Norwegian festival summer

It has been said that every little Norwegian town and village has its own festival. From this plethora of events, MIC picks out the most central festivals.

Quart crowd last year (photo: www.quart.no)

Quart
The Quart Festival which is held in the south-western town of Kristiansand is arguably Norway’s biggest festival. Last year’s attendance was in the excess of app. 60 000 and the event is still growing. Blessed with stable and sunny weather and an idyllic setting, the festival can be hard to fault if you’re in for a mix of the biggest international acts, up-and-coming Norwegian bands, outdoor venues, club gigs and a variety of genres that stretch from rock and metal to rn’b, electronica and hip-hop. The festival’s headliners are a well-balanced mix of international and Norwegian acts, and the large shows on the biggest stages are complemented by more intimate gigs on smaller stages and in vibrant clubs down-town.

This year’s headliners include Cardigans, Interpol, Coldplay, Rapture, Flaming Lips, Eve, Massive Attack, Queens Of The Sone Age, Tomahawk, Zwan as well as major Norwegian acts Röyksopp, Turbonegro, Thomas Dybdahl, Surferosa, Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band and St. Thomas.

The festival runs from July 2. to 7.

Further info (in English) on directions can be found here.

Kongsberg Jazz Festival
One of the country’s oldest festivals – inaugurated in 1965. Despite its age, the festival is as vital as ever with a profile that spans from free improv, mainstream jazz, electronica to rock and ethnic/world/crossover music. Fresh blood is tickling through the administration’s veins in the form of Martin Revheim - former head of renowned Oslo club Blå (one of the Wire Magazine’s favourite venues and hailed as one among the world’s 50 best clubs by Down Beat). Some outdoor concerts, but the majority of the acts play intimate club gigs.

Revheim has brought with him his eclectic and forward-thinking booking philosophy to the mid-sized town of Kongsberg and its respected jazz festival. This year’s programme is centred on jazz’s current first lady; Diana Krall. Krall is matched by a long list of strong acts and performers: Brazz Bros, Vidar Busk/Knut Reiersrud, Come Shine, Gåte, Jaga Jazzist, Joe Lovano, Kim Hiorthøy, Sidsel Endresen/Bugge Wesseltoft, Urban Connection and Maja Ratkje.

The Kongsberg Jazz Festival runs from July 2. to 5.

More info in English can be found here.

Øya-Festivalen
Despite being one of the youngest of the major festivals, the Øya Festival is steadily growing. Set in an idyllic setting in the Medieval Park on Oslo’s East Side, the festival has quickly established itself as a key venue for Norwegian bands, both major acts as well as up-and-coming ones. The focus is primarily on Norwegian bands with a few well-selected international acts blended in. Club concerts at vibrant venues such as Mono and So What complement the three outdoor stages in Oslo’s Medieval Park.

This year’s line-up is one of the strongest ever and includes acts Amulet, Calexico, Cato Salsa Experience, Ephemera, Jaga Jazzist, Mogwai, Nils Petter Molvær, Ricochets, Röyksopp, Thomas Dybdahl, Turbonegro, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Supersilent and Sleater Kinney.

The Øya Festival runs from August 7-9.

More info here.

Molde International Jazz Festival
Norway’s biggest jazz festival and a key event in a European context. Since its birth in 1961, Molde has supplied a broad spectrum of genres and performers to a growing audience. The roster includes a wide variety of genres, not just jazz. In the idyllic, mid-sized town of Molde on the north-western coast of Norway, one can experience rock bands playing in a venue next to a free jazz collective supporting key world/ethnic music performers. The majority of the concerts take place in the many club venues or in one the bigger halls – there’s also the occasional outdoor show as well as the compulsory opening parade. The setting is beautiful; mountains meet the sea – the performers meet a vibrant audience.

This year’s artist in residence is none other than saxophone giant Michael Brecker who is set to jam with Norwegian acts Farmers Market and Urban Connection. Other bands and performers include Ibrahim Ferrer, Dadafon, Dave Holland Big Band, Dianne Reeves, Kaizers Orchestra, Madrugada, Jon Balke, Ytre Suløen, Bertine Zetlitz, Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band, Supersilent and legendary rock-veterans Dum Dum Boys.

The Molde Jazz Festival runs from July 14-19

More info in English can be found here.

Førde Folk Music Festival
Norway’s key folk/ethnic/world/crossover festival. This year’s festival theme is European Voices and performers from 17 European countries are set to perform in the idyllic town of Førde which is located in west-Norway. In addition to the European performers one can experience global sounds from among other countries Burkina Faso, Argentina, Madagascar, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Highlights? Try Gustavo Gancedo Tango Septeto from Argentina, Senge from Madagascar, Sri Lankans Thaa Drum Orchestra or Majorstuen from Norway. The programme is rich and extensive and has something to offer to most tastes.

The Førde Folk Music Festival runs from July 3-6

More info here.

International Chamber Music Festival Stavanger
The International Chamber Music Festival in west-coast town Stavanger is one of the leading Scandinavian chamber music events. With assistance from artistic director, world-wide acclaimed cellist Truls Mørk, the festival manages to bring together the established greats with the up-and-coming. Inspiring surroundings, vital performers, great acoustics and night after night with lasting musical memories – the ICMF is hard to beat.

This year’s programme includes performances by such respected instrumentalists as pianists Piotr Anderszcevski and Stephen Kovacevich, violinists Philippe Graffin and Henning Kraggerud, cellists Colin Carr and Truls Mørk as well as ensembles Phantasm Quartet, Rosamunde Quartet, Kremerata Baltika and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra to name but a few of the acclaimed names on the ICMF roster.

The International Chamber Music Festival Stavanger runs from August 16-24.

More info here.

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