**Editors note: Meet my friend LJ. She made things happen and was able to attend and document her trip to Slottsjell.
When you are traveling and working on a ship voyaging across Europe – each port can seem like an entire lifetime. It has already been three ports since my visit to Norway (Russia, Sweden, and Finland) and I can feel the impressions and memories slipping away even though I don’t think I will soon forget the experience as a whole.
As the Director of the Field Office for the Semester at Sea summer 2014 voyage, my work days while we are at sea are long and laborious. We get to spend four days in each port and when I get the chance to indulge my passion for music and meeting new people in new places- I always take it. This is how I found myself among the beautiful hordes of slightly to highly inebriated Norwegians dancing all alone. It was during the exquisite My Love by Lykke Li, a favorite Swedish group of mine and my main reason for trying to attend, when she states “I dance alone with my head high” that I knew I was in for a treat.
I had traveled first by ship across four countries, then plane, then shuttle, then train, then taxi, then bus to get to the 2014 Slotsfjell Festival in Tonsburg, Norway. In our pre-port logistical mandatory meeting for the entire shipboard community we learned that Norway was utterly stunning and extremely expensive. We were told that the people were friendly, but not overly so by American standards.
I am dancing atop a beautiful rock on the festival grounds (which also housed a former Viking fortress) with an equally incredible night of endless daylight backdrop and I thought to myself “this was worth every kroner to get here”. I came for the chance to experience a different festival and different people. Even though I only made it for the headline act, my first night did not disappoint!
(Picture from http://www.slottsfjell.no/2014/08/12/slottsfjell-trenger-din-hjelp-for-a-bli-bedre)
The extremely popular Slottsfjell had been sold out for months and since I just learned about my leave from the ship, I was in a fortunate, but tough spot. By the grace of FestEvo, some helpful new friends, and my persistence, I was able to score a full day pass for the second day (and my last with ship life calling me back). With a sun drenched sky, reminiscent of my San Diego hometown, I embarked on the full repertoire of festival fun. Within mere minutes of entering the festival grounds, I was adopted by a twosome of smart and spunky party girls. They were here to have a good time and as soon as they heard my story, they wanted to make sure I did as well. I was also clearly the only U.S. citizen there and quite the anomaly.
We embarked on adventures that ranged from a twerking lesson during A$AP Ferg, me giving yoga lessons on top of picnic tables, tasting of snus, and introductions all around to all kinds of people and more musical variety than I have seen in a while. For them, the festival was about getting to hang out with their main group of friends, some leaving for home up north directly after and others traveling for University or out of Norway. For me, attending music festivals was mainly about the music, but in recent years it has also become about new experiences and people and location, especially international destinations.
On my travels I had incredible help from and discussions with everyone from the train operator, the girl at reception at my hostel, and the young girls working the festival on the ½ hour bus ride back to my hostel. I will and would highly recommend Slottsfjell to any and all of my friends and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to attend. Till next time Norway…
L.J. Hart has many titles and many festival bracelets. She has works in international education and has traveled to over 42 counties. While at home and abroad, L.J. makes it a priority to research and attend as many music, movie, yoga, and art festivals as she can (now with the help of FestEvo). Her favorites include Envision and Coachella!