Don’t have the time, energy, or funds to go to Roskilde Festival? Happy news! There’s now a fantastic two day music festival in Malmö. Introducing: South Ocean Festival. We went there for their inaugural year to see what the festival could offer – and we were not disappointed.
The two day festival combined some of Sweden’s best musical talent with international names like Florence + The Machine and Father John Misty. The weather was perfect, the festival goers were happy, and the brand new festival came through the weekend without any bumps on the road. The best part? All of the great Scandinavian bands we saw (and fell in love with).
Here are the best Scandinavian acts we saw at South Ocean Festival:
Röyksopp is the closest thing to a Scandinavian Daft Punk you can get. Röyksopp, which means “smoke mushroom”, consists of Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland, who started experimenting with electronic music in their teens in Tromsø, northern Norway. Their career now spans more than two decades, and along the way they have collaborated with famous Nordic vocalists such as Robyn (SE) and Susanne Sundfør (NO) (amongst others). Throughout the years, they have experimented with different approaches to electronic music and their musical breadth now encompasses everything from base-heavy melancholic pieces to more upbeat tunes.
Their live show at South Ocean Festival was a display of bombastic talent, energy and sound. The enigmatic duo entered the stage donning strange hats, and the show started with a cryptic live performance with dancers wearing cloaks, and disco ball masks covering their faces.
During the performance, the duo played not only the songs that made them internationally famous, but they also remixed their own songs and flirted with their earliest tunes by mixing in fractions of their old songs in their new ones.
Albin Lee Meldau (SE)
In Sweden, there’s a type of folk song called “visor”. In our humble opinion, Albin Lee Meldau is one of the most talented and heartfelt modern “vis”-singers of the 21st century. It’s not unfair to compare his voice and manner to Cornelis Vreeswijks, who produced some of the most famous “visor” in Swedish history. Lee Maldau has also introduced some modern elements to this classical genre, and has started dabbling with singing in English, where’s his sound moves away from the traditional “visa” and starts flirting with bands like Father John Misty, Mumford & Sons and First Aid Kit.
Albin didn’t come to the festival alone – he brought a whole crowd to Malmö. With string players, a choir and handful of musicians backing him, he got the whole crowd to sing along. The concert was filled with an infectious joy. Within no time he had the audience singing along, and when he played the heartfelt song “Mamma,” there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.
Dina Ögon (SE)
Dina Ögon is a unique gem on the Swedish music scene. They released their first album in 2021 and they have since released another album and a couple of singles, all to critical acclaim. Their sound is jazzy, soulful, and playful – I could go on praising them for ever. Singer Anna Ahnlund has the voice of a songbird; you’ll have to listen to it to understand it.
Dina Ögon rocked up in matching outfits, which brought out their wholesome vibe even more. They played a time slot just as the evening had started to cool down a bit, and they set the perfect soundtrack for everyone at the festival to grab a beer, sit down with their friends, and let Dina Ögon’s funky tunes be the soundtrack for a perfect summer evening.
Benjamin Ingrosso (SE)
Buckle up for a lesson in Swedish celebrity history: Benjamin Ingrosso is part of the Swedish version of the Kardashians: the Wahlgren/Ingrosso family. His uncle is in Swedish House Mafia, his mom is an 80’s pop icon and his sister is one of Sweden’s most famous influencers. Benjamin, however, has built a music career in his own right since he was a child. He won the Swedish children’s Eurovision in the early 2000’s, and fast forward 20 years, has become one of the most beloved musicians in Sweden. His wholesome pop (and demeanour) just hits home.
Benjamin Ingrosso offered the audience a feast of double denim, sugary pop and genuine charm that would win literally anyone over. Ingrosso is a first class entertainer – he knows how and when to moves his hips, what to talk about in between songs, and most importantly of course – the man can sing. Maybe it’s a bit far-fetched to call him Sweden’s Harry Styles, yet again, it’s maybe not that far fetched.
On her Instagram, Raindear describes her music as “Bohemian electro psychedelia, desert pop”, and honestly, that kind of sums it up. And what’s not to like about that? Raindear’s songs are made for driving late at night, for being unhappily in love, or for marching decisively into a nightclub.
My biggest question is why everyone isn’t using 80’s synths the way Raindear does? It’s impressive how she allows these musical gems to take centre stage, while also managing to update their use for a 21st century audience.
Raindear played the smaller stage at the festival, called the “Friends Stage”. This was an initiative undertaken by the festival to give space to musicians who are (primarily) Malmö-based. This lets the audience not only experience the “big” names, but also get inspired to find new music to listen to. Raindear has a strong stage presence, incredible vocal range, and down-to-earth manner.
With her newest album just being released it wouldn’t surprise me if we’re going to see her playing bigger stages in the no-so-distant future.