10.000BC, a small, winding path leading up the Ekeberg is being travelled by hunters & gatherers. Fast forward a rough 12.000 years and this same road now leads up an extra 115m of elevation and is now being travelled by festival revellers who follow the luring soundwaves of Oslo’s only electronic music festival; Sommerøya.
Situated on the side of the Ekeberg, overlooking Oslo with seemingly endless sunsets accompanying its diverse line-up of local and international artists.
Sommerøya is comparatively small. It has 2 stages close to each other. One main stage, and one with the focus on the more techno side of things. The festival more than makes up for its size with the variety of entertainment on offer.
Art installations dot the festival grounds, and there is a mini-cinema showing an arthouse short film and we also find gear manufacturer Roland on site with a fully kitted stand where you can jam, play and learn about all their musical instruments.
The line-up is well spread out over its 2-day duration. Friday sees headliners like Henry Saiz (with band) and Surgeon mixed with well known Norwegian acts like Andre Bratten and Sebastian Mullaert.
On Saturday it closes down on both stages with a full-on techno assault, with Nastia and Anna closing down the Main and Techno stage respectively. The lead up to the grand finale is taken care of by names like DJ Koze, Beth Lydi and Be Svendsen.
Its Defining Factors
Besides a solid line-up and a beautiful location. There is something else that makes Sommerøya stand out above any European festivals we’ve seen so far.
On Friday, over 2,5 hours of the main stage are dedicated to the most mental back 2 back we’eve seen anywhere. 14 different Norwegian DJ’s take to the stage in one massive, musical frenzy that represents all their different styles into one set.
To be quite honest, we think it takes some guts to dedicate that much time on your prime stage to dedicate it to something so unique instead of just plastering on another big name.
On Saturday though, they take it even a step further. The ground in front of the techno stage is cleared, and the Sommerøya crew starts putting down tables.
A lot of tables.
Not quite sure what’s going on yet, the tables soon fill with hardware in all shapes and sizes. Anything from Roland TR-8‘s to Elektron Octatracks, to old-school keytars and modified Gameboys, are used in one massive live jam.
Like a grand conductor, Sommerøya staffer Mats switches between groups of 3 people jamming live together. All being pumped through the stage’s massive sound system.
For 2 hours we look and listen, in pure amazement to all the talent and musical power on display. Everything passes through the sound system, from acid to melodic techno. Each segment played live, improvised and created right in front of your eyes and ears.
And it’s this mega jam that sums up how we feel about Sommerøya the best. It is pure. There is no ‘scene’ and no pretentious booking of names that stand out just to sell tickets.
There is just a pure, pure love of electronic music, and Sommerøya is spreading the gospel.