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WHAT'S ON IN SWEDEN

MUSIC

What’s on in Sweden: April 23rd – 30th

Join the Swedes in welcoming the beginning of spring by lighting bonfires in honour of an eighth-century German abbess this weekend. If that sounds too weird to you, there's also plenty of music, dancing and fitness events to ensure your calendar stays jam-packed.

What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Walpurgis celebrations in Lund, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX

On Saturday, April 25th, Stockholm Culture Night (Kulturnatt Stockholm) is set to roll out the red carpet to culture lovers throughout the city and beyond.

A buffet of art, music and dance is on offer to celebrate Stockholm's cultural diversity, including ballet, DJs, jazz, opera and much more. Over 400 events will be put on between 6pm and midnight and, best of all, they are completely free.

The next day, Kiwis and Aussies are set to saddle up for the Anzac Cup at the Täby race course near Stockholm on the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day in commemoration of the countries' fallen soldiers.

Celebrating a century of Antipodean military history may seem an odd crowd-puller at the Swedish horse races, but Täby Gallop Racing Club has seen visitor numbers surge by 20 percent every year for Anzac Day since it began in 2010. Gates open at noon on Sunday, April 26th, and admission to the track is 50 kronor ($5.76). Free activities for children are also on offer, including Aussie handball and pony rides. Read The Local's interview with the man behind the event here

Meanwhile, Walpurgis ('Valborgsmässoafton' or simply 'Valborg'), one of the biggest nationwide celebrations in Sweden, kicks off on April 30th. It's mostly an excuse for people to come out of hibernation after the long Swedish winter, meet up with members of their community, light a mountainous bonfire and sing and dance.

It is celebrated all over Sweden, so consult your local council's homepage for more information. However, the real action usually occurs in the nation's student towns, Lund in the south and Uppsala in central Sweden, where revellers see in the warmer weather with music, dancing and wild student antics.

Rising Swedish star Love Antell, the former front man of Swedish rock and pop group Florence Valentin, is set to play Debaser Medis on the Södermalm island in Stockholm on April 25th. Saturday's gig on his home turf is the culmination of a nationwide spring tour to promote his latest album, 'Barn av Amerika' ('Child of America'). Doors to the Debaser club open at 7pm and Antell will take the stage at 10.30pm. Tickets to the concert are 175 kronor.

If you're keen to start getting fit in time for summer, or just want to enjoy the beautiful Swedish spring scenery, the nation's biggest organized walk will take place in Borås in south-western Sweden this weekend. The Linneaus March ('Linnémarschen'), welcomes visitors from April 25th-26th to the beautiful Rya Åsar nature reserve at Borås, visited by the famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus back in 1746. The Linnaeus March is a member of the international walking organization IML and offers something for the casual stroller as well as the keen walker, with distances ranging from six to 42 kilometres.

Check out our interactive calendar below for more tips on how to spend this week in Sweden

 

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MUSIC

What are the best concerts in Sweden this autumn?

Now that Sweden has lifted its audience restrictions for public events, The Local's Paul O'Mahony lists his recommendations for the best gigs to attend over the coming months.

Crowd at a music concert in Debaser, Stockholm
Crowds return to Stockholm venue Debaser after pandemic restrictions on events were lifted. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden’s musicians, concert promoters and venue operators have struggled to varying degrees through the pandemic. One surefire way to help get them back on their feet is to give organisers and artists the financial reassurance they need by pre-booking concerts. 

Of course these recommendations only apply if you feel safe attending large events; remember that you should stay home and take a Covid-19 test if you experience any symptoms that could be linked to the virus, even if vaccinated. And make sure to check with organisers if there are any specific coronavirus requirements you need to be aware of. 

Coming up: top gigs in Sweden over the next few months 

As a regular gig-goer, live music is the one thing I’ve missed most over the past year and a half. So it is with some excitement (and, I’ll admit, a degree of trepidation) that I prepare to go see Norwegian band Pom Poko this Friday at Hus 7 in Stockholm. Their melodic art-punk album Cheater sparked the year into life on its release in January. They’re also playing Plan B in Malmö on Saturday night

Plan B is also the venue when Squid hit Sweden with a thrilling dose of post-punk on October 15th. Tickets remain available for the show at the time of writing (an absolute steal at 120 kronor), though that’s sadly not the case in Stockholm where their October 16th gig at Melodybox sold out a long time ago. (Although you can sign up to be added to a waiting list). 

Another artist well worth checking out in October is Gothenburg guitarist and singer Amanda Werne, better known as Slowgold. Her live shows are great and she is embarking on a Swedish tour on October 8th. 

Emma-Jean Thackray, one of the UK’s most interesting jazz artists, will be at Fasching in Stockholm on October 15th

For the best kind of sonic assault, Anna von Hasswolff’s band Bada are scheduled to play in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg in late October. 

Have any of you ever seen Gothenburg electronic veterans Little Dragon live? I haven’t but might check them out in November when they swing by Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg

Amason are also heading out on the road for a Scandinavian tour in November. If you haven’t heard Amanda Bergman’s voice in a live setting before this will be a treat. 

The inimitable Sibille Attar released her superb second album A History of Silence at the start of the year and she’s finally getting the chance to play her eighties-inspired gems live at Slaktkyrkan in Stockholm on November 18th

Cassandra Jenkins long lurked in the background as a musician in touring bands for people like Eleanor Friedberger and Purple Mountains. But this year’s album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature has really established her as an artist to be reckoned with in her own right. She’s coming to Södra Teatern in Stockholm on November 26th

Always popular in this part of the world, The Jesus and Mary Chain return to Sweden for dates in Stockholm and Gothenburg at the end of November

Wry Finland-Swedish indie outfit Vasas Flora och Fauna have some of the funniest (Swedish) lyrics and catchiest tunes around. They’ll be in Stockholm and Gothenburg the first weekend of December

UK experimental rockers Black Midi are also playing Stockholm and Gothenburg on December 4th and 5th. So prepare to travel if you want to catch both them and Vasas Flora and Fauna. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Bob Hund’s annual ‘week 48’ show also takes place on December 4th. But that has been sold out for ages so no decisions to make there. It is also worth noting though that Sweden’s hardest working band has also written a musical that’s going to be performed in Helsingborg (October-November) and Gothenburg (November)

Bonus: For a post-Christmas pick-me-up try to get down to Little Simz at Slaktkyrkan on January 14th if you’re in Stockholm. The UK rapper’s new album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is one of this year’s best releases. 

Selected artists playing Sweden in 2022: Henry Rollins, Sarah Klang, Yann Tiersen, Mogwai, Pearl Charles, Wolf Alice, Lloyd Cole, Lord Huron, Future Islands, Josh Rouse + Vetiver, Tricky, Snail Mail, Porridge Radio, Aldous Harding, Shame, The Kooks, The War on Drugs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Kings of Convenience, Fontaines D.C., Alex Cameron, Lucy Dacus, The Divine Comedy, Mdou Moctar, Iggy Pop, Chubby and the Gang, Sparks, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Sharon Van Etten, Teenage Fanclub, Tindersticks, Suede, Viagra Boys, Pavement. 

For bigger arena shows, Ticketmaster covers a lot of the bases. Big-name acts with gigs in the offing include Ed Sheeran, Zara Larsson, Whitesnake and, lest we forget, ABBA

And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on. Tour schedules are busier than ever now that artists are finally getting back on the road. To keep track of what gigs are coming up I can recommend checking in with Luger, FKP Scorpio, and Live Nation. Follow your favourite venues too: sometimes they cut out the middleman and do their own booking and promotion. I also use the Bandsintown app, which comes with the added bonus of receiving messages from your favourite artists which let you pretend to be their friend. 

Enjoy the gigs, and stay safe! 

Paul O’Mahony is editorial product manager at The Local. In his spare time he plays the best new indie and alternative music as host of the Signals show on Nerve Music.

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