There was no rain to spoil the opening day of Oslo’s popular Øya music festival on Wednesday, as the singing and playing started in the early afternoon in the capital’s Tøyen district. The festival once again attracted international interest, spurred in part by the government’s support through the state music promotional agency Music Norway.
Bands like Highasakite and the pop duo Nico & Vinz are among Norwegian artists that have received financial support to help export their music. While Music Norway seeks more state funding for its efforts (as much as NOK 26.7 million for 2016, according to newspaper Dagens Næringsliv), festivals like Øya and byLarm have also attracted foreign journalists, music critics and recording industry officials, several with some of their expenses paid by Music Norway.
The Øya festival has received media coverage in Norway, not least in newspaper Aftenposten, which even suggested this week that it’s helping boost the image of the Tøyen district and spur redevelopment of the area. The festival has been running since 1999, when various players in the entertainment business gathered some of the best young Norwegian musicians at the time and gave them a showcase. The festival also carried on in the wake of the defunct Kalvøya festival in suburban Bærum that had been popular for years.
Musicians like Sondre Lerche, who played at the Øya festival in 2001 that was pelted by an unseasonal hail storm, is back this year after success in the US and was due to perform Wednesday evening. Other bands on the program include the locally well-known de Lillos, Ida Jenshus, Susanne Sundfør and Florence+the Machine. One newcomer billed as a strong debutant was 21-year-old Fay Wildhagen, who played her blend of mood and rough music Wednesday afternoon. The festival runs through Saturday night.