Five unusual musical events in Sweden this week

Summer in Sweden brings plenty of concerts and festivals of all varieties. Here are some of the quirkiest ways to have a musical week, whatever your taste.

Five unusual musical events in Sweden this week
Photo: Rodrigo Rivas Ruiz/

1. Take a musical boat trip
What could be more idyllic than food, drink and music out on the water? The Sjöbris in Umeå is a 100-year-old converted boat where you can enjoy all those things to the soundtrack of cover bands on Tuesdays, jazz on Wednesdays and blues bands on Thursdays – as well as free entry every day. Alternatively, those in the capital can cruise Stockholm's archipelago, taking in the beautiful scenery with a delicious meal and live entertainment. The line-up changes for every cruise, so check the website and select the event you want to attend. Tickets start at 225 kronor ($27).

Photo: Henrik Trygg/

2. See a royal opera, June 16th-19th

Drottningholm Palace, situated on the island of Lovön, is well worth a trip just to see the royal family's residence and the magnificent gardens. But this weekend there's an extra reason to visit: a spectacular new opera, titled The Rococo Machine, specially created to celebrate the Drottningholm Theatre's 250-year anniversary. It tells the story of “the right to happiness and the right to rebel”, and is designed to show off the theatre's impressive staging machinery. Tickets start from 225 kronor ($27) or 125 ($15) for those under 26. English subtitles will be provided.

Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/

3. Go to an ecological festival, June 17th-19th

The Mossagårdsfestivalen in Lund describes itself as an “ecological music and experience festival” for the whole family to enjoy, and claims to be “Sweden’s most ‘mysig’ (cosy) festival”. As well as music from live bands, there will be plenty of other activities including theatrical performances, pony rides and yoga, and all food and drinks will be ecologically friendly. Tickets are 250 kronor ($30) for adults, with discounts available for families and larger groups.

4. Party on a 100-year-old railway embankment, June 18th

Pick up the Steam focuses on the roots underground music movement, and the festival is in its 2nd year. Taking place at Skanstull, Stockholm, the unique venue has been used for industrial transport, as a war hospital, and today is a sustainable urban garden. The line-up includes acts from Sweden and further afield, such as Hellbound Glory, James Leg, Svartannat, and Los Wrangos. Tickets for the day are 520 kronor ($62).

Photo: Stefan Malmesjö/Flickr

5. Get a taste of Bollywood, June 18th

Starting at 2pm, this open air celebration – the first of its kind in Sweden – is part-concert, part-food festival with a Bollywood theme. You'll be given colour packets to decorate yourself and others with, similar to the Holi festival of colours, but there will also be a colour-free zone for those who just want to listen to the music. Entry is free, but you can register on Billetto.

Photo: Steven Gerner/Flickr



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IndiskFika: The Indian dance group taking Sweden by storm

IndiskFika are a group of Indians in Sweden with a shared passion: dance. Two of the group's leaders tell The Local how they came to be finalists in Talang, one of Sweden's top TV talent shows.

IndiskFika: The Indian dance group taking Sweden by storm

“We’ve been very passionate about dance from childhood,” says co-founder Ranjithkumar Govindan, who shortens his name to Ranjith. “I’ve been dancing from childhood, like first grade. So once we got into our professional lives and career, I wanted to continue my passion.”

“Like Ranjith, I have been dancing since the age of three, ” adds Aradhana Varma, who joined the group in 2020. She’s been competing in and winning dance competitions back in her hometown of Mumbai ever since. 

With just a handful of members back in 2019, the group now numbers over 50, including dancers, videographers, choreographers, editors, and production crew, and they are still growing.

Listen to Aradhana Varna from IndiskFika on Sweden in Focus, The Local’s podcast. 

Click HERE to listen to Sweden in Focus on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Govindan says started by dancing at various events in Stockholm alongside fellow Indian dance enthusiasts before the idea came to form the troupe. “Then, one fine day, me and one of my friends, Vijay [Veeramanivanna], said ‘why don’t we do a cover song?'” he remembers. 

“He’s very passionate about camera work, cinematography. I’m very passionate about dance,” Govindan says of the collaboration. 

Their initial idea was to take advantage of their location in to shoot dance routines out in Swedish nature, in the same way that Bollywood movies sometimes shoot routines against European scenes such as Swiss mountainsides or Italian plazas. 

“Indians are very famous for movies, like Bollywood, so we wanted to do a cover video of a particular song from a movie which was going to be released. Since we are living in Sweden, we have plenty of opportunities to cover good locations and nature, so that was an idea,” he explains.

The name ‘IndiskFika’, (“Indian fika”, a fika being a Swedish term for a coffee break in the middle of the day) came from Govindan and Veeramanivanna’s wish to combine Swedish and Indian cultures. 

IndiskFika performing in the Talang talent show. Photo: TV4

“We started with five to seven people in 2019, that was the first thing we did, and we did a shoot and edited everything, then we realised that if we wanted to release it, we should have a name,” Govindan says.

“So we started thinking ‘what name should we pick for this team?’. We came up with the idea IndiskFika. Everyone knows about fika in Swedish, right?” 

Their videos, some of which have over a million views, became popular both among Indians at home and among members of the Indian community in Sweden, whose interest helped the group grow further.

More and more Indians living in Stockholm started asking to join, and soon they were doing live performances:  one at the Chalmers University in Gothenburg, and another at the Diwali celebrations held by the Västerås Indian Association. 

When the pandemic hit, IndiskFika didn’t let it stop them. They started planning a digital one-year anniversary for the group, and began looking for other groups to collaborate with. 

That was how Govindan began collaborating with Varma, who had been performing with a different dance team. “I had been performing at various events like Namaste Stockholm with a different dance team based in Stockholm since 2017, but during pandemic, everything had come to a halt since it was a tough time for all of us,” she explains.

When new people joined IndiskFika, it gave the group a new impetus. “That’s when the boost started,” Govindan remembers. “We became stronger and stronger. So, so many things happened.”

IndiskFika first came to the attention of ordinary Swedes with an article in Ingenjörenthe members’ magazine for engineering union Sveriges Ingenjörer. Many of the group’s members are IT engineers or students at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. “They did an article about us, about the engineers continuing their passion for dance, so that reached a more Swedish audience,” Govindan says. 

This led to more in-person performances, which in turn caught the eye of the producers responsible for Talang at Sweden’s broadcaster TV4.

“The Talang people said ‘we read about you and we’ve gone through all your YouTube videos, why don’t you come and participate in Talang 2022?’. The rest of the story you know. We participated in Talang, and we got a golden buzzer from David Batra in the prelims, so we went direct to the finals.”

David Batra, a Swedish comedian with an Indian father, is known for comedy series such as Kvarteret Skatan and Räkfrossa, as well as Världens sämsta indier (“World’s Worst Indian”), a series where he visits India, alongside public broadcaster SVT’s India correspondent Malin Mendel, and tries his hand at living and working in the country.

Batra is also one of four judges on Talang, whose golden buzzer meant that the dance team were awarded one of eight places in the final – four are chosen by votes and four are chosen by the Talang judges.

The group were among the top eight teams in the finals on March 18th, but for Indians in Sweden, reaching the final was a win in itself. They were invited for a fika with India’s ambassador to Sweden, where they were treated to both traditional Indian and Swedish treats.

The IndiskFika troupe on stage at TV4’s studios. Photo: TV4

Many of the group’s members work full-time alongside dancing, which can be difficult at times.

“It’s not easy to be so dedicated by spending extra effort after office hours, with hectic weekend schedules for rehearsals especially when everyone in the team has a full-time job,” Varma says. “There’s a lot of things that take place in the background from logistics to costumes, hall bookings, co-ordinating everyone’s availability, social media activities and so on.”

Like many foreigners, though, Govindan and Varma have taken their time adapting to life in Sweden. 

“All I knew about Sweden was that it was one of the cold and dark countries,” Varma says. “Eventually you start liking it, and you know, everything is worth it for the summers that you get here. The fika tradition, the amazing work/life balance, the nature, that’s the best part that we have here.”

“I didn’t have much of an idea about Sweden,” Govindan agrees. “The temperature, where I come from, throughout the year is between 25 to 40 degrees. In terms of temperature, nature, the people, everything is different.”

“India is very rich in culture, right?” Varma says when asked about the differences between Swedish and Indian culture. “We have a lot of colours and a lot of different flavours and you know, that’s the kind of performance we gave. That was the plan: to give a very energetic, powerful, and colourful performance.”