Rock, beer and seafood - sounds like a Norwegian tourism slogan. Well, it’s actually the tagline of the Bukta open-air festival in the Arctic town of Tromsø. During mid-July, the boutique event takes over the southern part of the island at Telegrafbukta where the beach, the ocean, the forest and the mountains provide a stunning setting. For three days, thirty-three acts play on three stages, while the sun never dips below the horizon. Bukta showcases a diversified representation of rock music with performers ranging from the renowned international acts to the local up-and-comers.

Festival program is heavy on the Nordic acts, many which were unknown to me before the fest. Swedish rockers Hellacopters, Norwegian pop-punk band Backstreet Girls (umm, I know what you’re thinking but these guys formed in 1984, almost a decade before the Backstreet Boys formed in 1993), and “Sweden’s biggest rock star” Thåström, drew big crowds to the main stage. But the superstar of Bukta was Sondre Justad. Described as the pop prince of Norway, the youngest of the headliners had both sexes of all ages screaming for him.

Personally, I prefer the more “alternative” acts. Tromsø’s own KRYP provided raw punk at the smallest stage, Little Henrik during Thursday’s raining hour. The trio sang in their native tongue yet the music was something I could nod my head to. While another Norwegian punk band, Castro, made up of veterans of the scene brought edgy charm to the same stage on Friday, led by the charismatic female singer, Katja Benneche Osvold.

Acts outside of Scandinavia included the legendary Television, shoegaze icons Slowdive, noise rockers Metz, and post-punk buzzers Shame. As a fan of their music, I had hoped they wouldn’t be lackadaisical as they were at the Green Man festival in Wales in 2015. Unfortunately, the American band’s set paled against their fame. Slowdive’s ethereal melancholic music was the perfect soundscape to the moody cool weather of the Arctic paradise. Metz played so hard that even in a winter-jacket temperature, the Canadians were still breaking a sweat in their short-sleeves. Shame were a bit brash but definitely not boring and undeniably British.

There were some acts I missed and one particular that became a turn-off. Norwegian hard rockers Gluecifer closed out the night two, but I had to leave before their set. Singer/songwriter Lisa Skoglund played at the Little Henrik stage at its max capacity. When I did finally get in, it was the same difference as being behind the line. The notorious Dwarves were the “friendly” American. Frontman Blag Dahlia’s bantering about how they were the best band, the best looking, and the best at everything were funny at first but after a while, the bragging’s became repelling, especially in a land where humility is the custom.

Now about the beer. Having spent over a week in Tromsø before the fest, I had some time to check out the selections at the supermarket and at the bars. There seems to be more types of ales than residents in this town. As a non-beer lover, Norwegians make some of the tastiest brews. At Bukta, the local Mack brewery supplied the bulk of the alcoholic consumption, but craft beers were also available. Drinking all that hoppy goodness demands frequent trips to the WC. There’s actually a designated field where you can relieve yourself - a lot more popular with the men - naturally.

And finally about the fish. With one of the longest coastlines in the world, Norway was the second largest exporter of seafood in 2017. But the natives seem to consume plenty of it too. Bukta features all-local menu to reflect their heritage from Tromsø’s finest establishments. As delectable as they look, the main attraction is actually the free-for-all fish. As a visitor, sections of dried cod on a round wooden table with hammers was like watching an alien ship landing. Actually, watching people pounding away the pieces of fish to rip out the flesh to eat was the most hypnotic and entertaining thing about Bukta.

If you are not a fan of EDM, hot weather, and chaos, Bukta festival is for you. Even if you are, the spectacular setting of Tromsø should be enough to convince you to take a break and enjoy some beer, rock music, and hammer away some fish under the midnight sun.

backstreet_girls--2
backstreet_girls--3
backstreet_girls-0397
backstreet_girls-0411
backstreet_girls-0419
backstreet_girls-0431
backstreet_girls-1
bel_canto--2
bel_canto--3
bel_canto--4
bel_canto--5
bel_canto--6
bel_canto-
castro--2
castro-1
day1_sights--10
day1_sights--11
day1_sights--12
day1_sights--2
day1_sights--3
day1_sights--4
day1_sights--5
day1_sights--6
day1_sights--7
day1_sights--8
day1_sights--9
day1_sights-
day1_sights-0140
day1_sights-0208
day1_sights-0210
day1_sights-0236
day1_sights-0244
day2_sights--10
day2_sights--11
day2_sights--12
day2_sights--2
day2_sights--3
day2_sights--4
day2_sights--5
day2_sights--6
day2_sights--7
day2_sights--8
day2_sights--9
day2_sights-0376
day2_sights-0433
day2_sights-0442
day2_sights-0443
day2_sights-0477
day2_sights-0488
day2_sights-0540
day2_sights-0572
day2_sights-0582
day2_sights-0704
day2_sights-0710
day2_sights-0722
day2_sights-1
day3_sights--10
day3_sights--11
day3_sights--12
day3_sights--13
day3_sights--14
day3_sights--15
day3_sights--16
day3_sights--17
day3_sights--18
day3_sights--19
day3_sights--2
day3_sights--20
day3_sights--21
day3_sights--22
day3_sights--23
day3_sights--24
day3_sights--25
day3_sights--26
day3_sights--27
day3_sights--28
day3_sights--29
day3_sights--3
day3_sights--30
day3_sights--31
day3_sights--32
day3_sights--33
day3_sights--34
day3_sights--35
day3_sights--36
day3_sights--37
day3_sights--38
day3_sights--39
day3_sights--4
day3_sights--5
day3_sights--6
day3_sights--7
day3_sights--8
day3_sights--9
day3_sights-
day3_sights-0949
day3_sights-1009
day3_sights-1015
day3_sights-1019
day3_sights-1031