No less than five music festivals are being held in Oslo this weekend, with the Norwegian capital’s most multi-cultural event of the year, the annual Mela Festival, already sprawling over the waterfront plaza in front of City Hall. It was opening on Friday for a three-day run that usually attracts big crowds of food- and music lovers, who also had four other festivals to choose from. They were all advised to bring along rain gear.
Dark skies and ominous weather forecasts threatened to put a damper on the festivals being held outdoors, but bad weather doesn’t scare off many in Norway. Mela fans were likely to be drawn once again, not least by its free concerts featuring Mira Craig, Mory Kante and Zakar Hussain on Friday, Stella Mwangi (a former winner of Norway’s prelude to the Eurovision Song Contest) and Eben Jr on Saturday and Timbuktu on Sunday, plus several other artists during the course of the weekend.
The Mela Festival will also offfer dancing classes, activities for children and not least lots of food stands selling specialities from all over the world. Mela is a popular event launched to celebrate Oslo’s expanding ethnic diversity over the past two decades. Its director, Khalid Salimi, wasn’t worried about all the other festivals scheduled for the weekend, telling newspaper Dagsavisen that he thinks they only strengthen the diversity of events on offer.
They include the final events of the annual Oslo Jazz Festival and Oslo Chamber Music Festival plus the newer festivals Findings and Sommerøya. The Kon-Tiki Museum on Bygdøy was also hosting a chamber music festival of its own.