In the last 10 years the music festival scene has exploded. There has, of course, been a steady stable of music festivals for decades. But recently a combination of economic, socio-philosophical and cultural factors have led to a dramatic increase in music festivals. These days people are choosing to spend their money on experiences, like music festivals, as opposed to material goods.
While you aren't going to find any complaints about this here, the one thing that can happen is some of the best festivals get buried underneath big, loud ones with endless marketing budgets.
Massive, top-tier talent festivals are like pop music. They're great and provide larger than life moments that aren't soon forgotten. But only listening to pop music limits your experience of a much broader world.
Gagnef Festival is the perfect example of how digging a bit deeper beyond the usual suspects can really pay off. Born out of a birthday party over a decade ago, Gagnef is something straight out of a movie, where the main characters get lost in the woods only to stumble upon a magical and mysterious party.
Capped at 3,000 people and taking place in rural Sweden, the festival is an intimate, free spirited affair where beautiful scenery and unfamiliar music meld into a powerful elixir freeing attendees of their inhibitions.
However, information on the festival is a bit scarce, so we caught up with Gagnef organiser Peter Schröder to help shed some light on what exactly goes down at his festival.
Pick a song that embodies your festival
Tahoult by Tamikrest (recorded live at Gagnef 2012)
Where is your festival set?
The festival is set in an old public "folkpark" alongside River Dalälven in the picturesque and historic region Dalarna in the middle of Sweden. Three hours with train from Stockholm.
Tell me a bit about your festival site
It's an open-air venue and the setting is amazing, surrounded by lush forest and a broad cold river. The park which is located on the sloop side of the river bank was built in the 1940s (as were hundreds of similar parks all over Sweden) for amusement and hedonistic festivities. There's a beautiful rotunda and a large (embedded in the topography) amphitheatre and a few other original buildings still there. We have added a sauna by the river and a sandy beach. Nearby is the old village Gagnef, very typical for the region with its red houses and round-pole fences.
When I come, where am I going to stay?
You will camp out on a grass field in the middle of the nature in a tent that can be brought or rented on site by our luxury tent service. If you're a sucker for comfort you can pick up a mobile home or a caravan.
What kind of people am I going to find here?
Curious, conscious and liberal people in age from 23-60. Most people have been here before and return for the vibrating energy and positive atmosphere and mind-blowing musical experience.
What am I going to eat?
The best food you ever had at a festival, in about 10 kitchens with handpicked super skilled chefs cooking food on site with love. It can range from pizza, hamburger and quesadillas to sushi, raw food and oysters with vegetarian alternatives in every spot.
What kind of music am I going to hear?
The best musical acts you never heard of, up and coming artists from around the globe. Desert blues, techno, rock, cumbia, hip hop, house, garage, psych, folk, dancehall, skweee, heavy metal and everything in between.
What's one of your favourite memories from a previous edition?
An after-dance sauna session and dive in the crispy river Dalälven covered in cloudy mist in early morning hours.