Musikkfest Oslo – Live music in the sun

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Musikkfest Oslo is a totally free one day music festival held annually in Olso on the first saturday of June. According to their website, the festival was inspired by a similar event held in France – Fête de la Musique. In 2011, stages were set up in 33 locations in parks, squares and outside some public venues in and around the central city area of Oslo.

The weather was fantastic and everyone was out enjoying the day. The casual summery picnic atmosphere and sheer masses of people out, particularly in Birkelunden Park Grünerløkka, remided us of Peace and Love music festival. [As an aside, Swedens largest annual festival began as a very low-key event held in downtown parks in Borlänge. Despite now attracting around 40,000 each year the festival retains a very laid back atmosphere with camping grounds for thousands of people and stages all set up right in the city centre.]

Starting late we weren’t able to get around to all of the 33 stages during the afternoon but we made our way down through Grünerløkka to National Theatret and stopped to watch music along the way.

What I love about music festivals is that you always discover something new. Our favourite acts of the day were two locals: Norwgeian musician Bård Watn and the group Chitty Chitty Bang Gang.

We caught Bård Watn outside Park Theartret where crowds of people stood transfixed by the cool harmonies flowing between him and his backup girls. We thought he was absolutely fantastic so we bought his demo cd after the show. The pity with that was that the cd only had 3 songs on it, a bit odd given that on his website you can play 6 – why not just put them all on there? The other surprise with the cd was that it was apparently only him singing, the lovely harmonies he was getting with his co-singer girls, which in my opinion were the most charming part of the act, were missing from the recorded songs we got.

Chitty Chitty Bang Gang are a light-hearted, youthful sounding, indie treat. It was really cool after their show to see teenagers lining up for their cd and asking for the band to sign it – and the whole band actually taking the time to sign each of their names. Their official debut album which we also lined up and bought after the show is great. A real mixture of sounds and the first time I had heard a combination of indie rock, electro synth and even some snippets of rap on one cd… Nice and different, just what is on my wish-list for festival days.

Musikkfest Oslo gets a “good times” rating: 10/10 – this is a must on a sunny day.

Photos: Sophie Thorell

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