Scandinavian Dance and Music Festivals

I was recently asked about festivals in Sweden and Norway and looked for a list without success. So I started one, and have had some input from friends. I am posting it here, and would welcome contributions from anyone with relevant information or corrections to share. I have included Denmark, Finland, and the USA.


  1. Umeå festival folk music February 26-28, 2016, or
  2. is in June, Ransätersstämman, June 9-12, 2016
  3. for Bingsjöstämman, 1 July, 2016
  4. Norrlandia Camp, July 23 – 29, 2016 and every third year, Hälsingland
  5. July 25-31, 2016 this year, awesome lineup
  6. Polskmärkes – uppdansning medal testing program for Swedish polska, the first weekend in August every year, location varies, see or and my blog post about this most recent event.
  7. Linköping and October 7-8, 2016 likely
  8. Oktoberstämman Saturday October 29, 2016, Uppsala Konsert & Kongress

Regular information sites in Sweden:

  1. musician information in Uppland Län
  2. Thursday night dance in Stockholm, Sept-April
  3. Friday night dance in Stockholm, Sept-April
  4. has dances in the summer, Wednesdays


  1. August 3-7, 2016 in Gaupne, gammaldans
  2. July 6-10, 2016, this year’s theme is “flight”
  3. Landskappleiken (the Norwegian annual national competition in traditional music and dance; lasts from Weds. afternoon to the final master concert of winners in all the different competitions and levels on Sunday). It moves around the country; this year it is in Vågå in Gudbrandsdal, 22-26 June, 2016

Finland July 7-11, 2016


  1. July 25-30, 2016
  2. Sonderho Days folk festival in July, a small local festival
  3. July 8-10, 2016 The festival at the other end of this island (Fanø). This is a small local festival

United States

Festivals, workshops, camps:

  1. Spring Springar Spree, April 29-May 1, 2016 in Takoma Park, MD  featuring Hallingspringar from Norway in 2016  (
  2. Nordic Fiddles & Feet Camp, at Camp Ogontz in New Hampshire, June 26 – July 3, 2016 (on Facebook: Nordic Fiddles & Feet Camp) featuring dances and music from Norway and Sweden
  3. Hardanger Fiddle Association of America Annual Hardingfele and Dance Workshop out on the prairie near Dodgeville, Wisconsin, July 21-24, 2016, this year featuring music and dances of Setesdal, Norway (see
  4. June 11-18, 2016, Mendocino Woodlands, California

Regular groups in the USA, links

Washington, D.C. area:

  1. There is a monthly Scandinavian dance with teaching on the third Saturday of the month September through May, led by Ross Schipper and Linda Brooks.
  2. The Mid-Atlantic Norwegian Dancers (MAND) is a loose network of Norwegiophiles centered in the Baltimore-Washington-Frederick area, holding monthly Norwegian-style house parties with potluck and dancing, often the first or second weekend of the month. I usually play a set or two for Swedish dance on nyckelharpa, sometimes joined by Bruce on mandolin and/or Melissa on nyckelharpa. (
  3. A weekly teaching dance is ideal for beginners through advanced dancers, led by Lisa Brooks and Dan Kahn on Tuesdays at the NIH (National Institutes of Health in Bethesda)
  4. American Scandinavian Association has a listing of events.
  5. Nordic Dancers is a long-standing performing group doing traditional village dances and set dances from all of Scandinavia, meeting Wednesdays and open to all.


  1. Speledans: Boston dance group (Massachusetts)
  2. Madison Scandinavian Dancing (Wisconsin)
  3. Folklore Village (Wisconsin)
  4. Scandinavian Dancing in Seattle (Washington)
  5. Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver B.C. (Canada)

Former ESI musician course participants playing together at Nordic Fiddles and Feet in July 2015.

ESI, a serious education in music and dance

I will try to explain what our schedule is like and what this education is like. What isn’t captured in the schedule is the fact that the content is very intense and thorough, and our teachers are really superb at educating us in this way.

We have classes daily M-F, 9 AM to 4:20 PM:
8:10 breakfast
9:00 lesson
10:30 fika
10:40 lesson
12:10 lunch
13:00 lesson
15:00 fika
15:20 lesson
16:20 end

For the dancers, they generally go every day until 4:20 PM. They have little homework, and aren’t practicing musical instruments.

For the musicians, one or more days a week we are scheduled to work on our own, usually at the end of the day. We spend a lot of time practicing in the evenings and weekends, and it is very helpful to be able to begin that earlier in the day. We also have a weekly, scheduled hour for us to exercise together as a class.

Musician “lessons” consist of:

  1. Regular lessons: work with teachers, learning techniques, learning tunes, discussing the music. We have three main teachers, Ditte Andersson, Olov Johansson, and Sonia Sahlström and will usually have all three each week. They teach one at a time, not together, but are very well coordinated. We also have guest teachers, some regularly and others just once per year. A regular guest teacher is Mia Marin. All of the teachers are wonderful. They each bring something different and interesting.
  2. Individual, private lessons, two each with each teacher in the fall, again in the spring. They are spaced two weeks apart with each teacher, so we can follow up on whatever we worked on in the first lesson.
  3. We play solo for the class, and discuss what that is like, what could use improvement, etc. We also play solo for the dance class, and as a group.
  4. Arranging, including chords, compositions, making a second voice or accompaniment. There is usually homework in arranging, usually transcribing a tune and adding a second voice or accompaniment. We then turn that in written on paper, and play it in class and discuss.
  5. Concerts involve a very thorough planning and rehearsal process, teaching us very important things about performing.
  6. We do an individual project in the winter, intended to take 3 hours a week over 10 weeks to put together. We produce a written document, and present the findings or results to the class in 20-30 minute presentations that include playing 5 tunes for each other on our main instrument.

Together with the dancers, we also have:

  1. Dance: every other week we spend a day dancing with the entire class
  2. Music theory: reading music, chords, rythms, transcription of tunes. There is often homework in music theory class, e.g. transcribing a tune.
  3. Singing
  4. Voice training, including vocal presentation, e.g. announcing tunes at a concert
  5. Occasional history, including a trip to a local church with medieval paintings of nyckelharpa-playing angels, and discussion of Swedish Christmas traditions
  6. Dancer-musician interaction: We have had some sessions playing for the dancers and discussing the interaction. There is a regular blog post about this very interesting phenomenon! Musicians are also taking turns playing solo for the entire class, with critique and suggestions for improving at this particular skill.
  7. The Winter and Spring concerts are done together with the dancers (the autumn concert was musicians only).

Our time in the evenings and weekends is free, but our location is remote so getting to other events is done mostly on the weekends. For example, my trips to the Norrköping dance group are on Sundays. If we do go to other events, for example Sunday evenings at Skeppis in Stockholm, we get back to Tobo very late.

This year we have 11 dancers and 9 music students. We are a very international group this year. Of the 9 music students, 6 of us play nyckelharpa and 3 play violin. Four are from Sweden, one Norway, one Switzerland, one Japan, and two from the USA.

Of the 11 dancers, five are from Sweden, one USA, two Britain, one Finland, one Denmark, and one Germany.

Seventeen of us live here in the annex to the main building. We each have our own room and bath. The others commute from Stockholm, Upplands Väsby or Uppsala. The school provides breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, but we shop, cook, eat, and clean up our own dinners, and all food on weekends. We have a shared double kitchen in the annex. It can be a lot of fun, but can be quite crowded if we all try to make our dinners at the same time.

We have three weeks off during the term, one each in the fall, winter and spring. And we have a 2.5-week break over Christmas-New Years. These breaks are much-needed and very refreshing!


Our amazing teachers, Olov Johansson, Ditte Andersson, and Sonia Sahlström.


DSC_0264 - Version 2

Dance teachers Ami Dregelid and Andreas Berchtold.


Welcome to my new blog!


I am starting a blog to share my experiences studying the nyckelharpa at the Eric Sahlström Institute.

A number of American friends have been there and done that before, including blogging about it. I hope to have something to say that will be different from others, and expect a somewhat different audience.

The “About” page tells about my interest and rationale for doing this.

The “What is Svikt?” page describes the meaning of the website name.