more
Southern Norway's most cozy music festival. Read more
Skral Festival
The worlds greatest blues artists have visited the festival in Skånevik. To see this years program, visit their web… Read more
Skånevik Blues Festival
<b>Slottsfjell</b> a rock- and popfestival at Slottsfjellet in Tønsberg. ID 18 years! Doors open from kl. 13:00 every… Read more
Slottsfjell 2018 Festivalpass
Southern Discomfort music festival will deliver hardrock and metal in Kristiansand. Read more
Southern Discomfort Metal Festival
Stavernfestivalen 12.-14.juli 2018 Read more
The Elverum Festival takes place, as in previous years, alongside the Nordic Hunting and Fishing Festival and the Elverum Music Festival. The big day… Read more
The Elverum Festival
A tribute to the Haugesund region. Western Norway's happiest music festival. 24th - 26th August.   Kvelertak Susanne Sundfør The Low… Read more
The Festival in Vangen
17–19 August: Free, multicultural festival for the whole family at Oslo's City Hall Square Read more
The Mela Festival
The Utkant Festival has been a popular music festival at Skjerjehamn in Gulen since 2007. The concerts are played only a few metres from the sealine,… Read more
The Utkant Festival
Tons of Rock Festival is becoming one of the most exiting festivals in Scandinavia, situated in one of the most spectacular sites in Europe. With a… Read more
Tons of Rock - Fredriksten fortress
The Treskofestival in Hovsherad celebrates 5 years! We celebrate with artist artists and surprises in the jubilee year. Tickets are cheaper in advance… Read more
Treskofestivalen 2018
A unique family festival by the sea at idyllic Tysnes! Big international names, a broad range of activities and teeming crowds. A festival campsite… Read more
Tysnesfest music festival 2018
The biggest music festival of the region in the heart of Stavanger city centre. A festival which follow the trends of young people, presenting some of… Read more
Utopia Festival 2018
Vikedal Roots Music Festival is this year from 14th to 16th of July 2017. The festival goes over 3 days and the program usually exists of 25-30… Read more
Vikedal Roots Music Festival
Vivid is an post-rock / post-metal festival held in Kristiansand, Norway. Read more
VIVID Post-rock festival
The Øya Festival takes place in Oslo 8-11 August 2018. Read more
Øya Festival
Food festivals
We celebrate that the apples are ripe at the horticultural museum. There will be free tastings, quiz, sale of apples and jam, and more. Free entrance! Read more
Apple Festival / Norwegian Museum of Horticulture
Major festival in the historic town of Brevik in honour of bacaalo - a traditional dish made with dried and salted cod.  Brevik seamen's… Read more
Bacalao festival
Norways largest beer festival with more than 40 Norwegian breweries gathered at the Bergenhus Fortress! Read more
Bergen Beer Festival
Welcome to Norway's biggest Local Food Festival! Meet the producers, buy high quality local products and get inspired by great food experiences! At… Read more
Bergen Matfestival - food festival
Welcome to "Den lille Madfesten" – a celebration of local food and drink – at the marketplace in Grimstad… Read more
Den lille Madfesten
It all started with a simple fishing contest and a dance party in "Grendahuset" a Saturday during the summer in 1980. People thrived and… Read more
Fish festival 2017 in Bessaker
Food and beer festival in Kristiansand. The guys behind the big sucess of Palemsus beachparty and the Kristiansand beerfestival have joined forces to… Read more
Food and beer festival "Duggfrisk" in Kristiansand
Scandinavia's biggest food festival!  Gladmat first appeared in the Matfylket Rogaland network, which saw the need to share some of what the… Read more
Gladmat 2018
Welcome to this food and agriculture festival in Hamar. A festival for the whole family with exhibitors that offers food, drink and activities for the… Read more
Midt i matfatet
The Norwegian Rakfisk Festival aims to focus on Norwegian food traditions, especially «rakfisk», which is semi-fermented trout. The festival draws… Read more
Norsk Rakfiskfestival
The Norwegian Fruit and Salmon Festival at Hjelmeland in Ryfylke. The festival focuses on the fruit and berry traditions, and salmon trade, of… Read more
Norwegian Fruit and Salmon Festival, Hjelmeland
Norwegian Salmon festival is a popular festival in Surnadal and there is several activities to join, like: Salmon fishing in the great Surna, fishing… Read more
Norwegian Salmon festival
Apotekergaarden invites you to Oktoberfest. Live music, good food and beer. Date: October 13th. TBA. Read more
Oktoberfest on Aptekergaarden
Welcome to the Oktoberfest in Stryn! As usual with the vorspiel on Friday afternoon/evening/night, and the big celebration all day Saturday with… Read more
Oktoberfest Stryn
The annual Shellfish Festival in Mandal, Norway's most southern town, is well worth a visit. Read more
Shellfishfestival in Mandal
Sola Smaksfest offers delicious taste from food producers in Sola.  22  stalls/ foodtrucks are selling dishes made of food produced in Sola.… Read more
Sola Smaksfest (taste fest)
Welcome to a festival for all who are interested in wine! September 28th - October 1st 2017 Stetten Wine Festival offers wine tasting and courses both… Read more
Stetten 2018
Sour & Bitter is a festival that has existed since 2016, and has since focused on yeast and hops driven beer that gives your taste buds something to… Read more
Sur & Bitter Craft Beer Festival
Every year the Klipfish Festival takes place in Kristiansund. Dancing and concerts, various competitions, and perhaps the highlight for those loving… Read more
The Klipfish Festival
Tomato Festival is a tradition of the cultural life in Finnøy. Tomatoes are an integral part of Finnøy’s economy, so of course… Read more
The tomato festival 2018
Members of the Cooks' Guild of Haugesund lay the longest herring table in the world. It stretches for two blocks down Haugesund's main street and over… Read more
The worlds longest Herring table
The Trout festival in Moi, South in Rogaland. For more information, please visit us: www.aurefestivalen.no Or Facebook. "Aurefestivalen" Read more
Trout festival
Trøndelag Food and Brewery Festival is Norway largest local food festival, featuring a wide range of food stalls, culinary courses and… Read more
Trøndelag Food and Brewery Festival 2-4 August
"VinHøst" is a small festival in Kristiansand where everyone can taste, enjoy and learn something about wine. The various restaurants… Read more
VinHøst - Wine festival in Kristiansand
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