We know there are a lot of festivals out there, competing with each other to offer you the most impressive line-up or most original location. But what if I told you there is a hidden gem out there? A festival that held only its third edition this year, but succeeds in offering a festival experience that combines metal and folk music, authentic folklore, stunning nature and a rich Viking history. Add a small but very international crowd and a most welcoming atmosphere and you have the recipe for a weekend that will change your life. Allow me to take a trip with you to Borre, Norway, to Midgardsblot.
|Location & Philosophy||Things To Do||Metal Music||Folk Music|
We are talking about an undiscovered gem here. Throughout the festival (17-19 August) we met only three other Belgians, while hanging out with people from Norway, other Scandinavian countries, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, USA, Argentina… With maybe only a 1000 visitors Midgardsblot is a small festival and I truly hope they keep it this way. Reviewing only the musical performances held at the festival would be an insult to what the organizers try to accomplish with this gathering, so be sure to read through the whole thing. Also, sometimes images say more than words. So be sure to check out the full photo report by our house photographer Gillian.
Location & Philosophy
Midgardsblot is located in Borre, in the Vestfold county of Norway, at the west coast of the Oslofjord. There is a direct train from Oslo Airport, passing by the capital, that stops at Skoppum. From there it is just a short bus ride to the festival site (approx. 4 km hike). If you are travelling from the capital you can also easily take a train to Moss and catch a ferry to Horten. This way you can enjoy the nice scenery of the Oslofjord for half an hour free of charge (without car). From Horten you can again take a bus or hike about 4,5 km to the festival site. During the festival you can either camp right next to the beach or spend your nights in one of the hotels in Horten. Be quick to decide though, as hotels and other options such as cabins and AirBnB sell out months before the festival!
The idea for Midgardsblot grew from the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution. The fans who have read my review know that Skuggsjá, the collaboration project between Einar Selvik of Wardruna and Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved, was a commissioned concert piece for this special occasion. Because of the success of this project and the positive reception among metal fans and fans of Viking culture, the idea grew to organize an open air festival combing these aspects. The Midgard Historical Center in Borre and the surrounding area proved to be the perfect place. The museum is located right next to an excavation site of what is presumed to have been a thriving Viking trading post. The protected park area holds the largest assembly of monumental grave mounds in Northern Europe. Just a bit down the road you have the great hall, or Gildehallen, a reconstructed Viking feasting hall that is used by the festival for intimate concerts, story telling, and beer or mead tastings.
This place bursting with historical significance is the area where Midgardsblot takes place. A blót is the term for ‘sacrifice’ in norse paganism. The sacrifice could be to the Norse gods, the spirits of the land or your ancestors. In any way, it often constituted a moment of coming together and sharing experiences, food and drinks. This is exactly what the organizers try to offer. And believe me, it is so much more than just a music festival.
Pictures by Gillian – check out the full photo report here.