Everything has not been counted, but we can state that the 29th edition of Oslo World has been the best visited in the festival's history. All in all, 27 stages in Oslo joined in on the fun - from large halls such as Oslo Konserthus, Sentrum Scene and the Opera, to the city's best club stages, such as Cosmopolite, Blå, Jaeger, Kafé Hærverk and Parkteatret.
A great thing with Oslo World is to experience how many different concert audiences that actually exist in Oslo. That you can move from the grand concert halls to the dance floors at Jaeger, Blå and Parkteatret, that fans of experimental psych-rock, Lebanese post-punk or Italian disco suddenly bump into each other (many people also like everything at once), and the way in which at various concerts you come across people from Oslo with a background from Ukraine, Senegal, Cuba or Bosnia-Herzegovina. With each passing year, all these links become more unpredictable - people's musical tastes are changing, they are more international and diverse than before - from sensational TikTok breakthroughs to newfound interest in genre experiments and traditional music from near and far. In Oslo, there are many who have fought for this development - club concepts, concert stages, journalists and music fans - and it is more and more grateful to be an arena where this change becomes visible.
An important part of any festival is to invite grand musicians from the global music scene to the city - an obvious example is Fatoumata Diawara, who closed Oslo World and was the first female African artist to play a solo concert in the Norwegian Opera in Bjørvika, ever. We haven't quite recovered yet! At the other end of the week, the Cuban legend Omara Portuondo opened the festival in Oslo Konserthus. Aftenposten's Arild R. Andersen stated that the concert was one for the memory books, and wrote the following: “This concert is about something more than musical brilliance. It carries a strong communication of lived life within it, a life-affirming quality that is embedded in the experience. (...) It is a touching moment. Oslo World has a habit of conjuring meetings for the books on the opening day."
On Friday, Mbalax legend Youssou N'Dour played in front of an ecstatic audience at Sentrum Stage - in Dagsavisen, Mode Steinkjer rolls the dice 6 and writes that "The concert at Sentrum Scene was a display of what perfect pop can be, a manifestation of the Senegalese, or the "Senegambian" music that N’Dour has more or less single-handedly defined throughout all these years."
In addition, Russian Pussy Riot put their mark on the week - they played a concert in front of a packed Cosmopolite on Saturday, took part in an artist talk in front of an equally packed Jakob’s Church on Friday and were interviewed by a number of Norwegian media, including VG an NRK News. Another visit that received a lot of attention was the Somali TikTok star Nimco Happy, who after a fair amount of bureaucracy came to Oslo and played a memorable concert on Riksscenen.
Oslo World is also about new discoveries, both from various scenes around the world and the music scene here at home. The remarkable flamenco pop artist Ingrid Jasmin released an album to rave reviews just before the festival, and convinced Dagsavisen's Steinkjer during her release party at the National Jazz Scene: "With this concert and lineup, Ingrid Jasmin places herself at the forefront of today's renewal of folk music traditions, whether you see it from Spain or Norway.”
Another artist who made their recording debut on Friday before Oslo World was violinist Inger Hannisdal, who played a concert with her band at Kafé Hærverk. "The lovely theme from one of the tracks on the album has nice living conditions in Hærverk's intimate premises. There is breath and wave in what is coming, with a saxophone sound as fragile as swaying marsh straw. Sometimes you can get the feeling that music captures the rhythm of life. It happens here." Aftenposten's Andersen wrote from the concert.
We could continue like this - we could have visited Cheb Hocine's wonderful Raï concert at Hærverk, Dubiosa's house party at Cosmopolite, Acid Mothers Temple and WaqWaq Kingdom at Blå, Kenny Dope at Jaeger, the all female rap lineup with YLTV and the fabulous club concepts Endelig Belg and Tuvas Blodklubb at Riksscenen.
There have been so many memorable moments and now we are looking forward to getting started on next year's 30th anniversary. Some artists have already been confirmed and we are excited to see your response.
Thank you so much for this year’s festival, Oslo World family!
A big thank you to the volunteers of Oslo World. You are amazing and one of a kind.
Thanks to our funding partners The City of Oslo (Oslo Kommune) and The Norwegian Arts Council (Kulturrådet) and the Norwegian national broadcasting NRK P2.
Thanks to everyone working on our 27 venues and in the Oslo scene - technicians, bartenders, bookers - and everyone of our colleagues who have paved the way this year and made culture possible: Fritt Ord, Music Norway, The Ministry of Foreign affairs, The Argentinian embassy in Oslo, The Royal Norwegian embassy in Kiev, The Royal Norwegian Embassy in London, Nairobi og Ottawa, Oslo Music and cultural school, Bergesenstiftelsen, Institut Francais, Goethe Institute, Spanish Embassy and the Spanish Tourism office in Oslo, Ramon Llull, Instituto italiano di kultura, Indonesian embassy, Nobel Peace Centre, Caféteatret and Nordic Black Theatre, Sparebankstiftelsen, Talent Norge, Norsk Tipping, Keychange, Creative Europe by the European Union, Kulturtanken, Sentralen UNG, Tankesmia Kraft, NOPA, INN, Pressens Hus, Dansens Hus, Feber, Melahuset, Oslo Pride, Safemuse, Skeiv verden, Balansekunst, Masahat, LAG, Oslo Badstuforening (Oslo Sauna association), OM:Interkulturelt Museum, Evo el- Bicycles, Trap and Bilkollektivet.
Big thanks to Tromsø World, Skien World, Bergen Internasjonale Musikkfestival and Molde Mundo, Somali Week Oslo and Nafissa Osman and to Miss Balanta for her performance on the opening night. Thank you so much.
To all musicians around the world. Thank you for filling our lives with music. To our audience, thank you for coming.