Situated beautifully between green trees above the city with a beautiful view over the Oslo Fjord, Norway’s only electronic music festival Sommerøya charmed its guests with a selection of top artists in a varied program.
Friday was a bit grey, but once past the pretty thorough security, the mood instantly lifted. On the techno stage, Sebastian Mullaert delivered one of his incredible live performances with a truly fascinating setup. Again he showed how the melting of organic and mechanic sounds can bring out the utmost beautiful soundscapes and surprising combinations. The kind of on the spot jam set up is very unique and definitely puts the live into live set. Moving over to the main stage there was a full-on Oslo all stars b2b2b2b marathon, displaying the fun and challenges that come along when so many people with so different sounds come together. There was a really positive vibe to the whole crew, and you could see it was a “come togetherness” amongst family and friends.
Surgeon did not hold back and gave the audience a head-on live techno experience, his sound definitely standing out this day when closing off the techno stage. On the main stage, Henry Saiz with Band replaced Honey Dijon who was taken off the line up a week before. Although I personally was really looking forward to seeing her play, Henry Saiz did a magnificent show that quickly erased all sorrows, taking the audience on an intricate musical journey.
Saturday also started a bit cloudy, but it didn’t really matter because this day was packed with headliner candy. Although the drink and food lines were at times long, and the beer a bit expensive (hey, it’s Norway though), what was really nice to see was all the children in the company of their parents, all enjoying the music. Day two started with local DJs taking control over the stages, before Sommerøya’s own concept “Hardware Jam” took place. A cute way to let people bring different elements together in an experimental and (for the most part), successful jam session. You could witness the use of sampler, synths, drum machines and fx, and if you’re curious, the result is out on the festival pages.
Be Svendsen did what he does best, spell casting the audience with his shamanic and melodic tunes until the first sunbeams came out. Yours truly played on the techno stage at the same time as DJ Koze took over the main stage, so missed out on that one but had a lot of fun with the great sound system that perfectly grooved the sun out from behind the last clouds. After this it was just a frenzy of music, with the Norwegian duo KSMNSK taking over with their live infused techno set, really working the crowd warm for Brazil’s queen of techno, ANNA. Fierce as always she laid down pure techno that set the dance floor on fire. In the meantime Ukraine’s Nastia was working the main stage with her blend of grooves and acid-inspired sounds, giving her audience a fresh take on electronic music. These magnificent ladies let the evening chime out, and at around 11 pm people were on their way to the off parties in the clubs spread around Oslo.
This year’s Sommerøya was definitely a big mark in their book and a validation of their role as one of Norway’s if not even Northern Europe’s most important electronic music festivals. We can only hope they continue in their quest of bringing electronic music to the people and are already looking forward to seeing what next year brings.
Photo credit: Alexander Ramstad and Henrik Fjørtoft Sporsheim.