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Over Oslo Festival

April 23rd, 2022

Up Guide - The Music Scene

April 23rd, 2022

Written by

Man on UpNorway journey to Losæter

Sondre Sommerfelt in collaboration with Up Norway

A cosmopolitan travel writer

This Up Guide is written by insider Sondre Sommerfelt; A cosmopolitan anthropologist, travel writer and cultural entrepreneur, for Up Norway.

Sondre is an Oslo-based travel writer, sailor, skier and cultural critic. He loves the outdoors and city life (who doesn’t) and knows everything that moves on Norway’s cultural and music scene. Enjoy his humorous - yet useful - guides to Norway.

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Tons of Rock

Ever since Norway discovered oil in the North Sea in the late 60s, money has been funnelled evenly back into society, creating a significant middle class. Assisted by flexible work regulations, Norwegians have considerable spare time to spend on all sorts of activities, not only their beloved winter sports. Much of it is poured into culture, and Norway has become an increasingly exciting artistic hub.

One of Norway's most gratifying cultural attractions is its thriving live music scene, with every conceivable genre represented. Everybody helps out, and the enthusiasm for new and ingenious artists is uniquely refreshing.

Music is everywhere, with every conceivable genre represented, from black metal and experimental jazz to black jazz and experimental metal. And of course, many other, more accessible music genres. The Nordic countries are trailblazers on the global music scene in terms of diversity, quality, technology, commercial success and business. They are one of the largest music exporters next to the US and UK and they are early adopters of modern music technologies – among the successful startup companies from Scandinavia you find Soundcloud, Spotify and Tidal. Technologies, music innovation and good old live music acts go hand in hand in the Nordics.

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Man playing the piano

There is a diverse range of festivals taking place throughout the year - located in the most exotic places - and with a cast of idiosyncratic artists and styles

In fact, according to recent surveys, there are over 5500 live gigs a year only in Oslo, meaning there is more live music here than anywhere else in the Nordic zone, something rivalled only by cities like London and New York. The biggest fiesta of them coincides with Norway’s National Day, 17 May. This is a BIG DAY and attendance, like other voluntary events in Norway, is compulsory. Dress code: patriotic, traditional (the national costume, the bunad, is seen in abun(a)dance).

Enjoy the rare experience of reverse time travel as IT operatives and oil executives dress like farmhands and milkmaids from the estates of Marie Antoinette. There is a children’s parade with school brass bands in every city or town from 09:00. Afterwards, head for any bar to party with Norwegians ecstatic about being Norwegian, or to local park to hang out, barbecue and knock back beers. In global terms the Rio carnival may be bigger, but this is still on the scale of Spain’s Feria de Abril or San Fermin.

Travel to Norway

Why should you travel to Norway?

What’s the difference between Norway and the rest of the Nordics, you may ask? Oh, come on! The scenery is amazing! Out of this world. Seriously! Mountains, glaciers, fjords, flora, and fauna – from mainland Europe to the Arctic, if you turn 180 degrees and travel the same distance southward you will reach North Africa. That’s a long stretch of Adventure Park. Moose! Reindeers! Whales! Eagles! Puffins! Even the muskoxen, a real stayer! What else do you need to know?

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Man overlooking Geirangerfjorden
October 19th, 2022

Up Guide - Eating and Drinking Essentials

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The Floating bartender at Amerikalinjen
October 19th, 2022

Up Guide - Eating and Drinking Essentials

We introduce you to the Norwegian food scene and its tradition and culture. Seek local food in season when it is at its maximum-flavour peak.

The Up Norway Team at Halne Fjellstue

The Up Norway Team

in collaboration with Sondre Sommerfelt and Stephanie Hystad