Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pop over to the Norway Groovefest; Make a Cultural Break for It and Head for Europe's Hottest Music Festivals, Starting with This Weekend's Oya in Oslo, Says David Smyth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pop over to the Norway Groovefest; Make a Cultural Break for It and Head for Europe's Hottest Music Festivals, Starting with This Weekend's Oya in Oslo, Says David Smyth

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMYTH

I AM cycling through Oslo's hip Grunerlokka district, in a mad dash to see three men make music using a laptop, a saxophone, feta cheese and Ritz crackers. Ost & Kjeks (Cheese & Biscuits) wear suits, cravats and bowler hats and rub food into a microphone, before looping the sound into groovy rhythms.

Unwisely standing near the front, I am fishing crumbs out of my drink.

This is all part of the Oya Festival, which runs today and tomorrow in the Middelalderparken. It is sold out, but 100 day tickets are available each morning from 11am. Tonight's headliners are Velvet Revolver, the huge American rock band featuring former members of Guns N' Roses, and tomorrow it is the turn of psychedelic Brits Spiritualized and local hero Sondre Lerche.

While CD sales are falling, music festivals in Britain sell out fast, so why not venture further afield? Overseas festivals feature many of the same bands that appear at T in the Park or Glastonbury, plus there will be the joy of watching your favourite stars struggling to speak a foreign language to the crowd.

Major European festivals taking place next summer that are worth planning for now include Barcelona's Sonar ( June, www.sonar.es) and Denmark's Roskilde (July, www.roskildefestival.dk), which is often described as the European Glastonbury. But there are more still to come in 2004 (see box below).

Oya takes place 10 minutes from the centre of Oslo, while many UK festivals are either situated in the back of beyond or a short walk from Reading.

Although international stars such as Air and The Streets are playing this weekend, Oya concentrates on Norwegian acts.

Aha is just a distant memory now that Bergen-based dance duo Royksopp has sold a million copies of its album and Jaga Jazzist has become one of the hottest jazz acts in the world.

Anything on the hip Bergen record label Telle is worth buying. …

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