Last year, BBC asked: “Is this the greenest music festival ever?” This year, I went there to have a look for myself, uniting two of my main interests: music and the environment. My first pleasant surprise came when a girl in an electric car pulled over saying; “Hei, are you going to Øyafestivalen? I’m here to give you an environmental friendly ride for free.” The green part already started with transportation, where the festival encouraged us to walk, bike, get a ride with the e-cars or go by public transport to the festival area. Off to a green start!

Although I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Oslo, this was my first time at Øyafestivalen and the spectacular surroundings of Middelalderparken, a tiny peninsula/park with ancient ruins surrounded by a water mirror. It was stunning! The ruins were unprotected, just with colorful signs saying stuff like “don’t jump on the ruins” and next to the water there were similar signs telling us to not throw plastic cups into the water. Walking, but not jumping, next to the ruins and water we could enjoy the music of four different stages.

The festival site and the ancient ruins and construction work in the background

Don’t jump on the ruins!

Letting in just the perfect amount of people made it possible to either chill in the green surroundings while watching the act, or staying close enough to almost touch the band. Relaxing between the acts it became obvious that means of transportation and the green scenery wasn’t the only thing making Øyafestivalen the greenest festival in Europe. Children and youth from the Young Friends of the Earth Norway were picking up empty plastic cups, sigarette butts and cardboards that they returned against a pretty good profit for their organization. Trash could be recycled through the Recyclomat, a distributed installation to increase awareness of the green profile of the festival and to change behaviour and inform about recycling and waste management.

The recyclomat

When the time came to put some food in my festival belly, I was pleased to find that all the festival restaurants served organic and vegetarian dishes. Since 2003 the festival has aimed to only serve organic food to its hungry festival guests, and the effort definitely paid off, and made me one happy vegetarian travelette!

Organic food information

Instead of diesel powered generators to give power to the concerts, this festival is powered by renewable water energy keeping even Kanye West and Pulp‘s spectacular stage shows going. No wonder that this festival has won Yourope’s Green n’ Clean festival awards as Europe’s greenest festival the last two years!

This festival doesn’t have its own camping site, and I found it pleasant to spend the night in a comfy bed and arriving newly showered to the festival site every day. After having spent a fair share of festival night in tents with poor shower facilities, this was quite refreshing! The crowd was also much more mixed than at other festivals I’ve been to, with audience in the age range of 1 to 60, the youngest festival audience got huge headsets to protect their tiny ears making it a family friendly place while still staying hip.

Here are some of my impressions of this year’s festival:

Relaxing and watching concerts from the other side of the water

The Avett Brothers in concert

Sunset with the Norwegian Opera in the background

The bands and artists also delivered fantastic music powered by the green food and electricity. The festival is known for its widespread selection of bands, from headliners like Kanye West, Lykke Li, Fleet Foxes and Pulp to local and international indie bands handpicked by the festival. I have a serious case of band crush on Wu Lyf, Crystal Fighters and Givers after the festival, and Norwegian bands like Lukestar and Razika were wonderful musical surprises!

The coolest female drummer of the festival, Givers in action!

Wu Lyf (2 photos above) was one of my favorite acts of the whole festival

Pulp with a spectacular concert Friday night

I hope to be back next year for a wonderful green music experience! Thank you for taking Oslo back with grace, Øya!.

Kathrine Opshaug Bakke Kathrine Opshaug Bakke, editor at Travelettes from 2009 to 2013, wrote this post. Originating from Norway, she has been living in Berlin, Lisbon, and Stockholm the past 6 years.

She loves cities with imperfect facades, photography, traveling by bike, vintage hunting, and everything that comes with cheese. Follow her visual diary at