With its long, dark winters, it’s little surprise that Sweden’s natives are keen to make the most of the brighter, sunnier months. And with its endless costal islands, inland lakes, vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains, there’s certainly no shortage of dramatic scenery to provide a backdrop to the myriad of festivals and fairs that take place across the nation each summer.
Inevitably, many of these events take place in Stockholm, the country’s most famous city for good reason. But there are also a number of summer festivals and fairs that are held beyond the 14 islands of the capital. If you’re planning a trip to Sweden this summer, we’ve picked out some of the best festivals and fairs on offer.
Stockholm Writers Festival
Anyone who has visited Sweden will attest to the fact that English is spoken almost as fluently as the native language. Little surprise, therefore, that this annual festival centres on English-language writing, bringing together writers, authors, and industry professionals with the aim of helping people hone their writing skills, learn about the business of publishing and professional writing, and connect with other established and emerging wordsmiths.
LOCATION Finlandshuset, Downtown Stockholm DATES 3-5 May
Stamp collectors from across the globe descend on Stockholm each year for one of Europe’s finest exhibitions of stamps. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Royal Philatelic Society London this year, the 2019 event promises to be bigger and better than ever. There’ll be the chance to get your stamps valued as well as see some of the world’s most valuable and highly sought-after stamps, all in the scenic setting of the Waterfront Congress Centre.
LOCATION Waterfront Congress Centre DATES 29 May-2 June
Stockholm Early Music Festival
Held in the historical setting of Stockholm’s Old Town, the 17th edition of the Stockholm Early Music Festival returns to the Swedish capital this June, once again promising historical music from baroque, renaissance, and medieval times. The programme includes lunch, afternoon, and evening concerts, seminars and masterclasses, all designed to promote 1,000 years of musical heritage on the Swedish and European music scene.
LOCATION Stockholm Old Town DATES 4-9 June
Sweden Rock Festival
Classic rock, hard rock, metal and blues combine with a friendly atmosphere to make this one of Sweden’s most popular music festivals. Nestled between the ocean and grassy hillsides outside the city of Sölvesborg on Sweden’s southern coast, the event features performances across five stages, ensuring plenty of variety to satisfy revellers’ musical tastes. Unlike many other festivals, the organisers also place a strong focus on comfort for visitors, with real lavatories and 200 staff keeping the site clean at all times.
LOCATION Sölvesborg DATES 5-8 June
A Taste of Stockholm
Some 200,000 portions of food, 100,000 beers and 65,000 glasses of wine are shifted during A Taste of Stockholm each year, one of the world’s biggest food and drink festivals. Providing a platform for chefs and collaborators to rustle up a range of delectable treats from a broad spectrum of food traditions and cultures, the event attracts large numbers of both natives and visitors alike. As well as the array of foodie offerings, there are also fun-packed activities to take part in and watch, including ‘chef duels’, as well as plenty of kids entertainment.
LOCATION Kungstradgarden DATES 5-9 June
Cars & Coffee Stockholm
For one day only each year, the tranquil island of Djurgården in the heart of Stockholm plays host to a mesmerising collection of sports and supercars. Drawing car enthusiasts from far and wide, the island’s Maritime Museum exhibits up to 100 models ranging from Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches, to classic Alfa Romeos and Rolls-Royces.
LOCATION Maritime Museum, Djurgården DATES 15 June
Drakamöllan Opera Festival
Sweden has a rich operatic heritage and the heart of the country’s classical music landscape is in Drakamöllan in southern Sweden. Each year the town stages a magical opera festival under open skies, bringing music lovers from near and far together, and lending itself a reputation as the “Swedish Glyndebourne”, after the famous opera house in East Sussex, England.
LOCATION Drakamöllan DATES 22-23 June
Saxå Chamber Music Festival
Situated on Lake Saxen in a beautiful part of Central Sweden, a historic manor is the impressive setting for an acclaimed annual music festival. Featuring first class music played amid beautiful surroundings, the core of the roster of participating musicians each year is a group of leading string players from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, along with various guests.
LOCATION Saxå Herrgård DATES 23-29 June
Already a firm favourite among music lovers in several cities across the world, Lollapalooza will make its Swedish debut this June at Gärdet, a beautiful park in the heart of Stockholm. Held over an action-packed weekend, the inaugural event will feature over 70 artists performing across 4 stages. There’ll also be innovative culinary selections, art and plenty more.
LOCATION Gärdet, Stockholm DATES 28-30 June
Said to be the largest Pride event anywhere in Scandinavia, Stockholm pride has grown rapidly since its debut in 1998, with some 60,000 participants and 600,000 spectators now in regular attendance each year. The celebrations typically start with lectures and exhibitions across the city celebrating LGBT rights, lifestyles and culture, culminating with the grand finale – a dazzling, kaleidoscopic parade.
LOCATION Venues across Stockholm DATES 29 July-3 August
The Malmö Festival, aka “Malmöfestivalen”, is a bustling, vibrant street festival held over one week every August. Founded over three decades ago, making it the oldest city festival in Northern Europe, the event has gone from strength to strength and today features everything from ground breaking art, music and culture, to a variety of food that reflects the multicultural make-up of modern-day Malmo. Entrance is free for all-comers.
LOCATION Central Malmo DATES 9-16 August
Stockholm Culture Festival
For five lively summer days and nights, the streets and squares of central Stockholm are taken over by a feast of culture, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. All kinds of events and activities take place during the festival, including music performances spanning every genre under the sun, plus street art, dance workshops, stand-up comedy, photo exhibitions, theatre performances, films, talks, guided walks and plenty more.
LOCATION Venues across Stockholm DATES 13-17 August
Nordic Song Festival
Now into its fourth year, the Nordic Song Festival has become an important event on Sweden’s cultural calendar, designed to help budding music students from across the world enhance their performance skills. Featuring a number of internationally renowned names each year, the event features a rich programme of concerts, along with master classes hosted by distinguished teachers and lecturers.
LOCATION StrömsbrukDATES 17-19 August
Helsingborg Piano Festival
Taking place in the coastal city of Helsingborg in southern Sweden, this annual festival offers four evenings of top-quality concerts featuring world class pianists along with master classes, lunch concerts, lectures and other events. Notable names from the piano world to have appeared at the festival in previous years include David Fray from France, Konstantin Scherbakov from Russia, and Yekwon Sunwoo from South Korea.
LOCATION Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg DATES 29 August-30 September
Bringing together the biggest names from the worlds of electronic dance music and big-room house, Summerburst’s 2019 line-up promises another stellar cast of performers, including Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Tiësto and Will Sparks. The event takes place inside Stockholm Stadion, a sports venue originally used for the 1912 Olympic Games, and draws thousands of dance fans each year.
LOCATION Stockholm Olympic Stadium DATES 30-31 August
Over a full weekend, Sigtuna invites you to the traditional market days Sigtuna Möte, when the town steps back in time to the year 1912. The traditional market is located in the picturesque medieval town centre where you can enjoy old-style market stalls, food, music and contemporary craftsmanship. Many visitors also like to dress up in the style of the era. As well as the charming traditional market, the program also includes a clothes competition, flea market and fun games. There´s also a farmer’s market where you can pet animals and if you want to try traditional crafts, you can visit a dedicated craft district. Read more at www.destinationsigtuna.se/attraktion/sigtuna-mote/
LOCATION Sigtuna DATES 31 August-1 September
Stockholm Fringe Festival
Fans of performance art and experimental theatre visiting Stockholm in early September are in for a treat as the city plays host to the 10th anniversary edition of its annual STOFF Fringe Festival, or STOFF-X as it’s dubbed this year. Held over five days, more than 70 acts perform shows across 8 venues, offering a platform for local and international artists to showcase their artistic gifts in front of captivated audiences. The festival puts a strong emphasis on encouraging emerging artists to hone their talents and make their mark on the industry, giving visitors a unique chance to see future stars performing before they hit the big time. To mark the 10th anniversary, this year’s theme is also unique, with all work presented written, directed, choreographed and produced by female, non-binary and trans artists.
LOCATION Venues across Stockholm DATES 3-7 September
Held in Stockholm’s up-and-coming meatpacking district, known as Slaktshusområdet, this is one of the capital’s newest festivals, having been founded in 2017. Focussed on music, technology and the future, the weekend-long festival is billed as an intimate club-festival. The event has innovation at its heart, featuring an unprecedented mix of cutting edge club music, talks by influential speakers, art, conferences and a range of performances across 2-3 stages
LOCATION Slaktshusområdet, Stockholm DATES 12-14 September
Stockholm’s first and largest Latin American film festival, Panoramica’s organisers proclaim their goal to be to “spread Latin American cinema and narratives to Swedish audiences with films as a medium for cultural and artistic exchange”. Held over four days, the event hosts screenings of films and documentaries hailing from the continent, attracting large crowds of film buffs with a penchant for Latin-flavoured flicks.
LOCATION Cinemas across Stockholm DATES 17-22 September