Moon Festival in Fredrikstad

The best Moon Festival ever!

Its Monday morning and I am lovely relaxed and a bit tired after 3 days on the World`s nicest rock festival, The Moon Festival. Now Its time to sum up some impressions from these 3 days. The first thing I am thinking about is that this festival is very little known outside its local district. The festival had deserved more attention and should be a great draw for the city Fredrikstad.

You can also enjoy the music from the garden next to the concert area.
You can also enjoy the music from the garden next to the concert area.

Månefestivalen (Moon Festival)  in Fredrikstad, a small city southeast in Norway, is organized for the 13th time this year. The first festival took place on the old shipyard grounds in Fredrikstad. But when the new football stadium was built on these grounds, the Moon Festival had to find a new location. The Moon Festival is a very versatile music festival taking place in North Europe`s best preserved fortified town, Gamlebyen every last weekend in July. This old fortified town forms a charming and idyllic frame around a festival aimed at a wide audience. The music ranges from rock, pop, jazz and folk rock. Many other artistic expressions are offered – like stand-up, jugglers, literature – and the services for children are just great!

If you ask people what the feel about The Moon Festival, the answer is most often – It’s just so nice! And it is a very nice festival; rarely do you see so many families with children as on this festival. Especially after moving to the old fortified town Gamlebyen, is the frame around the festival more family friendly. A whole part of the town is transferred during 3 days and great emphasis is placed on the aesthetic. There are flowers everywhere and the festivals special tents are helping to create an old fashion carnival mood. This year was also the beautiful garden, Kommandanthaven, behind the music arena open for the public. There was unanimous agreement that this was a great improvement and increased the satisfaction factor 200 percent. There are many well grown up people at the festival, we did grow up with this music and festivals, and now we need to be able to pull back once in a while when the music gets too heavy or the sound level too high.

Moon Children (Månebarna) have become a concept and are offered their own festival program during the 3 days the festival is going on. This program includes a lot of creative activities at Krutthuset, fairytale story telling and activities and exhibitions at Fredrikstad Museum, also located in these old city.

Ridehusplassen is the meeting place for jugglers and sircus artists.
Ridehusplassen is the meeting place for jugglers and sircus artists.
Young sircus artist in action.
Young sircus artist in action.

Of course there is a festival artist as well! This year, 2013 this is Tore Bernitz Pedersen. He is showing 22 pieces of work at Café Magenta at Bastion 5 in Gamlebyen.

This year Ulf Lundell is one of the main attractions and he is playing on Friday night. Saturday offers, among many others, Backstreet Girls and CC Cowboys. On Sunday Vinni & The Vagabonds is entering the scene together with Tommy Tokyo and Karpe Diem. And in addition to this a lot of local bands are performing on the free stage at the central square. In the late hours a lot of band, known and unknown, are performing at the club scenes.

Ulf Lundell.
Ulf Lundell.
Karpe Diem.
Karpe Diem.
Tommi Tokio.
Tommi Tokio.
Vinni managed to rock the public in early afternoon - well done!
Vinni managed to rock the public in early afternoon – well done!
Backstreet Girls lead singer Bjørn Müller.
Backstreet Girls lead singer Bjørn Müller.

Aesthetics has always been important for the organizers of The Moon Festival and ecologic philosophy has also had a large space right from the start in 2001. The old city`s central square, not only has a free stage, but is also an ecological inspirational meeting place. Here both concert-goers and people just wanting to stroll around in this beautiful and inspiring environments can meet and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine and eat ecologic food. The Moon Festival is distinguished by the fact that you can enjoy festival atmosphere without buying tickets for concerts. The concerts is taking place in closed arenas, but festival atmosphere is everywhere in this old fortified town.

This is of course a major challenge for the organizers. They risk that people don’t show up at the concerts, but only use the many free offers going on all over the old town. This year luckily this did not happen. All concerts are sold out! Still I find it very charming with a festival aimed at the whole population in Fredrikstad city and visitors from outside as well. The old fortified town is one of Norways most visited tourist attractions. Here you can enjoy music, circus artists, ecologic food and a glass of beer or wine even though you did not buy a festival pass. This requires of course that people appreciate the effort of the organizers and use money and buy tickets.

On the central square you will find two places serving ecologic food. The Moon Festival depends on a huge bunch of volunteers and some of these are responsible for all the decorations – there are flowers everywhere. You can also buy ecologically cultivated flowers back home. The festival has a big greenhouse available where they not only grow flowers, but also herbs and vegetables supplying many of the festivals kitchens. Volunteers also ensures that the whole festival area is clean at all times. Security, sales, rigging of stages and the welfare of artists and volunteers are taken care of as well. And during the three days you can also attend lectures on ecologic vegetables and herbs, lectures on vegetarian food, Urban Gardening and much more.

The Moon Festival (Månefestivalen) is a city festival and do not have its own camp. But Fredrikstad Motell and Camping is near by, just a short walk. The city of Fredrikstad has many types of accommodations and the ferry across the river Glomma, takes 2 minutes and are free. Gamlebyen itself has only one small hotel; Gamlebyen Gjestegårder.

King Fredrik II stands on the town square.
King Fredrik II stands on the town square.
The Moon Festival find it important to make the environment clean and beautiful.
The Moon Festival find it important to make the environment clean and beautiful.
The garden have many possibilities for romance and quiet moments.
The garden have many possibilities for romance and quiet moments.
The Town Square dressed in festival garb.
The Town Square dressed in festival garb.
The old fortified town has many small idyllic places.
The old fortified town has many small idyllic places.
The Moon Festival has its own flower sale.
The Moon Festival has its own flower sale.
Two happy gentlemen, Moon General Jimmi Olsen left and Jan-Kåre Fjeld.
Two happy gentlemen, Moon General Jimmi Olsen left and Jan-Kåre Fjeld.
Some queue at the ferry is just as expected!
Some line at the ferry is just as expected!
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