For one weekend each summer, the tranquil setting of Tønsberg, Norway’s oldest town, is transformed into a hive of musical activity. Bands flock from all over the world, in particular from neighbouring Scandinavian countries, to present their sounds and performances to a crowd of avid music fans at a festival which is well known for its sublime setting and attention to the tiny, but important details.
Slottsfjell takes place around an historic Viking fort, a site formed of different levels, trails, nooks and crannies. With a traditional pear cider in hand, the opportunity is there to catch a massive act on the main stage, or to trek up a hill to see musicians perform in a caravan, or at the foot of the imposing castle on top of a hill, which looms over the festival site. Whether you want to ‘wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care’ at the main stage, or have a moment to sit atop a hill and take in the breathtaking views which surround the festival, the space and the perfect musical backdrop will be there to host you.
But of course it’s not just the setting that’s special about Slottsfjell festival, which this year takes place between the 19-21 July. It’s a festival renowned throughout Europe for its unique taste and seemingly eccentric line ups. Last year for example, Slottsfjell presented the talents of Anthrax, Röyksopp and Erasure over one weekend – catering for all tastes, let’s say – and this year, the line up is equally as eclectically impressive.
Mixing the talents of New Order, Suicidal Tendencies and Lissie, this year’s line up offers up the classic, the new, the pop, the experimental, the intimidating and the beautiful. Janelle Monae, Friendly Fires, Howler and Gabrielle (not that one) will also be making appearances at the festival, as will Gallows, Tortoise and Bastille.
Festival favourites Wild Beasts are set to bring their refined operatic vocals and lush orchestrations to a Nordic audience, and 120 Days, having recently announced that their imminent split, are sure to draw a sizeable crowd as festival goers flock to give the celebrated Norwegian techno outfit a decent send off.
London’s Charli XCX is set to entrance and enamour with her innocuous blend of dirty baselines and sumptuous vocals, as will Ane Brun when she takes to the stage to showcase her mesmerising vocals and delicate yet overwhelming melodies.
Of course, when at a Norwegian festival, our priority should be to check out some of the local talent, and there’s certainly plenty to chose from. Reprezentin’ the homeland is Bergen’s Team Me, celebrated Norwegian troubadour Sondre Lerche and one of Oslo’s most exciting pop propositions, Samsaya. More Scandinavian musical goodness will be provided by HighasaKite, Sóley and Hymns from Nineveh all of whom will take to stages adorned with bunting, decorations, looking out on beautiful views and the unfailingly enthusiastic Norwegian crowd.
And when the sun dips down, there’s plenty to keep the revellers occupied. Kastellnatt is a warehouse space which, each year, is converted into an outstanding venue to host the festival’s after parties. Expansive spaces, stellar light shows and sound systems loud enough to bring the roof down keep the festival fans occupied into the early hours, and for those who like their parties a bit more intimate, Total offers a smaller, but equally as inviting late night option.
A gorgeous setting, an eclectic line up and a whole host of special touches, thoughts and events are sure to make 2012′s Slottsfjell festival a particularly memorable one.
For more information about the festival, click here.