Culture

Your ultimate guide to this summer’s best Nordic festivals

By Doris Daga

Roskilde festival in Denmark. Photo: Roskilde / Kim Matthäi Leland

Summer air and heavy bass go hand-in-hand, and thankfully festival season is here. From tried and true Roskilde to Uppsala's Reggae festival – here's the lowdown on what to see

Music festivals are the best part of any summer, and no one does it quite as well as the Nordics. With our endless summer nights, there is no better setting to celebrate music. The region, which is known for its incredible contribution to pop music across the globe, is ready to host some of the biggest artists of the world.

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From local legends Zara Larsson and Tove Lo to Rosalía and Black Eyed Peas, the best of the best for the last couple of decades are all coming to celebrate in Scandinavia this summer. So, to ring in the warmer months here's your need-to-know on the most notable music festivals across the five countries.

Rosendal Garden Party, June 9-11, Sweden

Nestled in Stockholm's idyllic Djurgården, surrounded by towering trees and blossoming nature, Rosendal Garden Party returns for its second year in 2023 with three full days of international acts, mouthwatering food, art and experiences. Each for the three days has its own unique identity, with curated headliners – from Aphex Twin and The War On Drugs to Fever Ray and Eva Dahlgren – complemented with newcomers and timeless favourites.

Roskilde, June 24-July 1, Denmark

Roskilde is one of Denmark's oldest towns, going all the way back to the Viking era when it was an important hub for trade. These days, however, it is home to one of the coolest, most important music festivals in the world. Spanning over a whole week, Roskilde is the heart of Scandinavia's live music scene. Tove Lo, Rosalía, Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Nas X are just some of the many artists ready to take on this week-long music extravaganza.

Palmesus, June 30-July 1, Norway

What do the Black Eyed Peas, Martin Garrix, and Zara Larsson all have in common? They are all playing Palmesus festival in Kristiansand in Norway come end of June. Dubbed 'Scandinavia's Largest Beach Party,' the main stage is set right on the beach. Switch out your rain boots for sandals as you take a dip in the North Sea and enjoy your favourite artists from across the globe.

Lollapalooza, June 29-July 1, Sweden

Lollapalooza is one of the most famous music festivals across the globe, having started in Chicago in 1991. Since then, this touring festival makes stops across the major cities in Europe and South America. Set up in the middle of Stockholm, the line-up features some of the world's biggest artists, along with some local favourites, too. From Travis Scott and Kygo headlining the same night, to Peggy Gou and Icona Pop, this is guaranteed to be an unforgettable summer-in-the-city weekend

Ruisrock Festival, July 7-9, Finland

This Finnish festival's motto is: "Ruisrock exists to make the world a happier and more joyful place." If that is not reason enough to go, then the line-up, including everyone from Alesso, Machine Gun Kelly, The 1975 and Zara Larsson, in the midst of the beautiful Finnish summer is unbeatable. Get your dancing shoes ready – you are going to need them.

Uppsala Reggae Festival, July 28-29, Sweden

Known since 2001 as ”Scandinavias Reggae Mecca," Uppsala Reggae Festival is Scandinavia's first (and biggest) Reggae Festival. After a few years of hiatus, the festival has once again returned. This is where the best of the best of Reggae artists gather, both international as well as stars from the local scene. Whether you are a Reggae expert or not, this festival is a celebration of music at its very best.

Øyafestivalen, August 8-12, Norway

Since 1999 when Øyafestivalen first launched, it has become Norway's biggest and most important music festival. Taking place in Tøyen Park in Oslo, the festival is a whopping four nights of music, dancing and cheer. Covering all kinds of genres, from electronic to rock and punk, there is certainly something for everyone. Lorde, Blur, Wizkid and Sigrid are just some of the few that stick out on the jampacked line-up.

Way Out West, August 10-12, Sweden

Another one of Sweden's biggest music festivals takes place on the country's west coast in Gothenburg. And the Way Out West line-up is one you won't want to miss this summer as Aurora, Seinabo Sey, Christine and the Queens and Pusha T all take to the stage in the second weekend in August. A staple in Swedish summer festivities, it is as exciting as it is a relief that WoW is back on the schedule.

Flow Festival, August 11-13, Finland

Undoubtedly one of Finland's most hotly-anticipated summer events, Flow Festival is celebrated in unique, urban settings in the heart of bustling Helsinki. Featuring an array of music genres from pop and rock to hip hop and techno, Flow caters for all kinds of music tastes – this year's enticing line-up boasts artists such as Shygirl, Lorde, Tove Lo and 070 Shake, amongst others. The cherry on top? The fascinating art sprinkled across the festival area, and the tastiest food offered by the city's hip restaurants.