PADDLE KRISTIANSAND & PALMESUS MUSIC FEST
With a paddle in Oslo under our belts and a heat wave in full swing we loaded up the Ford Fugot and headed south west to our next destination Kristiansand. Our Norwegian host unfortunately could not join so we set off on our own and bid him adieu for all his help. Kristiansand is Norway’s southernmost point and is a charming little village situated right on the water with a small narrow waterway passing the town on the east emptying into the north sea. The drive from Oslo was around 4.5 hours with some pockets of traffic but never disappointed with endless lakes, valleys and summer homes along the entire route. It seemed around every corner lay a new amazing paddle spot to stop and check out but we had to press on to our final destination as we were already running late for the first night of Palmesus Music Festival and it was not to be missed. We finally pulled into town around 9pm to find a hussle bussle about the street with festival goers pouring out of houses and hotels headed towards the booming sounds of the main stage on the beach. After a quick check in at the hotel and only a few hours of midnight sun left we made our way to the small river that spilled out near the festival and paddled down and around the horn of the bay to catch a glimpse of the rage. As we rounded the corner of the bay we found thousands of people on the beach drinking and dancing and quickly had a run in with the police who said all vessels need keep 100 yards off the beach perimeter. With dark approaching we made a mad dash back to the hotel to see the festival first hand from the sand. After a long and expensive blurry evening of Norwegian style festival rage we awoke to once again a picture perfect day for the second and final day of the music fest.
Bystranda Beach and The Palmesus Music Festival
With another gorgeous day at our disposal we opted to spend some time around the sandy festival beach of Bystranda with the paddle boards and then scout some cool looking rock islands we spotted offshore. Lots of people gather on the beach early in the day before the festival security start checking for bracelets and moving the non ticketed people outside the perimeter. The festival starts at noon and runs until 1am and prior to 3-4pm most are out having a good time bronzing it up listening to the warm up Dj’s on the beach rockin out and then head home to then come out rage ready and dressed to the nines for the main event talent around 6pm until 1am. After, the night clubs are open for the after parties until 4am if you still have some pep in your step. We did some laps around the water surrounding the beach and since no one for the most part had ever seen or heard of paddle boarding we made some quick friends and offered up the boards to the many curious onlookers. Made for quite a laugh and even had some fully dressed people who clearly had a few too many bagged champagnes (Many of the people where drinking champagne from these little plastic bags that looked like Capri Suns) jump on the boards fully clothed with shoes who soon ended up in the water, so much for the soaking $250 leather jacket..
As the festival goers filled in more and more we figured it was time to head over to the rock looking Islands just offshore and check them out before we come back to join the revelers.
The Rock Islands and Harbor just off Bystranda Beach
With late afternoon approaching we made our way between the buzzing yachts and watercraft across the bay near the mouth of the harbor to a group of rocky islands. The afternoon sun was still very warm and inviting and many of the little islands had people camping or enjoying the sun from the little nooks and crannies in the rock formations. The small islands remained mostly naked of vegetation while the larger islands had huge trees of all kinds and made for lots of eye candy along the paddle. We were even joined by a few large white swans cruising around enjoying the calm waters provided by the rocks. After a little rest on land and a dip in the warm water to cool off we made our way into the harbor for lunch and docked our boards on the sand. Lots of people were just relaxing on their boats having a vino or visiting the many nice restaurants along the waterfront. After slugging a few pre rage or “forspiel” afternoon beers (forspiel means “pre party” in english) and a delicious meal of chicken and seafood in a waterfront outdoor restaurant it was time freshen up and hit Palmesus festival again for the headline performers.
Day turned night and the full moon rose once again over Bystranda beach as the festival kicked into full gear. Nothing but hordes of good looking party people lost in a sea of lasers, fog ,booming base and endless expensive champagne, beer and liquor. It was a party to be remembered and suddenly it was morning and another gorgeous Norwegian summer day. Earlier we met a very nice local Dutch waitress at the restaurant during our lunch the first day who offered to take us to some secret lakes above the city and we took her up on the offer and made plans to meet. As morning arrived she was waiting in our hotel lobby and we set off to explore this new paddle zone above the city excited to have some local knowledge on hand.