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Stockholm's Top 10 Events, Shows And Festivals This August
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Stockholm's Top 10 Events, Shows And Festivals This August

Picture of Jessica Woodward
Updated: 9 February 2017
Stockholm’s fantastic cultural summer continues into August, with musical events catering for fans of all genres, innovative art and design exhibitions, movie nights, theater and the joyous celebration that is the Stockholm Culture Festival. It looks like Sweden‘s capital in August 2014 will be a very exciting place. We look at a selection of 10 of the month’s most anticipated events.
Slussen, Stockholm
Slussen, Stockholm | © Tommie Hansen/Flickr

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Music and Art | Stockholm Music & Arts

Held on Skeppsholmen — one of Stockholm’s smaller islands and an established hotspot for musical and cultural events — Stockholm Music & Arts is sure to set the month off to a lively start. This international festival has two facets; top-quality popular music and breathtaking contemporary art exhibitions. The former will be provided this year by 19 Swedish and international artists, including Chrissie Hynde, The Magic Numbers, Jill Johnson, Neil Young and Goldfrapp. The art line-up will incorporate various genres and media, emphasizing creations that tie in with a musical ambiance; performance artists Anastasia Ax, Tarek Atoui and Noisebud will create unique sonic experiences live, while Charlie Woolley will encourage guests to rethink their perceptions of human communication by participating in their own radio show. Festival-goers will also benefit from free entry to the nearby Moderna Museet and Arkitektur-Och Designcentrum, two of the city’s finest modern art museums.

Held on the island of Skeppsholmen, Stockholm

Culture | Stockholm Culture Festival

12 – 17 August

The Stockholm Culture Festival will fill the heart of the city, day and night. With over 600 events on the program, including concerts, dance shows, talks on literature, exhibitions, plays and even a circus, everyone should find something to enjoy at this bustling annual event. The ‘Barcelona’ theme is set to make 2014’s offering particularly memorable; world-class musicians from the Mediterranean city, including Txarango, Che Sudaka and Manu Chao, will perform, those eager to learn Spanish can do so at the regular Language Cafes, and a specially produced animated film exploring cultural differences between Barcelona and Stockholm will be projected onto the front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at night. A highlight of the festival, however, will likely be the castellers (human towers emblematic of Barcelona) that will be built in various locations around the city; those brave enough to want to join in will have their chance at the Casteller Workshops on 13th and 14th August.

Held in various locations across Stockholm

Kultur festival
Photo by Emma Svensson | Courtesy Kultur festival

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Cinema | Stockholm Film Festival Summer Cinema 2014

For those Stockholmites who can’t wait until the Stockholm International Film Festival in November, this week of open-air screenings should be a treat to look forward to. One movie will be shown each night in the magical location of Rålambshovsparken, a large park that borders on the tranquil Ridderfjärden bay. The program reflects the Film Festival’s past successes, with Quentin Tarantino’s legendary Pulp Fiction taking the opening slot, followed by Wes Anderson’s comedy hit The Darjeeling Limited on Thursday 14 August. After that will be Jacques Audiard’s absorbing romance Rust and Bone, then the latest Oscar-winner for Best Picture, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Gia Coppola’s recent drama, Palo Alto, based on a short story by actor James Franco (who also stars in the film) has been chosen as the finale on Sunday 17 August. With popcorn and snacks on sale, free admission and a delightful city-center retreat as a setting, no film fan should leave this event disappointed.

Held in Rålambshovsparken, Kungsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden

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Music | Baltic Sea Festival

The twelfth international classical music festival put on by Sweden’s principal radio broadcaster, Sveriges Radio, 2014’s Baltic Sea Festival promises to be as varied and captivating as ever. A highlight will undoubtedly be the opening event, Shostakovich’s opera Orango, which was only re-discovered among his discarded musical sketches in 2004 and which will be performed here for the fifth time ever. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and soloists from St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater will collaborate to tell this politically-charged story of a half-human, half-ape formed in a medical experiment. Other events include a rendering of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue by pianist Simon Trpčeski and I, Culture Orchestra on 23 August, an evening of Prokofiev’s piano concertos with Olli Mustonen, Alexei Volodin and Behzod Abduraimov on 25 August, and performances of two great symphonies, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and Sibelius’ Symphony No.2, by Sinfonietta Riga and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, on 28 and 30 August respectively. The aim behind the festival is to encourage collaboration between Baltic countries to protect the Baltic Sea’s ecosystem, so proceeds will be going to a worthwhile cause.

Baltic Sea Festival, Berwaldhallen, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 3, 10 Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 784 18 00

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Art | Collection Highlights – Waldemarsudde

This sizeable exhibition is a perfect way to experience one of Sweden’s most popular art museums, Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde. Named after the late Prince Eugen (1865-1947), an art-loving member of the Swedish royal family who lived and built his collection in this magnificent residence, the museum houses some of the finest painting and sculpture of his time, from his student days in Paris in the late 1880s up to the year of his death. This exhibition will focus on “favorites” from the collection chosen by students at the Royal Institute of Art. The set-up encourages viewers to consider how past successes influence the creative minds of today, by juxtaposing these celebrated works with the efforts of the students themselves. Lovers of both contemporary and more traditional art will therefore find much to interest them. Nordic, Swedish and French artists are all well-represented, with works by Ernst Josephson, Helen Schjerfbeck and Auguste Rodin on show, among others, and it is possible to see some paintings by Prince Eugen himself.

Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Prins Eugens väg 6, Djurgården, Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 545 837 00

Prince Eugen, 'Det klarnar efter regn' ('Clearing After Rain'), 1904
Prince Eugen, ‘Det klarnar efter regn’ (‘Clearing After Rain’), 1904 (oil on canvas, 100x160cm) | © Lars Engelhardt/Prince Eugens Waldemarsudde

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Music | Popaganda

One of the cheapest festivals happening in or around Stockholm this summer, Popaganda is an exciting prospect for music-lovers. Since its beginnings at Stockholm University in 2002, it has grown hugely in prestige and scope, with its location being transferred to the Eriksdalsbadet leisure complex (the home of numerous European swimming championships) in 2006 and more and more household names featuring on the program each year. Lily Allen is probably the act that most international visitors will recognize in 2014, but the whole line-up is impressive, with a pleasing balance of Swedish and foreign artists, bands and soloists. There are no camping facilities as the setting is so central, but the lack of this typical festival feature is more than made up for by the quality of the music, the relaxed atmosphere and the bonus of having the beautiful and diverse city of Stockholm only a few steps away.

Popaganda, Eriksdalsbadet, Hammarby Slussväg 20, Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 508 402 58

Popaganda 2012
Popaganda 2012 | © Victor Lundmark

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Art | Guided Tour of the Art in the Metro

Although an intriguing experience for anyone visiting Stockholm, this hour-long tour should be particularly engaging for those who use the city’s metro system regularly. It promises to shed an entirely new light on the contemporary paintings and sculptures that fill over 90 underground stations, which combined have been called ‘the longest art gallery in the world’. Participants will find out who created some of these works and what meanings they might conceal. Conducted in English and costing no more than an ordinary metro ticket, this may be an enjoyable way to add some cultural interest to future journeys.

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Design | Swedish Fashion 2000-2015

A unique exhibition, Swedish Fashion 2000-2015 celebrates the enormous leaps in Swedish fashion innovation that have taken place since the year 2000. A panel of four distinguished fashion journalists have helped curators Michael Elmenbeck (the founder of Bon and Bon International magazines) and Cia Jansson (the editor of Swedish ELLE magazine) select work by over 19 designers who revitalized their field and made Sweden a country to watch for fashion lovers during the last 15 years. These include, for example, Acne Studios, Ann-Sofie Back, Tiger of Sweden and Ida Klamborn. As well as authentic garments, sketches, photos and films are on display that document the designers’ creative process. There is a particular focus on defining the individual characteristics of Swedish fashion; what techniques the designers seem generally to prefer, what colors and silhouettes have been in vogue, and especially, why denim appears to have become so ubiquitous recently. The famous Sven-Harry’s Art Museum, the home of the exhibition, is also well worth exploring in its entirety for those interested in contemporary and classical art.

Fashion | Svenskt Mode 2000-2015
Image Courtesy of Svenskt Mode

Theatre | Parkteatern

Since 1942, this extremely popular open-air theater season has brightened up Stockholmites’ summer, with performances taking place in parks all over the city. For Swedish-speakers, August’s programme is rich and diverse; there is a specially composed mini-musical entitled Under Eken (‘Under the Oak Tree’), a play about August Strindberg called Lillian och Pappa August (‘Lillian and Papa August’), a poetry reading session (Revolution Poetry), among other grown-up events, as well as interactive concerts and toy-swapping sessions for children. International visitors to Stockholm do not have to miss out, though, with several high-quality music and dance showcases, including a Gospel Choir Festival and a performance by the Royal Swedish Ballet being accessible to all. If you want to witness a really integral part of Stockholm’s cultural fabric, Parkteatern is a fun and dependable choice.

Held in parks across Stockholm

Theatre | Parkteatern
Spectators at Parkteatern in Vitabergsparken | © Saga Berlin

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Design | Bike

Another event that gives something of a flavor of Stockholm life is the Bike exhibition, at Arkitektur-Och Designcentrum, which celebrates the development of one of the city’s most popular forms of transport. Over 70 different models of bicycle, dating back to various eras, are on display, including some that were used by notorious cyclists such as “Tillie the Terrible Swede” (world champion Tillie Anderson, 1875-1965). The exhibition is accompanied by a series of talks, seminars and classes, intended to entertain those who already love this simple vehicle and encourage others to take more of an interest in it. Visitors can learn how to ride a bike and how to repair one, participate in races and watch cycling-themed films. If you enjoy learning about design in general or are a converted cycling enthusiast, this should be an interesting addition to your itinerary.

Design | Bike
Moser Ax TT Tempo Bike, 1989 | © Matti Östling