Nordic Festival Guide 2015
It’s hard not to be inspired to visit the Nordic countries. A world apart, the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark evoke images of vast fjords, sprawling fir forests, and the ethereal Arctic Circle, home to polar bears and relentless dark winters often lit up by the breath-taking northern lights. Nordic capitals such as Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Finland’s Helsinki and Iceland’s Reykjavik ooze their own special brand of eclectic charm found nowhere else in the world. These days, in popular culture, Scandinavia is also tied to its cult crime fiction and noir thriller scene; with TV series’ like The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen growing an international following.
It’s a vast region ripe for exploration – and what better way to frame the scenery and capture the essence of the Nordic regions than through our pick of its finest festivals and events scheduled throughout the year?
For your Nordic calendar:
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
When: Every Friday night
Stay at: Copenhagen City
This isn’t a festival as such, so we’re cheating a bit, but we do think it’s a great introduction to the emerging local and international music scene in Copenhagen. ‘Friday Rock’ is a weekly event held in the Tivoli Gardens, staging exciting acts such as MØ, a forward-thinking Copenhagen native edging onto the international electro-pop circuit; fellow Danish dream rocker Mads Björn; and Norwegian Indie band Highasakite.
Secret Solstice – Midnight Sun Music Festival
Where: Valley Laugardalur – Reykjavik, Iceland
When: 19th – 21st June
Website: grab a ticket here
Stay at: Reykjavik Downtown hostel
The Midnight Sun music festival is one of the only summer events where you can party through three whole days, with the sun never completely setting. With the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Kelis, FKA Twigs and Skream as your midsummer soundtrack, an on-site geothermal pool – and many more besides, awe-inspiring natural beauty and the chance to hang out with iconic artist and local, Björk, you won’t find time for a nap.
Helsinki Day (Helsinki’s birthday)
Where: Helsinki, Finland
When: June 12th
Stay at: Helsinki – Hostel Erottajanpuisto
Happy birthday Helsinki! Celebrate the city’s anniversary in style with a bunch of free, fun events: watch the city burst into flower, on land and on sea. Celebrated since 1959, keep an eye on the website for updates to the events programme details to plan your trip.
Where: Turku, Finland
When: 25th – 28th June
Stay at: Turku – Laivahostel Borea
Get ready for three days of revelry, peasantry and nobility in the Great Square of Finland’s lovely, historical city of Turku. This annual historical re-enactment is a lively knees-up of improvised theatre (involving bystanders!), handicrafts, and entertaining activities – like being put in the stocks. Overall, expect the genuinely bizarre feeling that you’ve stepped straight back in time.
Where: Gothenburg, Sweden
Stay at: Göteborg-Stigbergsliden
Located fittingly in Sweden’s metal capital, Gothenburg, expect two days of shredding mayhem, with previous years hosting names such as Slipknot, Korn, and a number of Sweden metal greats to shake the city’s foundations. Göteborg (Gothenburg) is a creative city brimming with ideas, home to Sweden’s theme park heavyweight, Liseberg, and packed full of hip, gritty cafes and lavish architecture.
Midsummer Night Celebration
Where: in Norway, everywhere
When: 23rd June
Stay at: Hostels in Norway
Celebrations, raucous and jovial, ensue in all kinds of ways throughout Norway on June 23rd, when they celebrate the summer solstice. Expect 24-hour parties, magic, fire and mayhem. In North Cape, or Nordkapp, you can witness the phenomenon of the midnight sun round-the-clock from May until the beginning of July. This makes for all kinds of opportunities aside from partying – like playing a round of golf, reading and feeling temporally disorientated.
Where: Træna, Norway
When: 10th – 12th July
Stay at: Bodø hostel
Is it possible to overdose on beauty? Located on a tiny island right in the Arctic Circle, 33 miles west of mainland Norway, Trænafestivalen has been going on since 2003 and is one for seekers of the remote – the borough only has 500 inhabitants. These guys suggest flying into Bodø, where you can spend a night at our hostel before catching a boat over into the awe-inspiring abyss. Oh, and the music isn’t bad too; Ida Maria is among a handful of names you may recognise, but this is really about extending your musical repertoire and being at a festival on the top of the world.
Heading to an exciting festival this summer or next year? We’d love to hear from you: