With another summer of festivals drawing close to a close your thoughts might (or rather should) be turning to 2010, and which weekender to pick. Risk wind, fire and a plague of locusts at Benicassim? Swallow V Festival’s corporate schtick for another year? Give Field Day a FOURTH chance at pulling it off?
My advice, along with Glasto which is a given, would be to head north to Oya festival in Oslo. I just got back from there and this is why it gets the NME seal of approval.
Pic: Julie Loen
This year we got the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Mew, Grizzly Bear, Glasvegas, Band Of Horses and Royksopp near the top of the bill plus shitloads of good smaller bands (Gang Gang Dance, Big Pink, Florence, Crystal Antlers), big name DJs (Skream, Erol Alkan), some great surprises (Sean Kuti & Fela’s Egypt 80) and plenty of stuff to laugh at during downtime (Satyricon). Plus it’s split over four days and barely anyone overlaps.
Set in some medieval ruins by the edge of the fjord, the site is surrounded by water and history. Perfect for swimming and killing the time between bands.
Pic: Julie Loen
Pic: Erik Svendsen
After the day part, everyone makes their way to the city’s bars for the club shows, which included everyone from Junior Boys to Ladyhawke, First Aid Kit, Wooden Shjips, Holy Ghost and Heartbreak and the mighty Todd Terje.
The skate park
Early evenings they have bands like Ungdomskulen playing the adjacent skate park for an all-ages crowd that can't (or won't) pay the entrance fee.
The Tuesday night sees every bar in the city rammed full of music fans for a sprawling showcase of the best Norwegian artists. We began with ambient doom nutjobs Altaar before witnessing Captain Credible’s bizarre stage show and finally some twisted folk from Phaedra. The latter had a Mischa Barton lookalike on vocals and several guys playing everything from harps to melodicas to what looked like a box of Kleenex to a rammed basement full of Norwegians barging each other around.
The lack of drugs
After the likes of Field Day and Secret Garden Party, a site bereft of laughing gas and pill zombies was a nice change.
As mundane as it may sound, the organisers have perfected the art of carpeting. So when it did piss down on the last day, these weird membranes kept everyone dry. Beats the hay 'n' shit-suckers approach of Pilton.
Pic: Amund Ostbye
The extra-curricular possibilities
At the risk of this sounding like a “what I did on my holidays” blog, five days at Oya (which doesn’t begin until late afternoon each day) gives you loads of time to do other things. Boat cruises to the beach, walks in the forest, rooftop bars, a pub full of pinball machines, the sculpture garden, Munch’s ‘The Scream’… there’s a lot of alternatives to getting pissed in your hotel room.
The fact it’s environmentally sound
Like many (but not enough) other festivals, Oya is eco-friendly. Plus you can always get a boat there if you don’t like accruing airmiles.
That fact you don’t even have to pay at all if you don’t want to
If you’re skint, cheeky or both you could, in theory, watch all the stages from offsite, through gaps in the fence and a huge motorway bridge.