Blå‘s story dates back to their opening day, over twenty years ago, on February 28, 1998. It has always been a place for social and cultural meetups, where the visual arts, live music, lectures, graffiti, dance, and nightlife come together. It is also one of the few places in Oslo that has such a broad, diverse, and attractive social and cultural life.
On my first visit to Blå, back in 2005, I happened to randomly stumble upon it while walking the side streets of Oslo’s Grünerløkka neighborhood on one of my daily walks. Even though it was the middle of the day, I could hear the notes of a jazz band luring me closer. Since then, I always make it a point to stop by any time I make a visit to Oslo, Norway.
I’ve seen a few good concerts here in the evenings, usually of the jazz ilk, but, Blå also showcases local blues, rock, klezmer, experimental, and any other type of music you can think of.
Blå also strongly supports both both hip hop and graffiti, which came to Oslo in the mid-80s and is a vivid part of its cultural history. The graffiti provides for artistic expression and Blå serves as a gallery of sort for this type of non-commercial art in a public area located in the middle of the city along the Akerselva River, where the East of Oslo meets the West.
On Sundays (all year) there is an art market with handicrafts and second-hand goods around Blå at Grünerløkka where you can buy everything from knit wear, jewelry, ceramics, glass, wool, clothes, toys, paintings, bags, etc. from one of the many creative sellers.
Bonus tip: there is free jazz in the afternoons every Sunday! In the summer season, grab a seat outdoors and enjoy a coffee or drink along the banks of the Akerselva, under the trees, and marvel at this artistic hub nestled within the middle of a city, where you can feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle.
For more information and a current lineup of events, go here: http://www.blaaoslo.no/