About The Festival

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Denmark is home to a multitude of music festivals. Tønder Festival is in a league of its own. For over 40 years, Tønder Festival has been Denmark’s leading platform for international folk music.

Strong position

It all began in 1974. Over the following decades, Tønder Festival earned its status as one of the most respected folk and roots music festivals in Northern Europe.

Thanks to unswerving dedication, an international outlook and local support, Tønder Festival has fulfilled the ambition and become a major, broad-based folk and roots music festival. With superb quality as a given, Tønder Festival does not merely present and mirror current music culture, it actively helps create and expand the musical environment, invigorating the culture for the benefit of the audience, the musicians, and everyone associated with it.


Since 2012, Tønder Festival has seen radical change. Folk and roots music is the centre of growing interest these days, and the new trends and musical styles are, naturally, to the fore at Tønder Festival.

The soul of the Festival

Tønder Festival is both innovation and tradition. Musically, the Festival welcomes a succession of young artists who live and work in the fertile zone bounded by folk, roots, indie rock, alternative country and singer-songwriter genres. They appear alongside the big names and veterans of the international and Danish folk roots scene. Tønder Festival is where you can hear the newest tendencies. It is also where authentic folk music lives and thrives. Binding it all together is that particular Tønder Festival atmosphere, musicians and audience in close touch with each other, and ‘handmade music’ the tangible adhesive. That unique Tønder Festival touch has always been what draws veterans and new faces to Tønder the last weekend in August every year.


  • Tønder Festival runs on the final whole weekend of August every year.
  • The first Tønder Festival took place in 1975. However, the year before there had been two folk events, one in June, one in September.
  • Tønder Festival is run by the Tønder Festival Foundation and the Tønder Festival Association.
  • The Festival Office has 4 full-time employees who deal with administration and music booking.
  • The Festival production group is led by a team of around 150 people. The total volunteer force numbers approximately 2000.
  • In 2012, Tønder Festival introduced a new format: activities were concentrated on one site and wristbands sold instead of individual concert tickets.
  • Friends of Tønder Festival is the company that runs the Hagge’s Music Pub venue, where folk and roots concerts are put on all the year round.
  • An investigation into the importance of Tønder Festival for the cultural and economic life of the town of Tønder and its surrounding area carried out in 2008 by the Copenhagen Business School revealed that Tønder Festival annually brings in business to the tune of 69 million kroner. (app. £7 million.)
  • Since 2009, Tønder Festival has been proud to have H.R.H. Princess Marie as Royal patron.
  • The Tønder Festival management changed in 2014. Carsten Panduro, festival director and artistic director for 40 years, retired. Today, Maria Theessink is artistic director and Kirstine Uhrbrand is chief administrator.
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