These days every town in Norway with a sense of self esteem is hosting some kind of music festival within the very limited time frame of the Nordic summer.
Both June and July will see about sixty noteworthy festivals unfolding, (i.e. excluding the smallest and strangest), while August will see almost seventy.
This is seemingly excellent news for all parties:
Bands and artists can book extensive tours and make the summer their principal concert period, the culturally minded vacationer or tourist will not be short of input, for live music is resonating across the land throughout the summer, and the hot city dwellers will not be bored as all kinds of artists are coming to town..
Some are wondering, however, whether the demand for culture in the midst of sun and sea is not over-estimated, and that the number of festivals, which is still increasing, is not artificially high. Fairly big pop festivals only kilometres and days apart seem unsustainable in a thinly populated country where people are used to travelling to see their favourite acts. And even the influx of tourists cannot, one would think, create such a demand.
But for as long as it lasts one can now enjoy a diversity and intensity of festivals never before encountered in Norway. Both geographically and in terms of content the festivals are spreading out and reaching even the smallest of places.
Another aspect is the increasing specialisation: although some major festivals are broadening their profile; becoming simply (general) music festivals, the opposite is also true; that niche genres are getting their own festivals and that as spectator one can increasingly shop around for the specific style that is one’s own preference.
Some major festivals taking place in July are:
The Quart festival: 4th to 8th
Norway’s biggest pop festival, hosted by the southern city of Kristiansand.
International: Depeche Mode, Tool, Kanye West, Muse, Pharrell
Norwegian: Serena Maneesh, Mira Craig, Bonk, Grand Island, Lindstrøm, The Low Frequency in Stereo, Marit Larsen, Enslaved
Kongsberg jazz festival: 5th to 8th
International: Bill Frisell, Bobo Stenson Trio, Dianne Reeves, Fred Frith, Han Bennink, Lizz Wright,
Norwegian: Atomic, Bugge Wesseltoft, Hanne Hukkelberg, In The Country, POING, Supersilent, Wibutee
Førde international folk music festival: 6th to 9th.
Highlights: International: Coco Raizes de Arcoverde, Afoxe Loni, Valdir Santos (all from Brazil – this year’s focus country), other acts: Mozaik (IRL, US, NL), Joana Amendoeira (POR), Ellika & Solo (SWE/NOR/SEN), Naheddi (SEN), Andrew & Tigran (UK/ARM)
Norwegian: Karl Seglem, Cissokho System, Kvarts, Inga Juuso, Sinikka Langeland, Steinar Ofsdal:
Lofoten international chamber music festival: 11th to 16th
International: Jonathan Williams, Kari Kriikku, Leopold String Quartet, Albrech Mayer, Alexander Melnikov
Norwegian: Leif Ove Andsnes, Arve Engegård, Oslo String Quartet, Per Hannisdal
Molde international jazz festival: 17th to 22nd
International: Sting, Joshua Redman, Peter Brötzmann, Mats Gustafsson, Sonny Fortune/Rashied Ali, Jon Hassel, Take 6, McCoy Tyner Septet, Enrico Rava, Michael White 4tet
Norwegian: Jazzmob, Kings of Convenience, MoHa!, The Brazz Brothers, Wibutee, Elvira Nicolaisen, Humcrush, Ketil Møster Sextet, The Core
And in August:
Lost weekend (pop): Askøy (Bergen): 3rd to 5th
International: Cardigans, Zion Train, Beans, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Nephew
Norwegian: Animal Alpha, Dum Dum Boys, Magnet, Marit Larsen, Enslaved, JR Ewing, Hurra Torpedo, Serena Maneesh, Wibutee,
Notodden blues festival: 3rd to 6th
International: Gary Moore, Johnny Winter, The Jeff Healey Band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Canned Heat, David Lindley
Norwegian: Reidar Larsen, Good Time Charlie, Jørund Bøgeberg, Trond Ytterø Band
International Chamber Music Festival (Stavanger): 7th to 13th
International: Teemu Kupiainen, Josephine Knight, Quirine Viersen, Artur Pizarro, Pascal Moraguès, Alexander Toradze, Miranda von Kralingen,
Norwegian: Leif Ove Andsnes, Grieg Trio, Cikada String Quartet, Geir Inge Lotsberg, Per Arne Glorvigen, Eir Inderhaug, The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
Øyafestivalen (pop): Oslo: 9th to 12th
International: Beck, Amadou & Mariam, Morrissey, Mystery Jets, Snow Patrol, The Cramps, The Fall, The Knife,
Norwegian: 120 Days, Adjagas, Bonk, Darkside of the Force, Enslaved, Grand Island, Heroes & Zeros, Hurra Torpedo, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, Low Frequency in Stereo, Marit Larsen, Motorpsycho, My Midnight Creeps, Rumble in Rhodos, Susanna & the Magical Orchestra
Oslo jazz festival: 14th to 20th
International: Dörner/Wiik/Ljungkvist/Abrams/Taylor, Meshell Ndegeocello, Axel Dörner solo, Ed Thigpen Scantet, Marian Petrescu Trio, Five Corners Quintet, Stenson/Stanko Duo, Wess/Hyman/Stewart/May/Williams, Issac Delgado
Norwegian: Karin Krog, Bodil Niska, Hans Mathisen, Magnolia Jazzband, Atle Nymo/Ingebrigt H. Flaten/Håkon M. Johansen, Knut Riisnæs, Kornstad/Johnson/Opsvik/Miller (NOR/US), Arve Henriksen solo, Friko,
For a full overview of Norwegian festivals in 2006, check out this link.