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: 5th to 9th
Norway’s biggest pop festival, hosted by the southern city of Kristiansand.
Highlights: International: Green Day, Foo Fighters, Snoop Dog, Audioslave
Norwegian: Thomas Dybdahl, Annie
Kongsberg jazz festival: 6th to 9th
Highlights: Chick Corea, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jamie Cullum, Madeleine Peyroux
Førde international folk music festival: 7th to 10th.
Highlights: International: Alim Qasimov (Azerbadjan), Okna Tsahan Zam (Kalmykia)
Norwegian: Annbjørg Lien, Unni Løvlid
Lofoten international chamber music festival: 12th to 17th
Highlights: International: Stephan Genz, Xenia Jancovic
Norwegian: Arve Tellefsen
Molde international jazz festival: 18th to 23rd
Highlights: International: Charlie Haden, Timbuktu
Norwegian: Arild Andersen, Ralph Meyerz and the Jack Herren band
And in August:
Lost weekend (pop): Askøy (Bergen): 4th to 6th
Highlights: International: The Ark
Norwegian: Xploding Plastix, Madrugada
Notodden blues festival: 4th to 7th
Highlights: International: Solomon Burke, Delbert McClinton
Norwegian: Knut Buen, Kåre Virud Band
Elverum international music festival: 4th to 14th
Highlights: Brass Brothers, Håkan Hardenberger
Sildajazz in Haugesund: 10th to 14th
Highlights: Al Jarreau, Richard Galliano/ Jan Lundgren Trio
Øyafestivalen (pop): Oslo: 10th to 13th
Highlights: International: Dinosaur Jr., Franz Ferdinand, Hot Hot Heat
Norwegian: Kings of Convenience, Magnet
Oslo jazz festival: 15th to 21st
Highlights: Bugge Wesseltoft New Conception of Jazz, Lill Lindfors/Hector Biugert, Lee Konitz