Visiting Sweden’s Way Out West Music Festival


Way Out West goes beyond the scope of a traditional festival blending live music with culinary adventures, innovative marketing partnerships, skate culture, and film, set against the backdrop of Gothenburg’s scenic beauty.

Pictured left to right: Adam Holmstrand, Partnership Manager Live Nation & Luger Sweden, and Moa Westerling, Partnership Production Manager Live Nation & Luger Sweden.

Way Out West music festival is a cultural melting pot where approximately 55,000 fans from all over Sweden and the globe flock to enjoy three days of music and culture. How has Way Out West earned its place as one of Sweden’s biggest festivals?

Adam: Way Out West stands out from many of the other festivals in the Nordics because it’s not only a music festival; it’s so much more.  Of course, live music is a huge part of our DNA – there’s something for everybody’s taste and we always have new artists to discover. But outside of the music, Way Out West is one of Sweden’s largest film festivals, a vegetarian high-class food experience, a night club program all over Gothenburg with Stay Out West, and even a skate park, as of recently! Above all this, the main festival area is located in the beautiful Slottsskogen park in Gothenburg, a great place to build a festival site.

Way Out West has always prioritized integrating sustainability into its operations. As sustainability becomes a bigger priority for fans worldwide, how are festival-goers encouraged to contribute to these initiatives?

Adam:For the second year in a row, we organized Greentopia with Svensk Live and Göteborg & Co., aiming to inspire the Swedish music industry to organize more sustainable live events. At the same time, we also strive to inspire the festival goers with new creative concepts and ways to make more sustainable choices during and after the festival. For example, this year, we made climate-neutral merchandise, got rid of even more disposable cups, and served wine in cans. For the second year, we continued our “Green Ticket” concept with SJ (Sweden’s largest train company), where we offered train discounts, fast track, and other perks to festival-goers who traveled to Gothenburg by train.

With that being said, we will continue to find ways to inspire and activate our festival goers (and especially ourselves) to choose more sustainable options!

We recently conducted a global study where 70% of fans agreed they’re more likely to purchase products from brands that support their sustainability habits and beliefs. How are brands leaning in to align with fan values?

Adam: Whether it’s offering products that are fully vegan or oat-based or more sustainable transportation such as trains or electric cars, many of the partners at Way Out West have robust sustainability strategies and practices implemented in their daily business. Way Out West, since we prioritize sustainability in our internal work, offers the right platform and an important channel for these brands to communicate, activate, and integrate with our fans and inform them about their sustainability initiatives. Other partners not as far along in their sustainability journey also have a great opportunity to move the needle further through a partnership with Way Out West.

Way Out West does a nice job at balancing brand activations from big names like Coca-Cola, Oatly, SJ, Visa, and Yves Saint Laurent with platforms for local businesses and grassroots organizations onsite. How does this balance contribute to a well-curated fan experience, and what branded moments did fans find most valuable at this year’s festival?

Adam: I believe our mixture of commercial partners and non-profit organizations creates the unique energetic atmosphere at Way Out West. While we want our festival goers to explore new music, we also want them to interact with all our different partners and the food experiences across the festival grounds. This year, festival-goers could stop for a dance break at Oatly’s dance floor, sing along to Tove Lo’s set at the Azalea Stage, grab a bite from the Local Chef’s Corner, and chat with Naturskyddsföreningen about their environmental work (and possibly become a member). It’s the mixture of these activities that creates a unique festival experience!

One brand activation that really stood out this year was Spotify by Höjden. For the second year in a row, they curated the Höjden Area in Slottsskogen, bringing a selection of Spotify’s most beloved playlists to life, in addition to  DJs, hang-out areas, and Planet You, a place to relax and take a break from the festival. The Höjden Area was one of our most visited and talked about areas this year and we can’t wait to see what it brings next year!

The Swedish festival scene evolves yearly as new fan trends emerge. What is Way Out West doing to stay updated with fan preferences and enhance their journey?

Adam: We conduct a thorough festival survey with Upplevelsinsitutet onsite and after the festival to collect our festival goers’ thoughts on what they’ve enjoyed, what stood out, and what can be improved for upcoming years.

But what makes Way Out West unique and keeps it evolving at the pace it has is the team behind it! Particularly the passion they have for creating a distinctive festival that blends music, food, marketing, partnerships, skating, and film into a cohesive experience. When we work together, ideas are flying all over the room, the atmosphere is open-minded, and from the partnership team’s point of view – we love to be challenged by our partner’s innovative ideas.

Related articles