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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.

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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.

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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
Two intense weeks with over 200 events in the fields of music, ballet, opera, theatre, dance and the performing arts. Read more
Bergen International Festival
It is a charming and unique jazz festival in many ways. Arranged from June 27th to June 29th 2019. Date for 2020 is not yet set. Read more
Mandaljazz 2020
Palmesus at Kristiansand city beach is Scandinavia's biggest beach party. Read more
Palmesus 2020 - Scandinavias biggest beach party
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
SILDAJAZZ
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 BLUESFESTIVAL
Vivid is an post-rock / post-metal festival held in Kristiansand, Norway. Read more
VIVID Post-rock festival
Food festivals
Food and brewery festival with entertainment at the city square in Kristiansand. Read more
Sørlandets matfestival - Food festival in Kristiansand
12 of the the city's best restaurants arrange this festival together with some of Europe's best wine makers, fantastic… Read more
Stavanger Wine Festival
The annual Shellfish Festival in Mandal, Norway's most southern town, is well worth a visit. Read more
Shellfishfestival in Mandal
"Mersmak" food festival. The food-festival "Mersmak" in Skien is a public festival with new flavors, variety of exciting products, experiences and… Read more
Foodfestival Mersmak in Skien
Crab festival on the charming island of Atløy Read more
Crab festival on Atløy
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