- Words Notion Staff
From a surprise appearance by Phoebe Bridgers to Blur's headline performance, 2023’s Øya Festival felt like a city haven for Oslo's creative community.
Since its modest start just outside of Oslo back in ‘99, Øya Festival has been redefining expectations of what a music festival can be with its year-in-year-out offering of major acts, from upcoming artists to some of our favourite musical heroes. 2023’s edition marked no change, with a stellar selection of huge headliners – namely Blur, Wizkid, and Sigrid, and plenty more incredible up-and-comers.
As ever, this year marked many of the artists’ first times playing in Norway, including Caroline Polacheck, who drove in huge crowds with her theatrical performance. Blur debuted their 2023 comeback album, ‘The Ballad of Darren’ to roaring crowds, juxtaposed the next morning by Snail Mail’s ethereal lo-fi vibes.
Further excitement lay in the lesser-known names, especially outside of Norway. With an emphasis on bringing Norwegian artists to the forefront, the week fest is dedicated to putting artists including Sløtface, Synne Sørgjerd, and Scandipop artist, Sigrid, on an international platform.
Even after nightfall, the excitement continued on. Lots of after-hour opportunities took place through the Øyanight line-up, a series of club performances across the city. The festival’s Klubben stage was boosted by DJ sets from UK garage legend Conducta, and burgeoning Bergen artist Trym Søvdsne, and with techno from Hamburg’s own Helena Hauff. While techno hero Dave Clarke and Elkka made their presences known with stellar performances, Phoebe Bridgers and Maya Hawke popped up at Christian Lee Hutson’s late-night set.
The unique city fest, as ever, held a palpable sense of community as Oslo’s creatives and international fans gathered in the city. From progressive sustainability efforts to its stunning, easily accessible location near the Botanical Gardens and Natural History Museum, it wasn’t just the music that made this year one to treasure. Øya’s founder, Claes Olsen, shares, “We are super happy with this year’s edition. Lots of amazing artists, a great crowd and most of the changes we did at the site were successful. Now we are ready and inspired to work towards our 25th anniversary in 2024.”