This week sees the commencement of the Norwegian festival summer. First of the majors is Oslo’s now traditional Norwegian Wood; the family festival which always manages to attract some of the happening big shots and established high rollers of rock. Norwegian wood is no indie event; this is solid, well proven rock.
This year the event, which starts on next Thursday (the 12th of June) can boast of names such as Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Alanis Morisette, Spiritualized and Norway’s own legends Madrugada.
Chronologically the next festival of the big ones is Hove, last year’s newcomer and the seeming winner of the clash between the southern coastline mammoths Hove and Quart. Last year the event well neigh rained away, still a lot of memorable concerts took place, for the booking was truly spectacular.
This year the roster is just as breathtaking, with a mix of contemporary legends and brand new stars that will constitute anyone’s dream of a musical summer party. Suffice it to mention Jay-Z, Beck, Babyshambles, The Raconteurs and Goldfrapp among the established ones, and super suave new stars like MGMT and Hercules and Love Affair.
Intertwined with the international names Hove also presents a very strong Norwegian presence: The National Bank, Kim Hiorthøi, Dimmu Borgir and Thom Hell are some well known ones, while new names of the year are Ingrid Olava, Silje Nes and Pirate Love.
Hove lasts from June 23rd to June 27th.
Next in line was supposed to be Hove’s twin, the former big brother of Norwegian festivals, Kristiansand’s Quart. But alas Quart has just announced that the festival has closed down. Even if not totally unexpected the announcement and its timing still came as a bit of a shock. Quart had managed to assemble quite a team of top names to ensure that 2008 would be the festival's revival, names like Kings of Leon, The Streets, Gnarls Barkley, The Hives, Kent, Death Cab for Cutie, Röyksopp and Dizzee Rascal. But it simply was not enough, or perhaps it was too late. Quart weren't selling tickets and there was no money to see it through.
With Quart gone there is only one big festival left on the summer south coast. Hove, inagurated last year and an immediate sucess, will now rule souvereign.
And then there is Oslo’s Øya; the festival that wraps up the summer and in many ways must be considered Norway’s favourite musical happening. It takes place smack in the middle of Oslo, from August 6th to 9th, in beautiful and ultra accessible surroundings. The weather is often beautiful, and with that tinge of late summer magic which August is all about. The booking has always been Øya’s strength and it’s definitely more “indie” than the other major festivals. This year Øya offers us: Mogwai, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Rós, Sunn O ))), Lykke Li and Nerd to mention a few of the international headliners. Among Norwegian acts, the most anticipated are perhaps Turbonegro (performing Apocalypse Dudes) and Supersilent with Niles Petter Molvær.
Last year it rained through the Norwegian summer, and the festivals and all the great music suffered form it. This year the summer is looking ever so much brighter and the soothsayers say it’ll last for months on end. With that in mind, there’s a good chance that one of the above mentioned events will turn out to be a musical memory for life. (Or all of them for that matter.)
See MICs festival listing HERE.