It’s Still Good, Norwegian Wood

I’m going to be completely honest and say that I wasn’t tremendously excited to be covering Norwegian Wood in Oslo, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to going, the festival is a staple of Norwegian summer music festival culture and I was very interested in experiencing that.

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Photo by Jack Hastings/ieiMedia. The band, Oslo Ess, performing at Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo on Friday, June 16. Vocalist and lead guitar player, Asmund Lande performing.

This year’s festival was the 25th anniversary and hosted an entirely Norwegian lineup. I wasn’t familiar with any of the bands and figured it was still best to approach the festival with an open mind.

The all Norwegian lineup was likely due to last year’s festival, which was not as successful as past years. Norwegian Wood 2016 was cut down to one day, instead of the traditional three day festival, and hosted only three bands. This was likely a consequence of the strict competition between all the June music festivals.

I found that the festival seemed to thrive with a newfound vitality in its Norwegian roster. In festivals that are usually overshadowed by American headliners, Norwegian Wood made a festival for its people. I felt a stronger sense of pride among the audience of Norwegian Wood compared to all the other festivals I have been at since I landed in Norway.

I sensed this pride in my various interviews with audience members, bands and event organizers. They all told me about how Norwegian Wood is bringing music back home.

Even though the festival is done my work isn’t. As I am developing this into a story, I need to continue to reach out to learn more about the past and the future of Norwegian Wood and how that plays into the larger whole of music festival season.