You are here

The history of Riddu Riđđu

The history of Riddu Riđđu

Kåfjord 1991: Some youths gather at a barbecue. They talk about identity and their roots. Why is being Saami connected to shame? Why is our Saami background not spoken about, even though Saami was the mother tounge of our grandparents?

The youth felt that this hidden identity was something they couldn’t continue to live with, they decided to rather be proud of their Sea Saami background. Through music and culture they wished to turn shame into pride. The Riddu Riđđu festival was thus started.

The youth met much resistance. Road signs with Saami names were fired at, the youth working for the festival were laughed at, spit on and poured beer over. Families were split because some in the family recognized their Saami heritage while others denied it.

But the youth didn’t give up, the festival grew in breadth and scope. The resistance against the Saami became less and less agressive. They received support and recognition from local authorities, the public and artists. Several began using the traditional Saami dress and learn the Saami language. In 2009 they also received national recognition when Riddu Riđđu, as one of 12 festivals in Norway, received status as a hub festival, which made it a fixed item on the state budget.

Kåfjord 2019 Today Riddu Riđđu has 4 permanent empolyees in addition to a staff of 120 people that year round contributes with an invaluably huge manpower for planning, preparation and execution of the festival. About 200 volunteers help during the liquidation of the festival. The ripple effects of the festival are economic development, the desire to move to and year-round activity in Kåfjord. But most importantly; more proud youths with straight backs can state that they have a Saami background.


  • The logo of Riddu Riđđu is called «Riebangárdi». It comes from a childrens game where a fox tries to catch a hare who runs along a circular path.
  • Riddu Riđđu means «A small storm on the coast». 

Want some more information about the festival? Here are some tips! 

  • The book "Storm på kysten" by Lene Hansen, Margbok 2008. You can buy the book here
  • The film "Biekka fabmu" produced by Stein Bjørn (2012) Teaser here
  • The film " Greater than ourselves" produced by Anita Lervoll (2004)