We all love a good festival and luckily, Western Norway seems to cover all the cultural bases. Here are five great festivals worth a visit. From food and photography all the way to international jazz, here is your festival fix.
Raptus – Annual Comic Book Festival
Celebrating its 17th year this year (Sept. 7-9, 2012), Raptus unleashes Bergen’s humorous side. The historic streets are lined with stalls selling comic books and many internationally acclaimed cartoonists stop by for all the festival fun. Whether you are a hard-core comic fanatic or just there to view the parade, it seems that there is something for all fan levels at Raptus.
As an alternate to Raptus, The Bergen International Festival is the more well-known of the two and lasts for two weeks beginning in late May and lasting through early June.
Moldejazz – Molde International Jazz Festival (MIJF)
Not only is Moldejazz a big deal in Norway, the festival is also the oldest of its kind in Europe. The annual event draws in nearly 100,000 people who come ready to hear their favorite jazz songs performed. Featuring jazz music from all around the world, the blue mountains reflected over the water create the perfect backdrop. There are several free concerts during the festival in addition to street vendors, art exhibitions and outdoor restaurants. This highly-respected festival is commonly frequented by famous musicians and pop artists.
Nordic Light International Festival of Photography
Although Kristiansund was nearly demolished in 1940 after a treacherous bombing, the urban city has since risen from its ashes and developed into a cultural destination. Held each spring, this one-week festival profiles the best in Nordic Photography and has hosted some of the most renown photographers in the industry. It’s also an ideal opportunity for locals, students and aspiring photographers to mingle and learn from those more experienced. Workshops, portfolio viewings, exhibitions and concerts all part of festivities.
RaumaRock is one of the largest outdoor rock events in Norway. Held in Åndalsnes, an otherwise quiet town located near the Rauma River and home to the tourist friendly Rauma Railway, the weekend summer festival showcases bands big and small in the genre of rock and pop music. Established in 2002, RaumaRock has grown increasingly popular among young Norwegians who travel for the event, thus adding thousands of attendees each year.
The Norwegian Food Festival
Held every year in late August, food has been taking center stage in Ålesund since 1984. Featuring Scandinavian cuisine and wine, there are also lively outdoor concerts and competitions which create for a more exciting scene. Norwegians from all parts of the country flock to the Art Nouveau city to taste traditional to modern Scandinavian cuisine and partake in the many accompanying activities including wine and coffee tastings and cooking classes. Local hotels and restaurants often throw pop-up events during the festival.