The ultimate festival guide to Scandinavia

Categories: DenmarkFaroe IslandsFeaturesFinlandIcelandLiveNorwaySweden

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Roskilde Festival - Photo by Thorbjørn Hansen/RockPhoto

UPDATED February 26, 2014: Considering Scandinavia’s size, especially in terms of population, it’s rather amazing how many festivals the region offers throughout the year. It’s in fact so amazing that we’ve decided not to try and keep up with them as they announce new artists. Instead we have compiled this list of the main Scandinavian festivals – plus a Swiss, a Dutch and an English festival dedicated to Scandinavian music and culture – and will then leave it up to you to keep track.

This latest update include new festivals, making it a bit more ultimate, while a couple of defunct festivals have been deleted, but if you find we’re missing relevant festivals please don’t hesitate to contact us with links and info.

Anyway: BOOKMARK THIS – and share it with your friends. Thus we leave you to plan your festival year in Scandinavia. See you out there!

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DENMARK:

FROST Festival – FEBRUARY
A festival taking place at various classic and unusual venues around Copenhagen, among the latter a strip club, a church and a theater. No camping.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: frostfestival.dk

Fredagsrock in Tivoli – APRIL-SEPTEMBER
Although not a festival as such we still think you should know about Fredagsrock (Friday Rock) in Tivoli, Copenhagen. Every Friday night throughout the season the garden offer free concerts on the outdoor main stage sporting a strong lineup of national and international acts.
Capacity: 35.000+
WWW: fredagsrock.dk

Offspring – APRIL
A two-day festival taking place in Tivoli and presenting the stars of tomorrow. No camping.
Capacity: 35.000+
WWW: tivoli.dk

CLICK Festival – MAY
CLICK Festival in Elsinore north of Copenhagen (that’s where Hamlet did his thing) focuses on new media art extraordinary concert events as well as workshops, exhibitions and lectures.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: clickfestival.dk

Nordic Noise Festival – MAY
A two-day festival taking place in Pumpehuset and all about rock in both classic and alternative robes. No camping.
Capacity: 700 (approximately)
WWW: nordicnoise.dk

Heavy Days In Doom Town – MAY
A “DIY celebration of all things slow and heavy” this festival dedicated to sub genres sludge, doom and psych among others takes place at various venues around Copenhagen. No camping.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: heavydaysindoomtown.com

SPOT Festival – MAY
Two days with 100+ Scandinavian bands and a few international acts in the second city of Denmark. A place for international guests to discover the next big things. No camping.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: spotfestival.dk

Day Of Decay – MAY
A day of metal mayhem in Denmark’s fourth largest city, Aalborg.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: dayofdecay.dk

Pop Revo – MAY
Launched in 2004 this festival in Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, celebrates musical diversity in the cool venue Voxhall.
Capacity: 700/night
WWW: poprevo.dk

Öresundsfestival – MAY
A festival created and curated by venues and bookers in Copenhagen and Malmö, Sweden, aimed at strengthening musical collaborations between Sweden and Denmark as well as presenting the best music both countries have to offer.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: oresundsfestival.com

Start! Festival – MAY
Formerly Vesterbro Festival this is three days with 100+ Danish upcoming bands and DJ’s at the very heart of Copenhagen. No camping, so you’ll need to sort out accommodation. A place to discover the next big things.
Capacity: 30.000
WWW: vesterbrofestival.dk

Copenhagen Carnival – MAY
It is a carnival inspired by Rio, but over the years Copenhagen Carnival has also evolved in to a festival for world music sporting seven different stages in Copenhagen’s biggest park, Fælledparken.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: cphcarnival.com

Distortion – MAY
A Celebration of Copenhagen Nightlife, Distortion is a massive, mobile block party moving around Copenhagen over five days. The focus is on club culture, upfront dance music, street life, contemporary and social art.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue/Street parties N/A
WWW: cphdistortion.dk

Apple Flower Festival – MAY
A small festival on the island Lilleø celebrating the blooming of the fruit trees and curated by Kenneth Bager and the chef Claus Meyer.
Capacity: 450
WWW: appleflowerfestival.dk

KLANG Festival – MAY/JUNE
This Copenhagen festival, KLANG, focusses on new avantgarde music, both classical and electronic.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: klang.dk

Skive Festival – JUNE
Four-day festival in the western part of Jutland, aiming at younger crowds and with increasingly ambitious scheduling. Formerly known as Skive Beach Party.
Capacity: 25.000
WWW: skivefestival.dk

Northside Festival – JUNE
Launched in 2010, the ambitious Northside Festival takes place in Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus.
Capacity: 15.000
WWW: northside.dk

Copenhell – JUNE
As the name kinda implies this festival in the Danish capital Copenhagen offers two days of metal mayhem.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: copenhell.dk

Roskilde Festival – JULY
The Danish festival flagship and along with Provinssirock in Finland the biggest of its sort in Northern Europe, each year sporting an impressive range of acts and supporting different humanitarian organizations.
Capacity: 75.000
WWW: roskilde-festival.dk

Copenhagen Jazz Festival – JULY
As the name implies a week of jazz in the Danish capital. One of the best weeks to lay your vacation in Copenhagen as the city is buzzing with music everywhere, from traditional jazz to electronica. Many free concerts.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: jazzfestival.dk

Uhørt – AUGUST
Three stages and two days of brand new bands on Refshaleøen in Copenhagen.
Capacity: 2000
WWW: uhoert.dk

Vanguard Music Festival – AUGUST
Inspired by the Finnish Pori Jazz Festival, Vanguard Music Festival launched in 2013 and is centered around good music and picnic in the beautiful Søndermarken park in Copenhagen.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: vanguard-festival.com

Scandinavia Reggae Festival – AUGUST
This two-day festival on Refshaleøen in Copenhagen has the goal to unite the Scandinavian reggae scene as well as presenting big international stars.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: scandinaviareggaefestival.com

Skanderborg Festival – AUGUST
Also named Denmark’s Most Beautiful Festival as it’s situated in a, well, beautiful forest just outside the city of Skanderborg in Jutland. Audience average age is a little higher than, say, on Roskilde Festival and the musical focus is on well-known and popular national and international acts.
Capacity: 30.000
WWW: smukfest.dk

STRØM – AUGUST
Another festival focusing on electronic music and using the city as playground, STRØM (“electricity”) takes place in everything from cinemas, churches, metro trains and public spaces to clubs and more regular venues as well as two main stages in the Vesterbro area of Copenhagen.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: stromcph.dk

Wonderfestiwall – AUGUST
On the small, beautiful island of Bornholm a group of young people got together back in 2008 to create a cultural event aimed at young (and young at heart) people. The result was Wonderfestiwall, situated in picturesque surroundings by the impressive medieval fortress, Hammershus.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: wonderfestiwall.dk

Gutter Island Festival – AUGUST
Small festival dedicated to garage, punk and other such incarnations of rock situated at Masnedø Fort in the city of Vordingborg. Takes place every two years (even years).
Capacity: 600
WWW: gutter-island.dk

Made In Esbjerg – AUGUST
As the name suggests this is a festival with a focus on the local music scene in Esbjerg in the far west of Denmark.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: madeinesbjerg.dk

Kill-Town Death Fest – AUGUST
Four-day DIY festival in Copenhagen and a celebration of the current underground death metal scene.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: killtowndeathfest.dk

Trailerpark Festival – AUGUST
A four day festival in Copenhagen, organized by ArtRebels – a collective of artists, musicians, designers, film makers, cultural activists, web designers, event makers and other creative souls – Trailerpark Festival combine music and art in a glorious cocktail of impressions.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: trailerparkfestival.com

Karrusel – SEPTEMBER
Taking its lead from Distortion in Copenhagen this is a three day urban festival in Denmark’s third biggest city, Odense. No camping.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: karrusel.dk

Scandinavian Soul Festival – SEPTEMBER
A festival celebrating the new wave of Scandinavian soul at Horsens Ny Teater with bands as well as workshops and debates.
Capacity: 700 (approximately)
WWW: scandinaviansoul.com

Wundergrund – OCTOBER
A week long festival in Copenhagen exploring experimental music and arts.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: wundergrund.dk

Frederikshavn Bluesfestival – NOVEMBER
As the name implies this festival in Frederikshavn in Northern Jutland is all about the blues.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: bluesfestivalen.dk

RECession Festival – NOVEMBER
Taking place in Aarhus this venue festival presents non-mainstream music.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: recession.dk

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NORWAY:

by:Larm – FEBRUARY
The Norwegian equivalent to SPOT, SxSW etc, by:Larm offer four days of music, seminars and more in downtown Oslo. No camping.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: bylarm.no

Norwegian Wood – JUNE
Named after The Beatles song this small festival in Oslo books a few heavy international acts while also having part of the program dedicated to new Norwegian rock.
Capacity: 8000/day
WWW: norwegianwood.no

Gjendebufestivalen – JUNE
Way out in Jotunheimen in Norway, where there are no roads and no wifi or cellphone coverage this small rock festival launched in 2013.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: gjendebu.com

KOMA Festival – JUNE
A new festival in Oslo dedicated to industrial, noise and EBM.
Capacity: 1111
WWW: komaf.net

Match&Fuse Norway – JUNE
Three free days of alternative and experimental music in Oslo.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: matchandfuse.no

Varna Festival – JULY
Launched in 2013 Varna Festival in Moss south of Norway’s capital, Oslo, is two days of mainly Norwegian music covering everything from singer/songwriters and rock to hip hop and electronica.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: varnafestival.no

Hove Festival – JULY
Norway’s biggest rock festival and one of the many Scandinavian festivals sporting an environmentally friendly profile.
Capacity: 70.000
WWW: hovefestival.com

Kongsberg Jazz Festival – JULY
Clue is in the title: Kongsberg Jazz Festival is dedicated to – tadaaaa! – jazz…
Capacity: N/A
WWW: kongsberg-jazzfestival.no

Trænafestivalen – JULY
Right on the arctic circle, 33 nautical miles east of mainland Norway, you find one of the country’s smallest boroughs with only 500 inhabitants, where this festival has been going down since 2003.
Capacity: 2000
WWW: trena.net

Molde Jazz – JULY
Molde’s International Jazz Festival has been going down since 1961 and is today a renowned festival sharing musical profile with her sister in Copenhagen as you’ll also find other genres than jazz represented.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: moldejazz.no

Slottsfjell Festival – JULY
Located in downtown Tønsberg, Slottsfjell Festival offer live music in Norway’s most spectacular festival arena.
Capacity: 40.000
WWW: slottsfjellfestival.no

Bukta – JULY
Also known as Tromsø Open Air Festival and sporting a classic, variated lineup.
Capacity: 6000/day
WWW: bukta.no

KanalRock – AUGUST
Small festival in Horten, approximately 15 kilometers from Oslo, dedicated to punk and with 20+ years on its back.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: kanalrock.no

Øya Festival – AUGUST
Small and really nice four stage festival in downtown Oslo, kicking off with a massive club night the day before the festival with concerts on 30 venues within walking distance of each other.
Capacity: 10.000
WWW: oyafestivalen.com

Oslo Jazz Festival – AUGUST
Another jazz festival set in a capital, Oslo Jazz Festival’s been going at it for more than 25 years.
Capacity: Varies
WWW: oslojazz.no

Pstereo – AUGUST
Small festival taking place in idyllic surroundings in Trondheim. No camping.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: pstereo.net

Drammen Elvefestival – AUGUST
40 kilometers west of Oslo you find the city Drammen and the annual Elvesfestival.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: drammen-elvefestival.no

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SWEDEN:

Popadelica – MAY
A one day festival with three indoor stages in Folkets Park in Huskvarna in the south of Sweden.
Capacity: 2000
WWW: popadelica.se

Öresundsfestival – MAY
A festival created and curated by venues and bookers in Malmö and Copenhagen, Denmark, aimed at strengthening musical collaborations between Sweden and Denmark as well as presenting the best music both countries have to offer.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: oresundsfestival.com

Dans Dakar – JUNE
A two day festival in the Swedish capital Stockholm dedicated to electronic dance music.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: dansdakar.se

Make Musik STHLM! – JUNE
A one day festival based on the French concept Fête de la Musique in venues all around the Swedish capital Stockholm on the Swedish national day.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: makemusiksthlm.com

Sweden Rock Festival – JUNE
The biggest hard rock celebration in Sweden with an impressive line-up of new and classic acts. Located in Sölvesborg on the southeast coast of Sweden.
Capacity: 32.000
WWW: swedenrock.com

Clandestino Festival – JUNE
Going down in Gothenburg since 2003 this festival with a social conscience focus on alternative music as well as other artforms and debates.
Capacity: 2500/day
WWW: clandestinofestival.org

Baobab Festival – JUNE
A multicultural and socially committed reggae and world music festival taking place in Malmö.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: baobabfestival.se

Hultsfred – JUNE
One of the bigger, established Swedish festivals with a classic international lineup.
Capacity: 25.000
WWW: hultsfredsfestivalen.se

Bråvalla Festival – JUNE
Launched in 2013 and immediately setting the record for biggest Swedish festival with 50.000 visitors, Bråvalla Festival is a big player on the Nordic festival scene.
Capacity: 50.000
WWW: bravallafestival.se

Metaltown – JULY
Two days of metal mayhem downtown of Sweden’s metal capital Gothenburg.
Capacity: 22.000
WWW: metaltown.se

Norberg Festival – JULY
Situated in an abandoned mining area about two hours drive northwest of Stockholm, Norberg Festival’s musical focus is on electronica in pretty much all shapes and forms.
Capacity: 1000
WWW: norbergfestival.com

Storsjöyran – JULY
Launched in 1983 as Sweden’s first city centre festival, Storsjöyran Festival (or The Great Lake Festival) presents a classic festival lineup in the city of Östersund.
Capacity: 55.000
WWW: storsjoyran.se

Way Out West – AUGUST
Another festival located in Gothenburg, but this one with a more classic festival music profile, presenting all genres.
Capacity: 25.000
WWW: wayoutwest.se

Stockholm Culture Festival – AUGUST
For six days in August Stockholm Culture Festival presents all kinds of culture in all genres in the middle of the city center and with free admission.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: kulturfestivalen.stockholm.se

Malmö Festival – AUGUST
One of the biggest and longest running city festivals in Sweden presenting a load of free concerts all week. And don’t forget to try the moose-kebab.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: malmofestivalen.se

Söderslätts Countryfestival – SEPTEMBER
Two-day festival dedicated to country, folk, blues, americana, bluegrass and rockabilly. A festival for the family with lots of activities besides the music.
Capacity: 5000
WWW: soderslattscountryfestival.se

Uppsala International Guitar Festival – October
It’s all about the guitar at Uppsala International Guitar Festival with concerts, workshops and much more.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: uppsalagitarrfestival.se

Stockholm Jazz Festival – OCTOBER
As all other Scandinavian capitals Stockholm also boasts a jazz festival.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: stockholmjazz.se

Scorched Tundra Festival – DECEMBER
A one day metal festival at Sticky Fingers in Göteborg Scorched Tundra is an innovative annual metal festival held for the metal community of Gothenburg that has continued to support and churn out incredibly talented bands for over two decades.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: scorchedtundra.com

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FINLAND:

Valoa Festival – February
Other than that it takes place in Tampere, I can’t tell you much about this festival as they insist on communicating only in Finnish.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: valoafestival.fi

Provinssirock – JUNE
The largest international rock festival in Finland being held in Törnävä Festival Park in the city Seinäjoki.
Capacity: 75.000
WWW: provinssirock.net

Nummirock – JUNE
Another festival with a main focus on hard and harder rock. Nummirock also has a stage dedicated to new, unsigned rock talent.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: nummirock.fi

Puisto Blues Festival – JUNE
A five day city festival in Järvenpää, 40 km outside Helsinki, culminating with a main concert on the Saturday. One of Europe’s biggest blues events attracting around 120.000 visitors to the city each year.
Capacity: Varies
WWW: puistoblues.fi

Tuska Open Air Metal Festival – JUNE
Three days of metal mayhem in Helsinki, presenting more than 50 bands on four stages. No camping.
Capacity: 36.000
WWW: tuska-festival.fi

Ruisrock – JULY
The second oldest rock festival in Europe, founded in 1970 and held annually ever since on the island Ruissalo in Turku.
Capacity: 70.000
WWW: ruisrock.fi

Ilosaarirock – JULY
One of the longest running uninterrupted open-air festivals in Europe, each year presenting around 90 bands playing everything from metal to hip hop and jazz.
Capacity: 21.000
WWW: ilosaarirock.fi

Pori Jazz Festival – JULY
Set on the banks of the Kokemäki River this week long jazz festival presents an impressive number of concerts.
Capacity: Varies
WWW: porijazz.fi

Flow Festival – AUGUST
Held in an old power plant area Suvilahti, Helsinki, Flow is about urban spaces, visual arts, cosy decoration, good food and drink.
Capacity: 16.000
WWW: flowfestival.com

Jalometalli – AUGUST
Two-day metal festival featuring primarily black, death and thrash metal.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: jalometalli.net

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ICELAND:

Reykjavík Blues Festival – MARCH
As the name implies this festival is all about the blues.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: blues.is

Aldrei Fór Ég Suður Festival – APRIL
Started by Mugison this free two-day festival takes place in Ísafjordur in the most western part of Iceland.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: aldrei.is

Reykjavik Music Mess – MAY
Reykjavik Music Mess is a venue festival organized by the great record label Kimi Records.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: reykjavikmusicmess.com

Secret Solstice Festival – JUNE
Launched in 2014 this festival presents more than 100 local and international artists over three days in the 24 hour midnight summer sun.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: secretsolstice.is

Eistnaflug – JULY
The small village of Neskaupstaður has about 1.400 inhabitants but that number doubles when Eistnaflug presents three days of nothing but Icelandic metal and hard rock.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: eistnaflug.is

Iceland Airwaves – OCTOBER
The popular – and rightfully so – festival flagship of Iceland turn Reykjavik in to a musical paradise every year.
Capacity: Varies from venue to venue
WWW: icelandairwaves.com

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FAROE ISLANDS:

G! Festival – JULY
The premier musical event on the Faroe Islands located on Göta Beach on the edge of the village Göta.
Capacity: 6000
WWW: gfestival.com

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SWITZERLAND:

Nordklang – FEBRUARY
As you probably have figured out this isn’t a Scandinavian festival as such, as it’s situated in St. Gallen, Switzerland, but since Nordklang is all about Scandi music we’ve decided it qualifies.
Capacity: 1000 (approx.)
WWW: nordklang.ch

NETHERLANDS:

Nordic Delight Festival – MARCH
Another festival dedicated to the Nordic countries, Nordic Delight Festival is a one day festival designed to create a Nordic experience in which visitors can discover (new) artists, bands, film, art, fashion and food from the Nordic countries.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: facebook.com/NordicDelight

ENGLAND:

Ja Ja Ja Festival – NOVEMBER
Taking place at London’s Roundhouse this is a two day celebration of Nordic music, food, documentaries and culture.
Capacity: N/A
WWW: jajajamusic.com

 

8 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Dear Sir/ Madam,

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  2. Nordic Reggae Week is: celebration of reggae growth within Nordic hemisphere via scouting and detecting fresh young new acts from the 5 Scandic countries, whether signed or aint; who then get booked to perform with some other already experienced, established and recognisable acts mostly from Norden and a few bands invited from around the world outside scandinavia.

    Nordic Reggae Week is for Nordic residents from around the world or Nordic citizens, as 99% of the artists we book for each years’ show are of Nordic roots and residences.

    80% of Reggae songs and lyrics releases containn message of truth, faith, hope, wisdom, biblical quotes, unity oreiented verses and the preaching of love and harmony for the universe; we we intensify promotion of this genere and trend for a more conscious Nordic Youth- Ital or aint.

    *Please add our festival for your visitors to also see our years coming line ups.

    Kind Regards and thank you in full anticipation

    I am Uzoma Ezimoha Philip
    Festival Director, camp assistant and stage building assistant.

  3. AKATAKYEI DANCE ENSEMBLE A CULTURE AND DANCE GROUP OF YOUNG MEN AND LADIES WHOM ARE VERY CREATIVE WANT TO SHOW PARTICIPATION ON UPCOMING MUSIC SHOW.
    WE WILL BE VERY GRATEFUL GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THE CREATIVES AND THE CHARACTER AND AFRICAN CULTURE ESPECIALLY GHANAIAN CULTURE.
    WE HAVE WON MANY A WORDS IN GHANA
    THIS OUR FIRST TIME WE WANT TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE GHANA TO SHOW TO THE WORLD SO WE WANT TO USE THIS MUSIC SHOW TO DANCE AND CREATE FUN
    .
    HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU
    JOHN NARTEY
    SECRETARY.

  4. Love the guide!
    Just stumbled upon this hp of a small, but seemingly interesting festival that you might want to add: http://appleflowerfestival.dk/

    Peace out!
    Ditte

  5. Thanks, Ditte. Will check it out :-)

  6. Bråvalla festival started in 2013 and with 52.000 attendants it is the biggest Music festival in Sweden, so I thought it could be worth mentioning :)
    http://www.bravallafestival.se/

  7. Hej Jani,
    Thanks for the headsup – will add it to the guide asap…

    Alt godt,
    Peter

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