ND is a Copenhagen based creative consultancy run by Dorothea Gundtoft

Heartland Festival - The quintessential Scandinavian treat

Heartland Festival - The quintessential Scandinavian treat

By Dorothea Gundtoft

Heartland Festival combines the best Nordic produce with art installations, thought-provoking talks, and music you want to experience live. The festival is located in the beautiful and atmospheric gardens of Egeskov Castle in Denmark, on the island of Funen. 

We were astonished to experience a festival that catered to all ages – from families coming together with prams and baby headphones to youngsters interested in the growing sustainable food scene – or the elder generation enjoying a good glass of wine or a banquet feast by one of Scandinavia’s best chefs, the choices were many. 

If you could wish for a festival that includes all of your favourite food, drinks, music, and atmosphere, then Heartland Festival is pretty much heaven. Do you want an ecological vegan meal? Sustainable bug wraps? The best burger in the world at Gasoline Grill? Top-notch ice-cream made using organic milk from local farms? An oyster bar and a glass of local schnapps from Aqua-vitae? Some of the best Scandinavian and international acts (Patti Smith, Lykke Li, Van Morrison, Mø, etc.) 

“Heartland Festival is an attempt to create a festival unlike other existing festivals in Denmark! To be able to create this type of festival in Denmark at one of the most beautiful spots in the world is a dream come true.“ Ulrik Ørum-Petersen

We experienced thought-provoking talks by singer Jenny Wilson on the subject of the #metoo campaign – and Anders Højlund Andersen from Øhave x Michel Poulsen from Søtoftes Jordbrug discuss the future of farming, micro-life and regenerating the soil; establishing open farms that invite the consumer to get a closer relationship to the products. 

The line-up of music was a perfect mix of grand old classics, modern hits, and Scandinavian wonders, delivered by artists such as Marie Key, Coco O, Lykke Li on the Nordic front and Grizzly Bear and Patti Smith from the international scene. It was a great experience to be able to enjoy the music from one of the many elevated bars and restaurants, where you could enjoy Nordic produce while still hearing and participating in the on-going concert. 

You could also choose to enjoy a soundscape created by Bang & Olufsen, and comfortably relax underneath a giant oak tree while listening to the award-winning podcast story called “Sound Matters.”  

If breaks were needed, the park had many beautiful hidden spots between the maze-like garden where you could find a small cozy bar decorated in pink pineapple and blue bananas, or you could do a bit of vintage shopping. Later in the evening the area also caters to live art performances and sound installation. 

We joined a long line of fellow Nordic food enthusiast for the Christian F. Puglisi banquet with the theme “Michelin food to share” where we sat underneath giant teepee tents. We enjoyed a selection of charcuterie from the restaurant Bæst and sourdough bread from Mirabelle, white asparagus from a local farm, the restaurant Manfreds tartar and pork from HindsholmGrisen – a local organic farm with a goal of producing the best and most natural meat, where the animals live in the field and naturally fed. The bar by Rado served natural wine and homemade cider – a delightful selection – however I still feel that organic natural wine needs a few years more to rest in their barrels before being enjoyed. 

I almost felt as if I had entered my book ‘Real Nordic Living’ and was extremely impressed by a festival that catered to people of all ages - ready to enjoy a lovely day full of experiences in one of the most beautiful Danish gardens. Overall an excellent day combining many people's (I believe) favourite activities – local food, great gin drinks, cold rosé on the terrace, a variation of music, art and lots of knowledge to gather from inspiring talks. 

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