The festivals in Scandinavia are epic. It’s a region known for being cool, in every way possible. Take a trip to Scandinavia for your festival fix and you can expect the greatest line ups, a touch of class, and yes, an expensive pint, BUT, they’re totally worth it.
Scandinavia is only a few hours flight away from England. Each country is beautifully unique and there’s a whole calendar full of festivals that you can tick off the list.
Let’s start with the biggest Scandinavian festival of them all…
The Best Music Festivals in Scandinavia
1. Roskilde Festival, Denmark
As one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, naturally this Danish delight pulls in some of the best names in music. From the likes of Blink 182 to Rihanna, there’s a real variety over the 8 days in Roskilde along with a whole vibe of happiness. This comes from the group games, the co-creation of a ‘dream’ campsite and most possibly the prospect of the annual naked run. All profits also go to charity so you can party for poverty.
Roskilde is usually the weekend of Glastonbury, otherwise I would totally go this year.
2. Smukfest, Denmark
Just 3 hours away from the Roskilde site you’ll find the forest of Skanderborg. Go on the 9th of August. Voted as Denmark’s ‘most beautiful festival’, it combines the best of Danish music with international acts like Avici, Tom Jones and Fat Boy Slim along with pretty lakeside views.
3. Tuska Open Air, Finland
In Finland, ‘Tuska’ translates to ‘pain’ or ‘agony’, but if you’re into heavy rock and metal you’ll feel anything but at this Helsinki hotspot. In an abandoned power plant, it’s a 4-day event at the end of June. 2017 is a special one because it marks 20 years of Tuska greatness. Go celebrate.
4. Bergenfest, Norway
This small and dreamy Norwegian town doesn’t look like it could host one of Europe’s leading music events but, come 14 June, crowds flock to the fortress for 3 days of music. What started out as a bluesy event has since spiralled into one of musical diversity but remains small with only around 7000 tickets up for grabs.
5. Bravalla, Sweden
Camp, eat, dance, repeat. That’s pretty much the agenda at this Swedish festival. Travel to Bråvalla Flygfält on the 28th of June for 4 days of top acts – last year it was Mumford & Sons, Tenacious D and Wiz Khalifa.
6. Øya Festival, Norway
Four stages, loads of big names and four club nights – Øya Festival in Oslo kicks off on the 8th of August with Lana del Rey as the headlining act. There’ll be more international performances to look forward to, but you’ll also catch local Norwegian acts performing across the 30 participating venues. Might want to learn a few words of Norwegian before you go…
7. Iceland Airwaves, Iceland
Once housed in a Reykjavik airport hangar, this daddy of a fest is now Iceland’s biggest music event sprawling across the city’s churches, music shops and museums. I REALLY want to go. Each November new acts and headliners flock to the capital for Iceland Airwaves and with authentic Icelandic food, thermal baths and whale watching to accompany the good music, it’s a must.
8. Malmöfestivalen, Sweden
A golden oldie, Malmöfestivalen has been going strong since 1985 and pulls in over 1.4 million people each year. Travel to the Swedish city of Malmö for the 12th of August and you can take part in week-long series of events including concerts, exhibitions, street performances and food stalls. Most of the activities also come in at zero cost so it’s definitely the Scandinavian festival for you if you’re on a backpacker’s budget.
9. Distortion, Denmark
Calling itself a ‘party tsunami’, Distortion rides over five days from May 31st kicking off with street parties and building up to a Distortion club night before it all washes up at Copenhagen’s harbour for an intense 2-day rave. You’ll get all kinds of music here, and some awesome locations too. See the city’s street life up close and experience Copenhagen’s club culture too.
10. Way Out West, Sweden
One for the more civilised among us, crowd-surfing is forbidden, recycling is big and you can only drink your alcohol in designated areas at this Swedish festival. It may sound more like school than cool, but Way Out West proves that being good can be great as they bring in 100 artists and 25 films to Gothenberg’s Slottskogen Park.
11. Flow Festival, Finland
Power plants seem to be a popular festival venue in Helsinki because Flow festival is based out of one too. Developed with the University of Helsinki, the space is reworked between the 14th and 16th of August to feature creative art installations, pop-up restaurants and a stellar mix of musical talent. Sounds awesome!
12. Secret Solstice
If the sun doesn’t go down then you don’t either. That’s kind of the way it works at Reykjavik’s June festival, Secret Solstice, where heavy house, urban, indie and techno provide an unparalleled 3-day music line up. Think glacier hang-outs, lagoon dance-offs and midnight cruises with the likes of The Foo Fighters and The Prodigy headlining for 2017.
Which Scandinavian Festival do you think sounds best?