Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Malmöfestivalen- The Hip Side of Sweden To me there are two distinct sides of Sweden that I love. It seems to me it is both more modern and hip, and more wholesome and pure than the USA. This is embodied by IKEA- the hip side represented by the sleek Scandinavian design of the perfect chair. The IKEA folks, like many a scandinavian designer, can make a simple everyday object more beautiful, more functional, even fun. And then the wholesome side is represented by the stores offering free babysitting in the kid's playroom while you shop, and a general family friendly environment like having kid sized toilets in the bathroom at the store. And the popsicles you get with the cheap kids meal are even food coloring free. Family friendly and wholesome. I blog a lot about the 'wholesome' side of Sweden, because to me, this is the foundation of the hipness. I am raising kids. Wholesomeness is the ground work for the creative life. I think it is just Maslow's hierarchy of needs- you need to get your food, shelter, and love needs met before you can move on to the higher realms of creative thinking. Any living thing grows better with a good set of roots. A decent connection to the earth, their family, and the basic workings of the natural world are a good foundation for children. In Sweden, they so have their bases covered on the wholesomeness, they are freed up to trip and spin on the creative part, too. I have been having a love affair with the nature here, and am totally enamored with the fields of grain, the red barns, the baby horses, the daffodils, the green forested paths, the chanterelle mushrooms, and the many different kinds of wild berries. We live near the farmland in the woods, and Swedegirl goes to a Waldorf school that is all about the seasons, nature, and simple pleasures. But the best part of this simple living, is the way it can inspire your wild imagination. And the Swedes have this covered too. When we want to feel like hipsters, we just need to drive to Malmö, 30 minutes away. We spent two days in Malmö this week enjoying the Malmöfestivalen (link), which is a celebration of the Swedish creative life. Everywhere you turned, the city was decorated, and there was something fun to do, with the simple pleasures offered in a urban environment. The lamposts were made to look like flowers. There were sculptures on the streets. It is a party the whole city has just because the world is a beautiful, wonderful place and we can do whatever we want in it. Music, food, crafts, art, performances, dance. The whole city went all out for nine whole days.

This tent offered (free) fabric arts- sewing, felting, and printing. The pierced tattooed guy pictured here was sewing a heart on his jeans Swedegirl made a felted arm band, and printed on some sponges.
There is so much to do at the festival it could have kept us entertained for way more than nine days. But two was just fine for us. The things we choose to entertain ourselves were low key. We started with a picnic in Folkets park, at the rose shaped splash fountain. We managed to find a whole pack of English speaking friends, a few vacationing brits, and a Swedish mom who lived in Arizona who met and married an American, who is raising their three kids outside Stockholm. We made friends because were both wearing babies in ergos, and it turned out they had their last baby at home, too. The joy of instant connection! The girls became fast friends. We splashed in the fountain then headed off to see a movie in Barnen's Scen, 'Dunderclumpen'.
New friends turning SwedeGirl on to their favorite part of the festival- Chocolate from Malmö Chocalte Factory!
After that we headed to see a jugband! Mama don't allow no JUGBAND playin' round here. Yeah, I know, it was the festival, we could have seen Lady Sovereign, Timbuktu, or EMD, but this is the live band we watched!!

Then there were a bunch of performances we never got to, as we got sided tracked by this amazing thing. Fun, just because we can!

Swedegirl in A Bubble, in the canal of Malmö

How you get in

Me and Swedegirl!
Swedemonkey Daddy

There was tons of street food, but I have to note how many 'Moose' booths there were! (About 10,000 wild moose a year are hunted here to keep the population in check). Woked Moose? Moose Kebab (which is really like gyros, in Sweden that is called 'Kebab'), and more moose, reindeer, and wild boar!

And if you want to pass on the moose, you can wait in the long line for the Pickled Herring/ Sill! My hopes were up when I saw this sign for New Orleans food. Pralines? Crawfish? Gumbo? Po' Boys? Nah, burgers. 'American' Food! (We ate ate an American BBq place that had nice BBQ, actually.)In the American game 'Candyland', Licorice guy is the bad guy. In Sweden Licorice, especially salted licorice, is LOVE. After developing a love of circle dances at Midsommar, Swedegirl jumped right in on this exotic 'Square Dancing' lesson offered on the rink where she learned to ice skate this winter. Again, there were tons of hip dance performances, but my girl has a knack for loving the kitch like I do. She thought the lady wit htthe green skirt looked like a princess. A Swedish Square dancing Princess. And SHE danced with her! I did a nice pan of the park, you can see Muslims hoola hooping, and the hip parent park scene. Malmö Swedes know how to dress, if I did not mention that. Folkets Park is the hipster parents Scene, man. Sweden, where the parents are hipper, the clothes are cuter, and you can run around in a big ball on the water while listening to a jug band, and finish up with some stir fried moose and chocolate puddin'. Oh yeah.

"So here's a little post for the never-believers. If you think that there is nothing out there to see, that nothing is cool... yeah, yeah, yeah yeah.... Hey baby, are we having fun? "


Liquid Pen said...

This is a freakin' awesome post! I must come home and read it again. I didn't get to watch all the videos yet...and the family in a bubble!!!!! That is just way too cool. When I come to Sweden, I'm going in a bubble ride for sure!!!!!

Mama Bird said...

I am so very happy for you and your family. What an adventure!