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Your Guide to the Best Summer Festivals in Northern Norway

Riddu Riđđu Festival
Riddu Riđđu Festival | © Skog Media, Courtesy of Riddu Riđđu Festival
Norway’s festival game is strong – regardless of the season. But summertime comes with the added bonus of festival-friendly weather and a never-setting sun. This is particularly true in northern Norway, where the cold weather and lack of sunlight can be quite harsh the rest of the year. So get your festival mood on and head north: we’ve gathered all the events you shouldn’t miss this summer.

Riddu Riđđu Festival

Where: Gáivuona / Kåfjord municipality in Troms
When: July 12-15
Its name means, “little storm on the coast” in Sami. Riddu Riđđu Festival is an international indigenous festival that celebrates Sami culture, taking place every July for 25 years. The diverse program includes everything from concerts, performances and films to workshops and literature. There is a camping ground, so that you can have a more authentic experience of the Sami way of life.

Traditional music in Riddu Riđđu Festival © Eirin Roseneng, Courtesy of Riddu Riđđu Festival

Hamsundagene

Where: Presteid, Hamarøy
When: August 1-4
Knut Hamsun is a Nobel Laureate and one of the most important writers of the late 19th century, whose work has influenced writers like Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka and Ernest Hemingway. His legacy is celebrated all year long at the Knut Hamsun center, on the banks of the Glimma River in an area that shaped and inspired the author. But in the summer, something extra special happens: Hamsundagene, a literary festival that includes anything from author meetings, art exhibitions and theater, to ‘adventours’ in the surrounding area.

Hamsunsenteret Courtesy of Hamsunsenteret

Nordland Musikkfestuke

Where: Bodø
When: August 3-12

Nordland Music Festival has been taking place in Bodø, the capital of Nordland county, since 1980. The festival week, which is held in various indoor and outdoor venues all around the city, celebrates the best of classical music – but also features other music genres such as jazz and folk.

Last year's Nordland Musikkfestuke © Håvard Christensen, Courtesy of Nordland Musikkfestuke

Viking Festival

Where: Bøstad, Vestvågøya, Lofoten
When: August 8-12

Lofotr Museum is a must stop any time of the year, if you’re interested in retracing the steps of Vikings. At the excavation area, you will find the largest Viking house ever uncovered – as well as reconstructed areas that will make you feel you’re starring in a Vikings episode. Every August, they host a Viking festival with era-appropriate activities such as Viking ship sailing, fighting games, a market and much more.

Lofotr Viking Museum Courtesy of Lofotr Viking Museum

Verket Music Festival

Where: Mo I Rana, Nordland
When: August 24-25

This outdoor music festival is on its tenth year, and the idyllic surroundings is just one of the reasons people keep coming back, year after year. With international names such as Travis on its lineup, seems like 2018 will be one of the best years yet.

Verket Musikkfestival Courtesy of Verket Musikkfestival

Arctic Sea Kayak Race

Where: Bø and Skipnes, Vesterålen, Lofoten
When: July 22-28

Starting from Fjordcamp Kråkberget in Bø in Vesterålen, Arctic Sea Kayak Race will have you exploring the area by sea and spending time at the fishing village of Skipnes in Lofoten. Also dubbed “the world’s most beautiful kayak festival”, ASKR involves activities for all levels of experience – so if you’re a beginner when it comes to kayaking, you can still go and have fun.

Getting ready for the Arctic Sea Kayak Race Courtesy of Arctic Sea Kayak Race

Buktafestivalen

Where: Tromsø
When: July 19-21

With the motto “rock, beer & seafood in the Arctic”, you know you’ll have a good time at Bukta. This annual rock festival, which has taken place in Tromsø for the last fifteen years, explores all the different facets of rock music (from indie to metal), both Norwegian and global. On this year’s lineup, you’ll find iconic artists like Sivert Høyem.

Buktafestivalen © Daniel Skog, Courtesy of Buktafestivalen