Sommerfesten – The first Norwegian festival

So, Norwegian summers are awesome.

There’s just something so unique about them. The stark contrast between shitty freezing winters and 27 degree sunshine in the space of three months is staggering. Unfortunately, summer is now rapidly vanishing right before my eyes, so I figure it’s time for an update.

I find writing posts pretty damn hard. For weeks upon weeks I internally debate, what do people want to read? My first draft read like a 14 year old’s school report entitled “What I did during my summer vacation”, and it was just pure garbage. It didn’t really focus on anything specific. In fact, my initial plan was to dedicate 30% of the blog post to Norway’s road and tunnel systems.

Riveting stuff right?

So instead I figure, write about experiences. So this first post is all about my experiences with Norwegian festivals.

Ålesund and Sommerfesten

I think it is worth noting, music festivals are not my thing.

Afraid of sounding like a bit of a twat, sitting in a muddy field for three days, hungover and stinking of something horrendous isn’t the most appealing way to spend time. Having lived in Reading for about two years, I’ve come to witness first hand the dramatic effects festivals have on festival goers. What starts off as fresh faced, bandanna wearing teenagers ends up looking like shell shocked war veterans, strewn across train stations and car parks, fantasizing about warm showers and soft beds. It just never appealed to me.

But I do quite like music. So when the opportunity arose to spend a weekend in Ålesund (by far my favourite place), hanging out with friends and watching some bands I’ve been dying to see, I guess I was going to become a festival person.

Go check out Sommerfesten på Giske on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Sommerfesten

Sure, some may argue Sommerfesten is not a real festival. To the die hard festival goer, a one day event with no tents maybe doesn’t constitute as a real festival. But it’s my first time okay? Go easy on me.

At Giske

One of the major attractions to Sommerfesten, at least to me, was the lineup. Acts such as Cezinando, Hjerteslag, Kristian Kristensen and Bendik have featured on my playlist a fair amount, so having them all in one place felt like a great opportunity. Sure it’s not the biggest festival so it doesn’t attract a lot of talent outside of Scandinavia, but it’s still something great to witness.

I arrived at Ålesund the day before, and after passing out from the long commute, the day of Sommerfesten arrived. Designating myself the sober driver, it’s customary to start of the day drinking at someones house, getting suitably drunk for the festivities ahead. Unfortunately for me, this buzz acquisition party ultimately rolled on to the early evening, so the first two artists I wanted to see had already been and gone. Never mind Bendik and Kristian, I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.

20 minutes, 200kr and one interesting bus journey later, I was here.  Although looking at the weather, you could be forgiven to think that summer had yet to show itself in the west. Looming rain clouds and 15 degrees weather according to one friend is just “average summer weather” for the west. Wasting no further time, it was time to scout out Hjerteslag.

Hard to describe Hjersteslag really. I guess I’ll totally just rip off their wikipedia entry by saying they’re a Norwegian band from Bergen. Doesn’t really do them any justice though. Give them a listen instead.

Being the complete festival novice, I elected to stand away from the scary Norwegians. There were probably way more hardcore fans than me anyway, so it didn’t feel right to take their place. Especially with the potential for blundering lyrics and making a fool of myself. Yep, the back was where I belonged.

Despite this, the sheer energy and stage presence Hjerteslag give off could lead anyone to believe they were in the front row. I imagine it’s the kind of band which is best experienced in a small, personal venue, but it was still awesome regardless!

Cezinando

After Hjerteslag, there was only one other act that appealed to me. I’ve mentioned him in my previous entry, found here. Cezinando, a rapper from Oslo has been hitting charts across Norway recently with “Håper du har plass”, so it was surprising to see he was also given the smaller stage.

Cezinando – Credit: Jonathan Vivaas Kise – www.jonathanvk.com

Trying not to repeat myself here, but his stage presence and energy were also truly awesome. The level of crowd engagement from the very start until he closed with “håper du har plass” is something that must require some serious skill or practice. The only gripe throughout his set was the length. For the amount of popularity and hype that surrounds this guy, it was a surprise to see such a short amount of time allocated to him. Maybe next year.

That’s that.

Thus ended my Sommerfest experience. Yeah, it kinda sucked that I only got to see two of the four artists I set out to see. But the experience alone assured me that, there’s a lot of fun to be found in these kind of activities. This information comes in especially useful in another installment of my blog, which I’m sure i’ll get around to writing at some point.

 

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