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How to soak up summer vibes in Sweden (yes, in February)

Six ways to bring sunshine into your life in Sweden this week, alongside our regular events listings.

How to soak up summer vibes in Sweden (yes, in February)
Barcelona's Sonar festival is bringing virtual sunshine to Stockholm this week. Photo: Manu Fernandez/TT
1. Sweat it out at the Sonar festival in Stockholm
 
The Barcelona-born music festival Sonar that specializes in unique electro sounds is heating up frozen Stockholm for the third year in a row this weekend. Energetic British DJ Annie Mac headlines alongside a host of international acts including New York's LE1F and veteran German house guru Rødhåd. 
 
After being hosted by the somewhat corporate Radisson Waterfront venue in 2015, Sonar is this year relocating to a warehouse in the suburb of Sickla. Swedish band Niki and the Dove will kick off the two-day event and couldn't hide their excitement when they emailed The Local this week. “We are so happy and honoured to be opening the Sonar Festival on Friday! Especially since it's one of our favourite festivals!” they said.
 
When: February 26th and 27th
Tickets:  One day pass 696 kronor ($80), weekend pass 950 kronor
 
 
2. Enjoy a Portuguese movie gem in Gothenburg, Stockholm or Västerås
 
Showcasing the best in contemporary Portuguese cinema in three Swedish cities this, the Frames Roots festival presents a range of movies by directors from the Mediterranean country. Among the more uplifting films on the programme is Jose and Pilar, which documents the life of the Nobel Prize Laureate José Saramago and his wife, focusing on his twin passions of writing and international travel and the pair's enduring love. Guaranteed to leave you with a warm glow!
 
When: February 22nd – 28th (Stockholm), February 27th (Gothenburg), March 2nd – 6th (Gothenburg)
Tickets: From 80 kronor or 250 kronor for a Stockholm festival pass
 

3. Sip on a Mexican cocktail at Stockholm's Yuc bar 

It's always summer inside Stockholm's hippest Mexican venue, Yuc in Odenplan. Named after the Yucatan region on the country’s east coast, here you can inject some sunshine into your life by sipping on a classic Margarita or get a kick from a sour and spicy Jalapino. The venue also serves up a host of hot tacos and ceviche and some mouthwatering desserts to help you cool off afterwards. Swedish RnB and hip hop DJ Sabri Desbasai has been booked as Yuc's new resident spring DJ and is guaranteed to get you hot under the collar.
 
Website: www.yuc.se
 
 

A photo posted by Yuc! (@yucmexican) on Jun 27, 2015 at 7:46am PDT

 
4. Go for a Salsa spin in Uppsala
 
Uppsala's dance centre offers a rainbow of international classes based on steps from sunnier climes, from Salsa, Bachata and Cubaton to Dancehall, Bollywood and Zumba. There are both drop-in lessons and longer courses, designed to get you in shape and in the groove in time for Sweden's summer. 
 
Cost: Drop in classes from 150 kronor
 

Are you ready to get your Salsa dancing shoes on? Photo: AP/Francisco Seco/TT
 
5. Soak up Cuban sounds in Gothenburg
 
You'll find a fusion of Cuban and urban beats in west Sweden this weekend with performances by Yaite Ramos and El Hijo de la Cumbia at the Kulturhuset Oceanen venue. The former is a Paris-based Cuban musician who is the daughter of Jesus 'Aguajie' Ramos, Musical Director of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra. The latter (aka Emiliano Gomez) is an acclaimed Argentinian producer who has helped Ramos to create a melting pot of rap, reggae and Nu Cumbria flavours that will virtually transport you to your dream sunshine destination.
 
When: February 26th
Tickets: 150 kronor from Billetto
Website: www.oceanen.com
 
 
6. Go for a sunny walk in Lysekil in southern Sweden
 
It's officially already spring in some parts of the country, so why not head out for a sandy stroll and feel the sun on your face this weekend (even if it's still a bit too chilly to take off your gloves). The Bohuslän region in south-western Sweden is known for its abundance of gorgeous beaches with majestic rock formations sloping down to the sea, with the old fishing town of Lysekil offering some of the best. Several glaciation periods during the ice age created the rock faces' polished look, unique to this area. 
 
 

Lysekil in southern Sweden. Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
 
Check out the interactive table below for other fun events across the country this week

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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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