One little country is starting to put itself on the map of electronic music happenings. Norway has seen a steady growth in club events and festivals including every genre from psy-trance, disco, deep and tech house to techno. Thanks to its persistent groups of hard working and through and through music loving organizers and collectives there has been a wide spread of bigger and smaller events, all characterized by top notch bookings, decorations, and dedication. Although the price segment for beer is rather visitor unfriendly, the people of Norway make up for it with music and scenery, and the past years we have seen smaller festivals such as Sehr Schøn or Midnight Sun take place in astonishing surroundings, and meanwhile world known clubs such as Jaeger and The Villa keeping a steady stream of major acts combined with passionate locals playing for enthusiastic crowds.
This weekend is no different as one of the leading festivals of club music, Sommerøya is set to open its gates. Their program includes a variety of activities in addition to a solid line up, and the whole festival surrounds the important debate on electronic music’s place in the Norwegian society and the recognition of the music as part of a wider understanding of culture. Although there has been a rise in awareness around this subject in many countries over the last years, electronic music still seems to be the underdog in terms of getting recognised as a culture by official instances in Norway. Again, this was made clear for instance through the cultural ministry denying Sommerøya financial support for the eighth year in a row (shame on you, Kulturrådet). Considering the lack of official support it is astonishing to see the festival grow from year to year, constantly expanding their focus and musical range while strictly maintaining their “no EDM” policy.
In addition, the festival includes contemporary arts and installations, a movie screening of the award winning Norwegian electronic music documentary, ‘Northern Disco Lights’ and of course its very impressive line-up Friday and Saturday. Friday the festival kicks off with none other than number one live act from Bulgaria, Kink the master of synths himself hailing from Germany, Stephan Bodzin and some of Norway’s biggest artists, Finnebassen, and Ost & Kjex who you can usually find in clubs and festivals around the globe when not playing in Norway. Continuing on Saturday they have brought the legend, DJ Hell to the indoor floor, whilst Per Hammar, Anja Schneider and the definition of techno himself, Rødhåd take care of the outdoor stage together with many others. All in all, everything seems set for a proper two-day festival filled with music, art, and happy dancers. If you haven’t got this festival in your calendar for this year now is the time to follow them and see what they come up with in 2018.