Coming Out Of The Shadows

While recent news from the Norwegian outdoor market has been about the rise of Hove and the fall of Quart festivals, another event on the east coast has been making such progress that it’s also challenging to be the country’s No. 1.

The crowd for the seventh edition of Slottsfjell Festival in Tønsberg, one of Scandinavia’s oldest towns, was 10,000 per day. That was 30 percent up on 2007 and fewer than 1,000 short of Hove.

Vegard Weske from Oslo-based Bureau Storm, which books the international acts, said the festival is "beginning to come out of the shadows."

Although Slottsfjell has multiplied its crowd by 10 since it started with a bill of little-known acts and about 1,000 people per day in 2002, it hasn’t enjoyed the same international profile of what are now similar-sized events such as Hove, Quart, Oya and Norwegian Wood.

Weske said that’s because the event hasn’t pitched into the battle for big international acts, which – apart from a rocky year in 2004 – has been a main reason for its financial survival.

The biggest international act on this year’s bill was Gogol Bordello, while Amadou & Mariam, Woven Hand, Norway’s Kaizers Orchestra and Swedish rockers Kent were the best-known acts among the rest of the lineup.

The festival takes its name from its site at Slottsfjellet (or Castle Mountain), a huge and historic open area that served as a natural fortress in the Norwegian civil war of the 12th century.

The other, smaller acts helping Slottsfjell to make it big July 17-19 included Looptroop Rockers, Stereolab, The Floor Is Made Of Lava, and Fuck Buttons.