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Photo Gallery + Review: Ruben at Steinkjerfestivalen in Norway

As summer fully blossoms, so do festivals. All over the world, people are gathering once more to experience art and community. Steinkjerfestivalen is no exception, with a solid lineup over three evenings, ranging from Norwegian folk and choir to country and fireworks. In the searing summer heat, we find Ruben. If you're Norwegian, you're most likely familiar with him, but if you've yet to fall head over heels, let me introduce you.

Ruben photographed by Eirunn Oppheim

Photo by Aaron Oppheim

Hailing from the Norwegian village of Bjarkøy, Ruben was a choir kid whose exposure to the music he currently creates came from hours spent online. With a voice sweet like honey, shamelessly yet almost timidly, he offers some of the most tear-jerking diaristic lyricism set to captivating pop melodies. His storytelling pulls fans starry-eyed into his aura, gravitating toward contemplative souls and lovestruck hearts, particularly celebrating queer ones.

Said fanbase braced scalding heat and slight oxygen shortage this Friday to experience his magnetic presence. From the moment he steps on the podium, all eyes are on him, where they stay firmly for the next hour and a half. The stage, located inside a tent filled to the brim with people, makes for an almost other-worldly atmosphere where feelings flow freely to the beat - bold, intoxicating, and nothing short of vibrant.

In hindsight, it all feels even more important to experience sexuality and queerness as effortlessly as during this gig, when we now all sit completely heartbroken after the events in Oslo not even thirteen hours later. Because at that moment, queer folks sang our hearts out, existed, CELEBRATED, our presence, our love as sweat drips, as fire warms beneath our feet. We can take the heat. We are not afraid. Love and tolerance stand stronger than hatred, and if there's anything we've learned in the recent years: our small country holds an unfathomable amount of love.

Trenger du noen å snakke med?

Hjelpetelefonen (Mental Helses gratis døgnåpne telefontjeneste)

Skeiv Verden (for LHBTIQ+ personer med minoritetsbakgrunn)

Ungdomstelefonen (Skeiv Ungdoms hjelpetelefon)


Steinkjerfestivalen in Steinkjer, Norway

June 24, 2022

Photographed by Aaron Oppheim

by Aaron Oppheim


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