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Three of the biggest music festivals in Northern Europe last week announced the first few acts for their respective 2016 programmes. Four acts - CHVRCHES, Jamie xx, Stormzy and M83 - will appear at Norway’s Oya Festival, Sweden’s Way Out West and Finland’s Flow Festival over the same weekend next year. But which is the best Nordic fest for you?

OYA FESTIVAL

Working in a sinistrodextral direction, we start with Oslo’s Oya Festival.

The longest of the three festivals, Oya programmes five nights of music - including a special ‘Club Tuesday’, known as ‘Klubbdagen’.

For the most part the festival is set in Tøyen Park (Norwegian: Tøyenparken) on the east side of Oslo’s city centre, just a 20 minute walk from Oslo Central Station.

60,000 music lovers from across Europe are expected to descend on Olso from Tuesday 9 - Saturday 13 August for next year’s festival.

Foals, Lush, Neurosis and John Lewis backed singer-songwriter Aurora have all been announced already. Dozens more are still to be named.

Why visit Oya?

Aside from the festival’s eclectic bill and green credentials, one reason to visit Oya is to explore the festival’s host city of Oslo, an often overlooked gem of Northern Europe.

A busy metropolis set amongst the Oslofjord and forests, Oslo is where modernity and Norse legend meet.

Lift your spirits and gather around the Eternal Peace Flame near the Nobel Peace Center, an attraction packed with insight on Peace Prize winners past and present. Then sail on down to the Viking Ship Museum, home to the Oseberg ship, excavated from the largest known ship burial in the world.

Despite the poor currency exchange rate, not everything is prohibitively expensive in the Norwegian capital. Vigelandsparken for example is one of Norway’s most visited attractions and totally free to visit - it contains the masterpiece below.

Sharing the same park as Oslo, the Tøyenbadet water park boasts a swimming hall, open-air pools, waterslide, diving board, sauna, and indoor climbing wall.

Vigelandsparken mad baby man
Vigelandsparken mad baby man

WAY OUT WEST

Sweden’s Way Out West fest is a music festival of two halves.

The three-day event - from Thursday 11 - Saturday 13 August - is based during the day within the 137 hectares of Slottsskogen Park and by night at the many clubs and live music venues of Gothenburg.

Considered the “lungs of Gothenburg”, Slottsskogen Park helps the city lay claim to being the greenest in Europe. Pick the wild strawberries and blueberries, wander amongst wild deer and tawny owls, then rock up for a full day of music under the lush foliage of the park’s native beech, maple, and oak trees.

Unlike many other festivals, Way Out West is truly a detox experience, it’s also one of the biggest music festivals to go completely meat free. You’ll only find the finest vegetarian or vegan cuisine.

Why go Way Out West?

Arguably the cheapest of the three Scandinavian destinations listed here (certainly cheaper than Oslo) Gothenburg packs in plenty of character and adventure for a second city and is today buzzing with nightlife and culture.

There are dozens of reason to visit the innovative port city, not least for its Liseberg Amusement Park, perfectly preserved 18th century island fortress, and its northern and southern archipelagoes.

As for the festival, their free mobile app gives you not only maps and set times but also queue statuses for the Stay Out West clubs and GPS access to find friends you’ve lost in the crowd. What else could you want?

Flow Festival

Closer to Russia than it is to Sweden, you can’t picture Helsinki’s Flow Festival without the brutalist reclaimed space of Suvilahti, the city’s former “energy production area”.

Packed with power plants, empty gas holders and brick chimney towers, the festival site is also a year round home for photography studios, artists, and creative types, its large courtyard remaining open for outdoor events like Flow.

This creative landscape informs the festival output and a programme not only of music but also visual art, film, and sculpture.

Ten acts have already been announced for the 2016 edition, including Sia, Four Tet, Herecules & Love Affair, Thee Oh Sees, and Descendents.

Flow Festival
Flow Festival

Why go to Flow?

Well, Sia’s playing for a start. The elusive Aussie is back for her first live shows in five years and will make Flow Festival her only stop in Finland next year.

Also, you’ll want to take some time to inspect the festival’s many art exhibitions. There’ll be paintings and video alongside interactive exhibitions.

Click here for more Flow Festival information or visit www.flowfestival.com/en