Summer is the season for all kinds of Swedish festivals, from rock festivals to medieval tournaments, folk music to carnivals… time your holiday, visit your favorite event and meet with lots of your fellows – everything is more fun when shared.
The music lover has plenty to choose from. So, don’t be sad that in 2010 the large and famous Hultsfred Rock Festival was cancelled and nobody knows how it will be in the years to come! Go to the Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg (website: swedenrock.com) on the south coast of Sweden in instead. In 2011 the festival is held the 8th to the 11th of June and brings you Ozzy Osbourne, Thin Lizzy and Rage, among other world famous rock stars. Camping on the festival ground is a must for your social rock life! Or finish your trip to Dalecarlia by attending the Peace & Love Festival in Borlänge (2011 it’s on the 27th June to 2nd of July, check their website peaceandlove.nu). It’s just as rocking, though not as much metal – and here you have the possibility to choose a more quiet camp ground away from the most fanatic music fans.
If rock is not your cup of tea, but folk music is, you face a richness of alternatives that will baffle, shock and amaze you. Swedenreally loves its traditional music, and festivals as well as smaller gatherings abound. To get a grip on what’s happening there is an excellent list posted on the Internet by folk musician Henrik Norbeck (norbeck.nu), in English, with links taking you to coming main events. If you don’t know too much about Swedish folk music, this site provides an introduction as well. A good tip is the Korrö Festival (the 28th to 31th July in 2011) in Småland with folk music from all the Nordic countries, the possibility to play your own instrument in the “allspel” event where everyone plays together, folk dancing, small separate concerts and workshops. It isSweden’s largest folk music festival and your experience really can’t get much better than this!
Of course there are also festivals for classical music, jazz or whatever style you like. To find all sorts of music events, visit Culturenet Swedenon kultur.nu and search for what you like.
But what about festivals that treat all your senses, not just your ears? Medieval festivals are all the rage just now and the most visited one is the Medieval week in Visbyon Gotland. This takes place in August, in 2011 between the 7th and the 14th. Tournaments with mounted knights, a folk tale theatre show lit by fires out under the stars and a huge medieval market are only a few of the attractions. You’ll have more fun dressed in a medieval outfit yourself, as almost everybody else will be, creating an all-surrounding medieval mindset and time frame. Scared of not finding accommodation on an island bulging with damsels, merchants, war horses and knights in shining armor? Get in contact with the festival committee at medeltidsveckan.se, and they will help you.
In the small historical town Arboga in the Mälaren valley, near the city of Örebro, the second largest medieval event plays out in the beginning of June (the 10th to 14th in 2011) with much the same attractions but also with a medieval wedding – a real one, so if you’re planning to hook up for life, hurry up and write to info(a)arbogamedeltid.se! You and your beloved might just be chosen as this summers couple! You may chance upon lots of lesser festivals as you go along, so check at the local Tourist Information Office.
And the Vikings? They were medieval to be sure, but rather early medieval and thus they merit their own events. Why not go to Stallarholmen Viking Festival? In 2011, the festival is on the 2th to 3th of July – long ships, music, Viking food and drink, games and sports wait for you just about an hour from Stockholm. At stallarholmensvikingar.se you’ll also find tips on where to stay.
Now, when you are done with Swedish history you might want to go to some other gatherings. The largest and most famous is of course the Stockholm Pride Festival during the first week of August. Parades, lots of artists in different Stockholm venues, speeches and other events celebrating both cultural and sexual diversity in a modern society –a unique chance to actually discuss social reality with other people and have fun at the same time! Information is to be found on stockholmpride.org
Other carnivals in Swedenare about as many as medieval events, and though it sounds grand they often tend to be a local thing, showing off the towns talented young with fond parents watching. Not exactly what you associate with hot Latin American rhythms, perhaps… A really good and exciting exception is the multicultural Carnival of Culture, held in May in Uppsala(the 28th of May in 2011) with a big carnival parade with different dance troupes, circus artists, etc. and a fairground in the city’s park.
Finally, something that focuses on a completely different side of life: the biker’s own festival, the Custom Bike Show in Norrköping on the first Saturday of June, which features what is called “the Swedish Championship of Bike building. And if the family is less interested in bikes than you are, there are music events and fairground attractions to keep them occupied. The Motor cycle tourist in Sweden might also find other interesting happenings on mcsverige.com.