During the summer, Europe booms with exciting festivals featuring the best international artists. However the Træna festival in the north of Norway offers a unique festival experience. The only downside is that you need a boat to get there.
Imagine being surrounded by steep mountains, modest fishing houses, and the sound of clashing waves in the sea – while listening to top international music artists in various genres. At Norway’s Træna festival all this takes place under the midnight sun.
Exclusivity on the Træna Islands
Træna is a group of islands on the coast of Helgeland, located near the Arctic Circle, no less than 33 nautical miles out in the Norwegian Sea.
The total number of inhabitants in Træna is about 500. 400 of them live on Husøy, a lush, green island where the main part of the festival is held. On the neighbouring island of Sanna, the artists perform in a mountain construction, which creates a natural cathedral.
This summer the festival is held from the 10-12 July. Only 2000 tickets have been released; this is the maximum amount of people that can be transported back and forth from the island. This means that Træna festival will never grow out of proportion, and will continue to have an air of exclusivity to it.
A Sun That Never Sets
Maybe it is the combination of being on a small island, in the middle of rough nature and never-ending daylight that provides an unforgettable festival experience. For a period of the summer, the sun does not set in Helgeland, and you can dance the night away under a golden midnight sun.
The island is Norway’s oldest fishing village and archaeological findings show that people have been living on this island for more than 9000 years – even though the climate on the island is not for faint of heart. Though it is mid- summer, and the warmest it gets in the area, it is still located in the polar circle meaning that the weather can get pretty rough.
Enjoy a Delicious Whale Burger
Kebabs and pizzas are not the only kind of late night snack that will satisfy your cravings – like it or not, at Træna you can get yourself a fresh whale burger, among all other sorts of delicious fish and seafood dishes. Fishing continues to be the islands’ main industry, which means that the festival that offers a wide array of seafood grub.
The festival, in its current form, was first held in 2003 and has continuously grown since then. The organisers pride themselves on the festival’s high artistic integrity. Their musical profile is diverse, and involves everything from quiet instrumental concerts in the local church, to well known Norwegian bands combined with a variation of international artists. Previous artists have included The Correspondents (UK), Dope D.O.D (NL), Vintage Trouble (US), Bondo do Rolê (BR), Manu Chao La Ventura (FR), Timbuktu & Damn!(SE), Sisÿ Ey (Isl), Filthy Dukes (UK), Ulige Numre (DK), Dubioza Kolektiv (BA) to mention some, while hosting big national names such as Sivert Høyem, DumDum Boys, Margaret Berger, Ane Brun, Lars Vaular, Ingrid Olava med venner, and Susanne Sundfør, as well.
The festival was awarded the prize for best Norwegian festival in 2012 by the Norwegian Rock association, and is also known as ‘the most beautiful cultural happening in the north of Norway’.
The head of the festival, Anita Overelv, says in an interview with NRK that Træna offers an amazing experience, not only because of the musical program, but also because of trip to get there, the location, and not least the atmosphere in the island, which transforms from normally consisting of 400 locals to hosting more than 2000 happy party people. It seems to be the same factors that make so many artists want to perform at the festival – some of them have been back several times.
As the creator of the festival, Erlend Mogård Larsen explains his passion for the festival is strong: “It is all about the food, the experience, the party that never ends and the sun that never sets”.
By Ingunn Dorholt
Photo: Henrik Mundal