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Young As You Feel

11:08 AM Wednesday 6/17/09 | |

One of the memorable sights on the first night of Norwegian Wood (June 11-14) was young boys seemingly not at all embarrassed by their fathers playing air guitars during Neil Young’s set.

An 8,500-capacity crowd packed Oslo’s Frognerbadet Park, where a natural amphitheatre creates an intimate festival atmosphere. The age range of fans at the four-day festival must have been from 8 to 80 years old, reflecting the diversity of the talent on display.

  • Norwegian Wood

    Norway's Lars Lillo-Stenberg, who is also a member of the band Young Neils, warms up for Neil Young at Oslo’s Norwegian Wood.
    June 11, 2009

    (Eigil Korsager)


“It’s the right act in the right place,” said Live Nation Norway chief Rune Lem, who books the festival’s international artists, as the middle-aged air guitarists either sang along or mimed to every word of every song.

Lem was particularly pleased because the 63-year-old U.S. headliner could have sold out venues twice the size.

Norwegian Wood’s atmosphere has earned a reputation that has attracted legendary acts to Olso to play the club show of the European festival circuit. Van Morrison (’95, ’98, 2000), The Kinks (’96), Bob Dylan (’98), Little Feat (’01), David Bowie (’04), Crosby, Stills & Nash (’05), Roger Waters (’06), and Foo Fighters (’08) are on the list of acts who have played Norwegian Wood.

Norwegian Wood’s history was detailed in a festival gallery put together by Jørgen Roll, one of the event’s founders and recently appointed event manager at Oslo’s new Telenor Arena, using a collection of posters he “found in the basement.”

The next three days didn’t produce another sell-out, but all came close as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bigbang, and Duffy filled the other headline slots.

Other acts on the bill included The Pretenders, Todd Rundgren, Keane, and Lars Lillo-Stenberg.