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Sweden’s best summer music festivals for 2015

The clocks go forward this weekend and summer is on the horizon. With music festivals starting in the next few months, here are our top tips to make sure you don't miss snapping up tickets for Sweden's hottest acts.

Sweden's best summer music festivals for 2015
 

Gothenburg's 'Way Out West' has attracted more than 20,000 people every year since it started in August 2007. With artists mainly from the rock, electronic and hip-hop genres, it is one of the hottest festivals in Sweden. The line-up this year includes alternative music stars such as Florence & The Machine joining forces with British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding and homegrown pop artist Tove Lo. The queen of country music, Emmylou Harris, who was recently awarded Sweden's prestigious Polar Prize, will also be there.

 
When? August 13th-15th
 

One of the hangout spots at Gothenburg's Way Out West. Photo: TT
 
 
Celebrating its fifth-year anniversary, popular house and electronic music feast Summerburst will bring thousands of music fans to its two festival locations in Gothenburg and Stockholm. Stars performing at both festivals include Afrojack, Blasterjaxx and Sweden's world famous DJ wonder Avicii. These nights of light, music and fireworks are sure to give you a real burst of summer.
 
When? May 29th-30th (Gothenburg) and June 12th-13th (Stockholm)
 

Summerburst is one of the best things about the Swedish summer. Photo: TT
 
 
This Norrköping festival is sure to tickle the excitement of the 1990s pop generation, with one of the headline acts being a former member of British boyband Take That – Robbie Williams, who will perform alongside Calvin Harris. With only two years since its creation, Bråvalla’s popularity has increased exponentially and it has sold more than 50.000 tickets every summer, making it the most visited music festival in Sweden’s history. 
 
When? June 25th-27th
 

Rapper Kanye West performs at the Bråvalla festival last year. Photo: TT
 
 
In the south of Sweden, the small town of Ystad – of Kurt WallanderScandinavian crime series fame – is set to welcome many of the big names of the jazz world. The 100-year-old Ystad Theatre building will be filled for five days of saxophones, trumpets and clarinets, as well as jazz lovers from all around the globe. Tickets and the full line-up are expected to be published in late April, so keep an eye out for more details.
 
When? July 29th-August 2nd
 

Trumpeter Nicolas Gardel played the festival last year. Photo: Serge-Miclo/Ystad Jazz Festival
 
 
It may be surprising to think of sleek, clean and 'lagom' Sweden as the cradle of dark metal, but the genre enjoys a large fan base in the Nordic country and Getaway Rock Festival has been one of its biggest exponents. So if you're a fan, don't forget to visit Gävle on Sweden's east coast this August. Over three days, bands will mix sounds from 1970s classic rock to gothic dark metal. The festival will feature acts such as old-school rockers Status Quo and power metal bands Hammerfall and female quarted Crucified Barbara.
 
When? August 6th-8th
 

Status Quo are set to perform at the Getaway Rock Festival. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/SCANPIX
 
 
This hugely popular event in the Swedish town of Borlänge in the picturesque region Dalarna was originally created in 1999 and stands out on the festival scene for donating all of its profits to humanitarian causes. With past performers including outspoken artists such as Bob Dylan and Rihanna, it is often used as an international platform to advocate for human rights and anti-racism movements. This year will include some of Sweden's most popular acts, such as rapper Timbuktu and country artist Jill Johnsson, and also the leader of Sweden's Feminist Initiative party, Gudrun Schyman, as the keynote speaker.
 
When? July 24th
 

Rihanna performing at Peace & Love back in 2012. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/SCANPIX
 
 
While not exactly a festival, Sweden's most famous amusement park puts on a whole set of gigs every year. Big names draw thousands of fans to the Stockholm park to enjoy a day of playful attractions – and great music. A huge variety of different artists for different crowds are expected to hit the stage this summer, from UK pop wonders Sam Smith and Olly Murs to Marilyn Manson. The park opens its doors on April 25th and its first concert will be by Swedish pop soul diva Veronica Maggio on May 7th.
 
When? Gigs will be organized throughout the summer. The full line-up can be found here.
 

Several hit acts are set to play Gröna Lund this summer. Photo: TT
 
 
Stockholm’s famous Gay Pride festival at the end of July offers concerts every night by friends of the lesbian, gay, bi and trans gender (LGBT) community. The event, which is the biggest of its kind in Scandinavia, draws crowds from all around Europe in search of a week of great entertainment and party spirit in Sweden's capital. Previous artists have included Ola Salo, formerly of Swedish glam rock band The Ark, and disco stars Alcazar. The main attraction, however, tends to be the massive Pride Parade which is usually attended by hundreds of thousands of participants and visitors, including many famous Swedish faces.
 
When? July 27th-August 1st
 

Stockholm Gay Pride is the biggest of its kind in Scandinavia. Photo: TT
 
 
World famous rockers Neil Young and Chrissie Hynde are just two of the acts performing at Stockholm Music & Arts this summer. But the festival aims to provide a high quality programme that not only wants to bring the big names, but also more esoteric and a wide spread of different artists to the scene. 
 
When? August 1st-3rd
 

The Music & Arts festival at Skeppsholmen island in Stockholm. Photo: Christine Olsson/SCANPIX
 
 
Storsjöyran (refer to it only as 'Yran' if you want to seem like you're in the know) is one of Sweden's oldest festivals, tracing its lineage all the way back to 1963. After a long hiatus it was reborn in 1983 to much delight. It's held in the town centre of Östersund in northern Sweden and has welcomed millions of visitors since the start. More than 26,000 people watched Lady Gaga perform there in 2009. This year, some of the biggest names will be Sting – who we think requires no further introduction – and Swedish favourites Hello Saferide and Tove Styrke.
 
When? July 31st-August 1st
 

Tove Styrke is one of the headline acts at Storsjöyran. Photo: Sören Andersson/SCANPIX
For members

CULTURE

‘Don’t wear bright colours’: Eight tips on how to dress like a Swede

Swedes have an international reputation for dressing well, with Scandi style a popular trend outside Sweden. The Local asked Swedes and foreigners living in Sweden to try and figure out the best tips and tricks for how to dress like a Swede.

'Don't wear bright colours': Eight tips on how to dress like a Swede

Black is best

When asking several Swedes their top-tips on how to dress like a Swede, many agreed – wear black.

Young professional Tove advises to keep it “all black, minimalist”. Uppsala newspaper columnist Moa agrees: “Wear a lot of black clothes and DON’T wear sneakers or ‘comfortable’ shoes, like running shoes, with dresses.”

Black is a neutral colour and, in general, if you get the neutral colours right you have got a long way in following the Swedish style. 

Neutral colours and a lot of knitwear is a good starting point. Photo: FilippaK/imagebank.sweden.se

Stay neutral 

Sweden might be saying goodbye to hundreds of years of neutrality by joining Nato, but Swedish fashion maintains its strong neutral stance when it comes to colour combinations.

Generally speaking, in autumn and winter Swedes tend to wear darker colours, as Sharon put it: “lots of beige, grey, black and ivory knits or wool. Jeans black or any shade of blue. Black tights with white sneakers for skirts and dresses”.

“Swedes in general will wear black and navy together which I’ve not seen before,” she added.

However, as the weather gets warmer, things change, as half-British half-Swedish Erik explained: “in summer/late spring Swedes change shape and personality,” adding a bit more colour to their wardrobe.

“Lots of colours yet still somewhat monochrome,” he said.

Most Swedes don’t wear a tie at work. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Follow the news trend, drop the tie

Nils, a reporter and presenter for public broadcaster SVT in western Sweden, does not always wear a tie in front of the camera – and he said his colleagues on national news don’t wear ties either.

“It’s not a must,” he said.

A blue shirt, no tie, top button open, beige chinos and a grey dinner jacket is the look he chose when presenting the evening news a few weeks ago.

Nils Arnell presenting the news on SVT Nyheter Väst. Photo: Nils Arnell/SVT

On a day to day basis Nils, who stressed that he’s “not a fashion expert”, gave the following advice: “As long as you manage to dress in a neat style, you can get away with quite a lot.”

“A white t-shirt and an overshirt work well in most situations and look stylish.”

Stay classy, even in class

Engineering student Erik (not the same Erik quoted previously) recently returned to Sweden from a one-year exchange at Birmingham University, where he noticed a big difference in student style between the two countries.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that on university campus there are so many people wearing work-out clothes, at least where I was”, he said.

“In Sweden, it’s more common to wear jeans than tracksuit bottoms, compared to the UK”. 

It’s also common to see a difference in styles even between departments at Swedish universities. The law and economics departments, for example, tend to wear more formal attire with a higher number of students wearing shirts and polos than, say, social sciences or engineering students.

Many students seem to wear a toned-down version of what they might be expected to wear in their future workplace.

When in doubt, think Jantelagen!

Equality and conformity are important concepts when it comes to many aspects of day-to-day life in Sweden, including the clothes you wear.

This doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same as everyone else, but more that being too flashy or over-the-top can be frowned upon.

This can be traced back to Jantelagen, “the law of Jante”, a set of 10 rules taken from a satirical novel written by Danish author Aksel Sandemose in the 1930s, which spells out the unwritten cultural codes that have long defined Scandinavia.

Jantelagen discourages individual success and sets average as the goal. It manifests itself in Swedish culture not only with a ‘we are all equal’ ethos but even more so a ‘don’t think you are better than anyone, ever’ mindset.

And this is seen in Swedes’ attitude to clothing, too. Flashy, expensive clothing with obvious logos or brands designed to show off your wealth breaks the first rule of Jantelagen: “You’re not to think you are anything special”.

‘Stealth wealth’

This doesn’t mean that Swedes don’t wear expensive clothes, though. They’re just not in-your-face expensive.

Felix, a podcaster from Stockholm describes it as “stealth wealth”, saying that Swedes would have no problem buying and wearing “a black jacket without any tags for 10,000kr”. 

Despite living in Sweden his whole life, he said that it’s not always easy to get the style right.

“I’m struggling myself,” he admitted.

He suggested taking a look at fashion blogger and journalist Martin Hansson for inspiration on how to dress. 

“Do NOT use bright colours,” Felix added.

Birkenstocks with socks. Photo: Carl-Olof Zimmerman/TT

Footwear

Most of those we asked said that Swedes are a fan of white trainers, most commonly Stan Smiths or Vagabonds.

With the shoes being popular all year round for men and women, this can cause issues at house parties – as Swedes take off their shoes when they come inside.

This inevitably results in confused guests at the end of the night trying to figure out just which pair of white trainers belongs to them – and trying to find one missing shoe the next day because someone accidentally walked away with one of yours is more common than you might think. 

Vans trainers are also popular amongst more alternative crowds (black of course). At work, dress shoes are popular in the winter and loafers or ballerinas in the summer.

In the summer months, you’re likely to see Birkenstock sandals on men and women. Most Swedes wear Birkenstocks without socks – unless they’re off to do their laundry in their building’s tvättstuga.

Birkenstocks are also popular as indoor shoes all-year-round, both at home and at work. It is common to have a “no outdoor shoes” policy in gyms, schools and some offices. This is to avoid bringing a lot of dirt indoors, especially in the winter months when there is snow, rain, grit and salt on the streets.

H&M’s then-CEO Rolf Eriksen wears colourful socks at a press conference in 2006. Photo: Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/SCANPIX/TT

Don’t forget the socks!

As you often take your shoes off indoors in Sweden, your socks are visible.

This has led to an unexpected trend for colourful socks with interesting patterns, which are a great way to break the monotone of neutral colours and conformity by expressing your personality – in a lagom way, of course.

A pair of colourful socks or a playful pattern will get you noticed and likely be a conversation starter at a dinner party.

What’s your best advice for dressing like a Swede? Let us know!

This article is based on the responses we received from Swedes and foreigners in Sweden on what they think you should wear if you want to follow Swedish fashion trends.

If you have any tips of your own which you think we’ve left out, let us know! You can comment on this article, send us an email at [email protected], or get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @thelocalsweden

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