After last year’s successful debut, Vill Vill Vest, held in Norway’s second city of Bergen, returned to showcase more talent from the ever-thriving Norwegian music scene.

It joins the growing number of Norwegian festivals such as By:Larm, Øya, Trondheim Calling, Slottsfjell Festival, and Bergenfest 2017; however it undoubtedly offers something different to many of these with its focus pretty much solely on new music, alongside various conferences for International delegates. Infamously Sigrid in 2016 announced her signing to Island Records and UK record deal - this is a festival all about the discovery and development of Norwegian (and indeed other Scandinavian) acts.

Another strong selling-point of the festival is the city of Bergen itself, which isn’t too bad to look at. Known as the ‘city of seven mountains’ (due to the port city being surrounded by these stunning summits that offer spectacular views), it also boasts a large amount of cultural and tourist activities despite its modest size. Terraces of cute, wooden, colourful houses fill the place while the fjords remain just out of sight the other side of the mountains.

We spent a few days checking out various acts, being in denial about the price of beer, marvelling at the sassy seals, appreciating the art, and crying at the outstanding natural beauty. Here are some takeaways from our time there.

Fanny Andersen

There’s an embarrassment of riches in regards to female-fronted Scandinavian pop; and as long as acts such as Fanny Andersen exist, long may this continue we say. The Oslo-based singer set was banger-filled, with the two released tracks to date highly memorable. Her captivating performance and expressive face also added to the joy of proceedings.

‘Not a Toy’ is almost an anti-thirst-trap affair in the vein of Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’, a track about being treated shittily by your man - and one of the best pop tracks we heard over the weekend, ‘Kid’ is a gloriously upbeat yet wistful number that yearns for the simpler times of childhood innocence. It is also catchy af.

Natalie Sandtorv

Singer-songwriter Natalie Sandtorv released her debut solo album Pieces Of Solitude in late 2015, having been part of Norwegian Jazz ensemble Morning Has Occurred (of which she still is a member). The jazz influence is certainly evident in her solo work and at Landmark bar where she performed, alongside four other musicians on-stage including a masked figure, and a person in a cape. The set was an immersive experience as these various musicians trashed their instruments in a psych-freakout kind of way, feeling quite primal in some respects akin to a Goat set. Top marks to use of saxophone that dominated in some tracks. Please do go see live if you get the chance, gang.

Strange Hellos

This was joyful. Strange Hellos win the prize for Band Most Likely to Soundtrack a Late 90’s Teen Romcom Film. They’re a supergroup of sorts, with members that also feature in Aurora, The Megaphonic Thrift, Casiokids to name but a few - classic Scandinavian music community vibes.

The Bergen-based quartet (who morph into a septet live, or was I drunk and seeing double) offer a masterclass on coruscating shoegaze-inspired dreampop, with the emphasis on pop. Think Cocteau Twins with an eye on playing in a stadium, thick layers of gorgeous noise that you want to reach out and grab and eat. ‘Monumental’ and ‘Is It Me?’ demonstrate this astutely - and hey we always have time for tracks that don’t fuck around and basically begin with a chorus or the main melody. Don’t bore us, get to the chorus, right?

They’ve released a few singles this year and last, with an album due anytime on Brilliance.

The Fløibanen funicular to Mt Fløyen

If you do one tourist-based activity in Bergen, do make it taking the Fløibanen (funicular railway) to Mt. Fløyen - one of the seven aforementioned peaks that surround the city. Rumour has it you can climb all seven in one day. We did not do this.

The views as you would expect at the top - and indeed as the railway climbs - are spectacular. Once at the top you also have the option to take a walk through the woods, visit a lake, and climb one of the two other peaks nearby. The walk back down the mountain is highly recommended, but if you get tired the funicular railway stops a few times on the way down so you can be lazy and do that.

Art art art!

Bergen seems to have more art and more pop than a Lady Gaga album. There are too many art galleries and museums to mention, an impressive volume given the modest size of the city - with some beautiful looking museums a bit further out of the city that we yearn to check out one day.

Kode is one of the main institutions found downtown by the lake - a site that is split into four different buildings. Kode 4 on the ground floor displayed the work of Norwegian painter Nikolai Astrup who should be considered in the same league as Edvard Munch, with the first and second floors featuring a large collection of art ranging from 14th-century icons to Norwegian and international Modernism.

Bergen Kunsthall is all about post-modern contemporary art, with the current exhibition snappily-titled O Superman To Girls, Tricky. I Am Here, Where Are You: On Vocal Performance, which presented audio/visual installations from a collective of contemporary artists. It was a suitable way to have your mind-blown and brain-invaded on a hangover.

Bergen Aquarium (Akvariet i Bergen)

We can’t complete this article without giving mention to Bergen Aquarium. It’s not the largest Aquarium but it does have a wide variety of sea (and land)-based creatures, however, the walk there through a suburban peninsula is highly recommended. The seals were some of the most playful and sassy we’ve seen.