Tonder is essentially something that you should experience yourself. Hear the music, eat the food, dance to fiddles and bodhrans at 3 AM in the mud. I’ve been visiting this festival all my life – my parents took me with them when I was a child, and I’ve been here for maybe 7 years now with friends my own age. You’ll quickly be able to tell from the photos that people in our age group are somewhat of a minority, but that doesn’t mean the festival is any less fun! Anything can happen at Tonder. Buckle up and enjoy the ride, because there is a LOT to show and tell. I’ve done my very best to try and capture the essence and the spirit of what makes up the Tonder Festival.
Usually Tonder and rain go together hand in hand, and I really wanted to show that as well. ‘Unfortunately’, but quite lucky for us sleeping in tents, this was pretty much what we got this year!
We tend to spend a good deal of time in the camp as well as on the festival grounds. Here we can sit in relative peace and drink our own booze and eat our own breakfast which I think this year consisted mostly of chocolate bars and chips.. Don’t judge.
Many people spend not just the music days but the whole week as a camping vacation.
You can also choose to sleep in tipis or small tents elevated off the ground if you spend a little extra cash.
‘This is Tonder!’ – The Festival Atmosphere
Who does Tonder Festival appeal to? As you can see in these photos, pretty much everyone, from young to old.
I imagine the Ice cream & Waffles stand must have had an especially good year this year..!
I was visiting this year with one of my dear, old friends. Usually we are a group of 3, 4 or more girls but this year it was just us.
The Tonder Festival does a lot to emphasize its local culture in the South of Jutland. Here are restaurants (and a playground behind the camera) dedicated to our famous national park the Waddensea, and Fanø Brewhouse on the left. You can also get ‘solæg’, meaning sun eggs, which is basically eggs boiled for way too long and then filled with tabasco sauce and other spices. Even the locals don’t know why they eat them, other than because it’s tradition!
Enjoying a delicious Dark’n’Stormy at Farbar.
This year Tonder had put up a new themed area called Outlaw Village. In here there’s the Bolero stage which houses popular musicians in more intimate settings (and thus can be pretty hard to get into..) and the Front Porch for small acoustic bands.
And if you want a steak, this is where you should go!
Perfectly done and very delicious. This is one of our Tonder traditions, to eat steak at least once because they’re always very good.
Girls gone festivaling.. Any excuse for lipstick!
Who do we want to go and see next?!
We haven’t been to Tonder since 2014, so this year was the first time we saw these beautiful street lamps all over the place. We loved them!
Mormors Køkken (Grandma’s Kitchen) is one of my favorite places to eat. They make an excellent biksemad, a Danish traditional dish which is boiled potatoes and meat all mixed together in a big pan, and the Apple Dessert above was also very nice late at night between concerts..!
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This is the Millstream, a dedicated folk music store which always has a stand at Tonder Festival. One of the awesome things about the Tonder Festival is the tradition that all the musicians except the biggest names (and sometimes even them) come down to the Millstream after their concerts to sign cd’s and have a chat with us common folks. It is not uncommon at all to bump into the artists on the festival grounds and they often encourage us, from the stage, to come over and say hello.!
A packed tent, Klubscenen (The Club Scene) a little past midnight.
Where the Magic Happens – The Concerts
There are 6 or 7 stages on the festival grounds and a couple more spread out in Tonder city. Years ago this, Tent 1, was the biggest stage and you would have to buy tickets for each individual concert which would usually be with 2 or 3 artists on one bill.
Now you buy a partout ticket for the whole festival which we’ve been taking advantage of – whenever we heard something that sounded awesome we’d just go there and join the party.
Tent 2 here is the same as Tent 1 but on a smaller scale. Here with Danish band Hush – I adore her voice and she tells the most wonderful stories in between songs. Technical problems are almost welcomed because then she’ll entertain us with an extra story.!
The Front Porch in the Outlaw Village is a small acoustic stage where Hudson Taylor themselves swung by for an impromptu concert one of the days. They would probably have played Tent 1 or Open Air otherwise, but here they were, walking through the crowd to get to and from the stage.
Struggling a bit to be heard by the big crowd.!
I visited the Visemollen stage for the first time this year and loved it. Very intimate and beautiful surroundings. We went there to see Canadian Lion Bear Fox who did not disappoint – we made sure to catch them when they played again on the Open Air stage!
Pretty good looking, huh? And with this phenomenal weather..
Another cross section of the Tonder audience..
And our customary ‘feet-in-mud’ picture, which this year is actually just sneakers on top of grass.. Some years our be-wellied feet have been completely under water, even inside the tents.!
I really enjoyed the concert with American The Dustbowl Revival. Awesome music to dance to and what a show!
This is obviously the stage for the biggest names, and I’ve had so many great experiences here. It also helps it’s never hard to get close to the stage.
At the Club Scene this year we had an awesome dance night with the band Imar from Scotland/Ireland/England.
The Club Scene has a dedicated dance floor in front of the stage, it’s small and packed and the bands usually whip up a storm. I’ve had so many great, late nights in front of this stage.!
Probably my favorite concert this year was with Danish Jacob Dinesen in Tent 1. Only 21 years old and he’s got a voice that gets compared with Bruce Springsteen over and over, with good reason.
I loved the lighting at this particular concert.!
Jacob is actually from Tonder originally, so I think he was just as happy to be playing here in Tent 1 as the audience was to see him there.!
After this he took a victory lap all the way around the tent, in between the audience, while still singing. Great guy.!
Smurfs, Hats & Bagpipes – Anything Can Happen At Tonder
If I had to describe the Tonder Festival in any other word than ‘awesome’ I would probably say ‘quirky’ in the best sense possible. This here is an unusually large flock of smurfs from the Smurf Camp.
They wear this outfit all the time, everywhere during the festival, every festival, and usually you’ll be able to spot a smurf or two wherever you are at the festival.
There’s actually a whole host of people wearing funny hats at Tonder. I’m pretty sure this hat is also part of group, we did see a few of them scattered around..
Yep, me too. I was just minding my own business when this guy suddenly came over to me and gave me a balloon flower and a red nose, all while my friend couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it was so sweet!
From a red nose over a Mardi Gras parade complete with the walk-along crowd.
The campgrounds always have a collection of funny signs, anything from a murderous Santa Claus to this, which in a twist of Danish goes from the Yearly Company to the Bad Company which seems appropriate..
I have no idea how somebody managed to hang a pair of panties there.!
And of course no Tonder Festival without a band of bagpipers at full blast, here to make the (poor) kitchen volunteers work a little faster.!
And a rare, clear sunset over the Tonder camp grounds. To sum up, the Tonder Festival is a festival like no other that I would urge anyone with a love for Handmade Music to experience. I’ve done my best to make my case!
What is your favorite festival to attend? Please comment below.