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British invasion of the Norwegian festival summer

"Isn't it good? Norwegian wood", sang The Beatles in 1965 to ecstatic crowds. Today it's the festival named Norwegian Wood that gets the crowds ecstatic. This and many more music festivals will take place throughout Norway this summer - and British acts are headlining many of them.

Annually there are more than 200 music festivals in Norway of all genres and sizes. In Oslo it's the Norwegian Wood festival that really kicks off the festival summer, however, several festivals have already been organised around the country.
 
As the summer months progress, hundreds of thousands of Norwegians, as well as an international crowd, will attend the festivals. At Norwegian Wood, it's Lou Reed who's this year's crowd puller along with British singer / songwriter David Gray and Gnarls Barkley whose smash hit 'Crazy' topped the UK singles chart for a record nine consecutive weeks this spring.

The Molde International Jazz Festival has US saxophonist Joshua Redman lined up. Jazz lovers will also recognise Norwegian artists Bugge Wesseltoft, The Brazz Brothers and Wibutree who are frequent visitors to the UK jazz scene. The Brits are also represented at this prestigious music extravaganza with Sting who is taking the trip across the North Sea to Molde on 19 July.

The popular Quart festival in the city Kristiansand has an impressive international guest list, including American rappers Kanye West and Pharrel Williams, and British band Depeche Mode. Additionally, the festival, which is set in idyllic landscapes on the southern coast of Norway, has also attracted Arctic Monkeys, this year's hottest new band on the UK rock scene. Other Brits taking part include Placebo, Lady Sovreign, Sway and Infadels.

Above the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Chamber Music Festival, nick-named 'the world's most beautiful music festival' due to it's unique location, takes place in July. It attracts some of Norway's biggest names within the genre, including pianist Leif Ove Andsnes whose latest concert in London was a sell-out months in advance. Co-principal horn of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jonathan Williams, will also take part in the festival.

For many, the Norwegian summer festivals are first and foremost a chance to see up-and-coming Norwegian artists. The Oslo-based Øya festival is organised around the premise that smaller bands will front the festival, and has become the breakthrough arena for many Norwegian bands and artists. Madrugada is one of the Norwegian bands that started out on the smallest stage at the festival, but was one of the main attractions in 2005. The festival also has a wide spectre of international artists, and the UK is represented with established artists such as Morrissey and Snow Patrol as well as newcomers The Fall and The Pipettes.

To read more about the festival scene in Norway, click here. You will also find external links to more festivals around the country. 

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Madrugada, Norways best-selling rock group, started out small on the festival scene, but is now a major attraction at Øya.  Photo: Camilla Leikvoll

One of the hottest new bands in the UK, the Arctic Monkeys, will appear at the Quart Festival in Norway this summerPhoto: Domino Records