INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVALS REACT TO MANCHESTER ATTACK

As music festivals in Norway grow, the danger of attending a concert also rises. The Manchester bomb attack following an Ariana Grande concert killed 23 attendees and wounded many more. Festival and concert organizers in the U.K., the U.S., and Norway, which has one of the highest per capita music event attendance rates in the world, are keenly aware of security concerns.

The repercussions of the UK attack can be seen in the U.S. as additional security precautions are adopted. Several major concert venues have already heightened their security measures, including Madison Square Garden in New York City. MSG sent out a memo on May 23 detailing the venue’s commitment to “increased diligence in screening” and “greater on-site police presence.” Many other American venue managers have taken similar actions.

Norwegian venue organizers have also taken precautions in the wake of Manchester.

Oslo Musikkfest, held on June 3, 2017, is the largest annual one-day music festival in the country with venues spread throughout the Norwegian capital. This year saw 50 venues hosting over 450 bands, which is an increase from 2016, which had 38 stages and about 300 bands. All performances were free of charge and nearly all music genres were represented.

The free festival draws in tens of thousands of attendees every year. “It’s absolutely possible that it was about 50,000 to 100,000 attendees,” Mina Evenrud, director of Musikkfest, said.

A report by the National Knowledge Center for Cultural Industries showed that over 1.8 million people attended a festival in Norway in 2014, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the country’s population.

With such a high level of festival attendance, threats toward the crowd’s well-being are a key concern for organizers.

“We have good and ongoing communication with the Oslo police,” Evenrud said. “We want people to feel safe at Musikkfest.”

After the Manchester attack, the Norwegian Police Security Service determined that the threat level in Norway had not risen.

The level of security at each of the given stages was left up to the venue promoter. Evenrud encouraged both the audience and local promoters to call the police if they noticed any suspicious activity.

With an event that is outdoors, without closed-off areas and open to the public, it is difficult to implement any comprehensive security precautions. When asked about implementing security precautions, Evenrud was intent on remaining strong and steadfast against any threat that may arise.

However, applying too many security measures may not be the best solution. “But then we give in to what the terrorists want,” Evenrud said, “to scare people from living normal lives. And is that what we want, to have armed police on every corner. Will you then feel safe or would you feel monitored?”

Evenrud continued to say that it is a very complex situation. The issue of security will continue to be an ongoing topic of discussion for future years of Musikkfest as well as other festivals and concert venues around the world.

Similar conversations regarding security were also held by BergenFest organizers, the largest festival on Norway’s west coast and one of the leading music festivals in Norway. BergenFest was held June 14 to 17, 2017, at Bergenhus Castle in Bergen, Norway.

“We spend a lot of time planning for our events to be safe,” Ole Morten Algerøy, BergenFest press manager, said. “We feel that we have taken precautions.”

Prior to the beginning Bergenfest, a post on its website explained the venue ensures the audience is as safe as can be. The post detailed how to best move around the venue, how to pack and what security measures have been put in place.

“In times like this, it is even more important to make people come together and appreciate each other and appreciate the music,” Algerøy said.

As music festival culture continues to grow and expand, an ongoing topic of conversation will detail what actions need to be taken in order to provide a secure environment for people to enjoy art and music.

​FIRST NORWEGIAN SUPERHERO IS AN AFRICAN IMMIGRANT AND SCHOOL TEACHER

Josef Yohannes is the creator of “The Urban Legend,” about the protagonist he claims is the first Norwegian superhero. The comic series features a black African immigrant who fights street crime with martial arts skills, protects the innocent, and is committed to justice in the fictional setting of Capital City, a city ravaged by corruption.

The first issue of “The Urban Legend” was published in January 2012 in Norway. The comic was received with critical acclaim and garnered a digital publishing deal with USA Today.

“The Urban Legend” follows the story of Malcolm Tzegai Madiba, a 29-year-old high school teacher. As Capital City is nearly bankrupt, and the police force is cut back causing crime to take over, Malcolm dons the alter ego of The Urban Legends to fight crime’s reign over the city.

“I got the idea in 2010 when I visited Africa, went all over the place and saw a lot of things that changed my life forever,” Yohannes, who studied political science and human rights at the University of Oslo, said. “I saw a lot of poverty and I saw a lot of kids without any parents or role models.”

This is the thought that drove Yohannes to create a superhero that can inspire kids to believe that they can be somebody important in this world. From there, Yohannes developed his concept for “The Urban Legend.”

Yohannes had a very clear vision of how he desired his superhero to be during its conception. He wanted to create a very human superhero people could relate to and see pieces of themselves in.

“I think a lot of people see something in him that they wish they could see in themselves,” Yohannes said. “Like standing up for the people who cannot stand up for themselves and giving people who don’t have a voice a voice, and then just fighting against injustice and crime in a whole different way than all the other superheroes.”

The Urban Legend has set a significant precedent as the first Norwegian superhero. The superhero market in Norway is not nearly as strong is in the U.S. and Asia. That he is black, an immigrant and a school teacher are factors that also resonate in comics culture in the U.S. and abroad.

In the history of popular comic series, representation of people of color has not been relative to population demographics. Comics have had a long history of “whitewashing” their main characters. Through “The Urban Legend,” Yohannes is creating a wider, comprehensive scope of representation and providing a role model for those who otherwise would not have one.

Yohannes has also used “The Urban Legend” as a tool to address social issues through several collaborations. A Nobel edition focusing on Ebola was created in accordance with the 10th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Center.

Yohannes also collaborated with the Malala Fund to focus on education for girl’s rights. The comic sheet created from this collaboration was incorporated into school curriculum in Norway.

Along with being a part of curriculum in Norway, “The Urban Legend” is also taught in schools in South Africa, Kenya, Eritrea and Brazil, in subjects including Norwegian, English and media and communications.

The goal of “The Urban Legend” is to inspire youth to educate themselves and, in doing so, change the world in the process, Yohannes said.

“I want my superhero ‘The Urban Legend’ to really stand for something,” Yohannes said. “To not only inspire a whole generation but to also empower them and make them believe they can be somebody and that if you want to change something in this world, you need to change yourself first.”

The world of “The Urban Legend” is looking to grow internationally and Yohannes is also in talks with a major Hollywood studio to discuss the potential of turning the beloved comic into a movie.

Norwegian teens graduate school of rock

By Jack Hastings

The future of the Norwegian music industry is in good hands as the younger generation begins to take over. Daniela Reyes, Sivert Sivertsen and other teenage rock stars are actively working to make meaningful music that is both skillfully crafted and audibly pleasing.

Singer-songwriter Reyes is a force of nature. The 18-year-old songstress displays both the innocent and the mighty in her songwriting and performances.

Daniella Reyes Holmsen lives in Asker, Oslo. She is a young music sensation, inspiration for kids and future for women in Norway. Reyes started playing the accordion when she was five years old and continued to be interested in music since then.  

“I can express myself with music in a way I can’t with other things,” Reyes said.

Geir Holmsen, Reyes’ father feels proud of his daughter’s achievements.

Reyes’ parents adopted Daniella from Columbia when she was two months old.  

“We think she has defined her own way,” Holmsen said. “For us it is not very important that she is popular, it is important she enjoys playing music and it’s nice to see that she is starting to be very good.”

Music runs in the family as Holmsen is a music composer and professor of music and Reyes’ mother is a singer. Reyes also recently got accepted into the prestigious Norwegian Music Academy and her parents are in full support of whatever she aims for.

At this year’s Musikkfest in Oslo, Reyes was playing the AKKS stage at Arbeidersamfunnets plass.

“This is a stage we have been booking since 2009,” Aria Rødseth, organizer of the AKKS stage, said. “We’re scanning the field for really cool artists that we believe in. That’s who we are putting on the stage.”

“Always women and always female instrumentalists are important because those are the role models we want to put on stage,” Rødseth said.

Among the concert’s attendees were two of Reyes’ classmates, Lea Somner and Ronja Sulber.

“We are in the same music class and she’s always been doing music and doing her thing,” Somner said. “She plays many different instruments.”

“Yes, guitar, bass, drums and lots of harmonies,” Sulber said.

When Reyes is not performing with a backing band, she will build a song from scratch using loop station, a software that allows musicians to record each individual track of a song so that they play on top of each other. Through this, Reyes creates lush soundscapes with her voice and guitar.

“It was really different than anything I had ever heard before,” Somner said.

Although she has not formally released any music yet, Reyes is in the beginning of a rewarding career. Reyes has performed at various other festivals outside of Musikkfest, including OverOslo and MiniOya.

Reyes is not the only teenager receiving success in the Norwegian music industry. Sivert Sivertsen is an 18-year-old musician and songwriter creating jazz and soul-influenced pop music.

Although Sivertsen is now performing with a band, he began writing music own his own and released his first song “Thinking About” at only 11 years old.

“I’ve been a solo artist for about four years,” Sivertsen said. “I formed the band as a musical gathering for my friends to come and play my songs and then we just got asked to play here at Musikkfest.”

In October 2016, Sivertsen released the band’s debut single,which hit 100,000 plays on Spotify within three months and peaked on major Norwegian charts.

Both Sivertsen and Reyes will continue to make promising music as they head further into their music careers.

 

Interview: Oslo Ess

Punk band Oslo Ess’s rock music is transcending audiences and country borders as they turn the humdrum into the spectacular.

“We want to tell stories about our lives,” vocalist and guitarist Asmund Lande said. “We kind of have a Bruce Springsteen perspective on it all, you know, like the working class perspective on it because that’s where we’re from.”

Oslo Ess’s humble approach to crafting driving punk rock songs brings the genre down to the level of the everyday person. Throughout the band’s discography and in their disposition, the men of Oslo Ess find beauty in the mundane and turn it into art that can be played for their audience.

“I want to try to make people happy, make them appreciate the little things in life,” Lande said.

One of the ways the band achieves this is through putting priority on the live performance.“You have to be there and feel the energy of the band,” Lande said. “It’s also very important for us to try to make every concert feel like the most important thing. You have to make it feel like the last concert every time.”

Oslo Ess’s charisma and ability to interact with a crowd in a live setting are both fundamental qualities that are attributing to their success now and in the future. Oslo Ess could easily find a market for their punk music internationally, given their American west coast punk rock influence.

The band makes their relationship with American culture explicitly clear in their upbeat, satirical, tongue-in-cheek anthem “Amerika.” With lyrics such as “Just across the pond there is greener grass and the whitest house you have ever seen,” Lande details the false glorification of American culture within Europe.

“From a European perspective, the U.S.A. is the big thing when it comes to culture, movies and music,” Lande said. “In the end I think we are doing quite fine over here.”

All of the band’s lyrics are sung in Norwegian by Lande. Many Norwegian acts sing in English in order to expose themselves to a larger audience but Oslo Ess embraces their mother tongue while performing. While this shows the band’s pride in their home country, it may also be limiting the amount of people who hear Oslo Ess’s heart-stopping riffs and anthems.

“The first advice would be to consider singing in English,” Per Ole Hagen, assistant professor of music at the University of Oslo, said of Oslo Ess. “I’m afraid so because I know people are concerned about if they don’t understand the lyrics.”

“Amerika” is a light-hearted jam that closes the band’s most recent album “Konge Uten Ei Krone.” While the song pokes a little fun, it also shows how certain American music has shaped the band into what it is today.

“We grew up with American music ourselves, like Rancid and the California punk rock scene,” Lande said. “We appreciate our cultural and musical influence also in that tune because that’s where our influences in music come from.”

Oslo Ess is poised to be successful in whatever endeavors they pursue, whether it is taking on the music scene Norway or the world.

Norwegian Wood rock festival turns 25

Oslo’s Norwegian Wood Festival celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary, June 15-17, 2017. But Norway’s longest running festival almost didn’t happen this year.

The rock and folk fest has boasted headliners from Bob Dylan to Band of Horses, David Bowie to Linkin Park, Patti Smith to Arcade Fire. However, after a slow decline in attendance and a rough outing in 2016 that saw it reduced to one day and moved to a new location, Norwegian Wood went back to its roots in 2017 with a lineup of only Norwegian acts.

It worked. And it rocked.

“The significance in Norway is massive of course,” Svein Bjørge, new head of Norwegian Wood, said. “It’s one of the oldest festivals in the country so it’s like the queen of the festivals.”

More than one million people have attended Norwegian Wood over the last quarter century. The festival’s long run and history have made it stand out among Norway’s multiple summer festivals.

Norwegian Wood, first hosted in 1992 in Frogner Park and named after The Beatles’ song, was founded by Jørgen Roll, Sten Fredriksen and Haakon Hartvedt.

“This festival is really cool because they always have big international headliners, like I’ve seen Tom Petty here, Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan,” Asmund Lande, vocalist and guitarist of punk band Oslo Ess, said. “It’s an important thing for Oslo and now celebrating 25 years and only Norwegian Bands. It’s a big privilege to play on this stage tonight.”

Norwegian Wood festival director Svein Bjørge. Photo/ieiMedia

Bjørge took over the festival in early 2017 and only began planning for this summer right away in January.

“Doing the Norwegian angle made it quite possible to do it fast,” Bjørge said. “Financially, if we break even it’s great. It’s next year we’re going to come back.”

Although this year’s festival is having a positive outcome, in the recent past Norwegian Wood struggled. In 2016, the festival was cut down to one day instead of the traditional three days and only hosted three musical acts.

“Last year we had almost 20 headliner names that slipped away, usually five or six slip, but not all,” Jørgen Roll, founder and former head of Norwegian Wood said.

“They almost went bankrupt two years ago,” Per Ole Hagen, professor of music at the University of Oslo said. “They asked Svein if he could try to get it up again. I would think the future looks bright because they spent a lot of time getting rid of debts.”

This struggle is reflected in this year’s all Norwegian lineup, which is due in part to a smaller budget and limited time frame.

“If you consider last year, well, this is a step up and it can go up from here,” Hagen said.

Norwegian music scene experts say Norwegian Wood’s troubles stemmed from the intense competition among music festivals in the summer months of Norway. With so many festivals in such a short amount of time it can be difficult for any event survive. And with Norwegian Wood’s typically high overhead with big name artists and its intimate festival venue near the famous Vigeland Sculpture Garden, it became harder for the famous fest to continue to provide top talent and pay the bills.

Most successful summer music festivals have a particular niche or genre they represent in order to draw in their target audience. Norwegian Wood generally sticks to a lineup including rock and Americana acts.

“The festival market is very competitive,” Ole Morten Algerøy, Bergenfest press manager, said. “I think that what we feel is that over the last couple of years it’s been make it or break it for some of the festivals in the Nordic region.”

According to a study conducted by the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for Cultural Industries, the festival market in Norway has been growing steadily, with as much as 40 percent of the country’s population attending a festival in 2014.

After last year’s festival, founder Jørgen Roll stepped down from Norwegian Wood after being with it from the beginning to fully pursue his position of CEO at the Oslo Concert Hall.

“It was good in one respect but you have so much empathy for it, it’s your kid,” Roll said about leaving the festival. “So it was strange but it’s been nice and I didn’t really miss it. I’ve had a normal spring. I’ve gone to sleep at normal hours since January. Another plus, this place has a roof.”

Jørgen Roll, director of Oslo Concert Hall, stepped down as Norwegian Wood chief after 25 years. Photo/Jack Hastings.

Although Roll is no longer involved with Norwegian Wood, he is still an incredible presence within the music industry through his work at the Oslo Concert Hall.

“Leaving it is of course sentimental and painful but it’s his choice and, well, you have to leave your baby someday,” Bjørge said of Roll. “It’s strange for him of course, it’s very strange. It’s the first time in 24 years he’s had a beer.”

As planning begins for the 2018 festival season, Bjørge talks of continuing to bring Norwegian Wood back to its roots.

“We’re going back to the basics of Norwegian Wood, which is international iconic rock stars, Americana, well known international names,” Bjørge said. “There will always be new festivals coming trying to take this place. Nothing lasts forever and we don’t know what will happen next year. We want to take Norwegian Wood back to being one of the biggest festivals in Norway.”

Norwegian Wood is scheduled for June 14-16, 2018. Tickets, line-up and other information can be found at https://norwegianwood.no.

 

SHAKANAKA: From Bergen to the Big Time

Shakanaka is the Bergen-based British-punk-influenced lo-fi rock duo of guitarist Torgeir Høgheim and singer-drummer Eirik Gundersen.

Shakanaka’s sound embodies the highlights and vulnerabilities that come along with youth. Høgheim and Gundersen perform with a laidback attitude, not taking themselves so seriously. Shakanaka perfectly encapsulates the dichotomy between creating serious art and having fun.

But the third stage at Bergenfest, one of the leading music events in Norway, is a little more serious business for the duo. “This is the biggest thing we’ve done so far,” Gundersen said of their performance. Shakanaka played the venue’s DNB Scenen stage, a stage reserved for impeccable local talent, three times throughout the course of Bergenfest’s Wednesday schedule.

Since the band’s formation in several years ago, they performed many local Bergen shows together. The band is part of the Bergen music collective Vibbefanger. Vibbefanger is a creative house that organizes parties, clubs and concerts, gives out new music and builds bridges for musicians within the Bergen music scene.

At their Bergenfest gig, the duo expanded into a full lineup, with Gundersen moving to bass guitar from the drums and welcoming two more bandmates onto the stage. “It means a lot because there are so many bands in Bergen,” Gundersen said. “There are probably a thousand young bands and [Bergenfest] picked four so it’s crazy for us.”

Shakanaka’s self-described no bullshit punk rock is the perfect complement to Bergenfest’s headliners and Britpop icons Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft.

The band cites Gallagher’s band Oasis as one of their primary influences among other American and British pop and punk rock musicians such as Iggy Pop, The Beatles and Pixies. To be playing at the same festival as music legend Gallagher is hard to believe and incredible for the men of Shakanaka, who expressed disbelief of ever making this much success within Norway’s music scene given their humble beginnings.

“We are childhood friends so we’ve known each other all our lives,” Gundersen said.

We didn’t find out we wanted to start a band until we were like 20,” Høgheim said.
Although Gundersen and Høgheim had always been friends, they didn’t discover their mutual interest in starting a band until after high school.

“We were maybe a little bit bored after school and didn’t know what to do with our lives so we decided the hardest thing for us to do is try to become rock stars,” Gundersen said.

Høghem said the kickstarter for the band it could have been their common music taste, but probably because he played guitar and needed a drummer.

“After high school, I had never played an instrument before that,” Gundersen said. “We’ve been working some years now but we are finally starting to get somewhere.”

The band’s most recent release is a track titled “Medisin,” which contains punk guitar riffs structured with a pop mentality, a perfect formula for gritty ear candy.

Looking forward, the band plans on getting into the recording studio to begin work on their first album. 

“Now we are going to record our debut album,” Gundersen said. “We have big ambitions for that. It’s going to be a great album. We are putting everything we’ve got into the music.”

To learn more about Shakanaka go to www.oslorocks.com or listen to their songs at https://soundcloud.com/shakanaka.

Poster Boys: Making Rock Real Again

“Everything goes in circles,” Emil Haglund, vocalist and guitarist for power pop band Posterboys, said. “I think it’s time for some rock and roll.”

Posterboys, based in Oslo, Norway, are bringing energetic pop rock to the forefront of an electronic dominated music scene.

The band is comprised of vocalist and guitarist Anders Løland, drummer Trygve Dyrstad, bassist Stian Engen and Haglund. Posterboys cite Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr. and Wilco as their inspirations.

The men of Posterboys ooze charisma and cool determination as they play their single “Best Friends” and unreleased single “Never Get Along.” The songs are packed with swaggering guitar riffs, energetic drum and Løland approaching the vocal delivery with a chill punk mentality.

The band also records and produces all their own work independent of a major studio. Posterboys have released two singles, “Hopeless Case” and “Best Friends,” and have finished recording their debut album along with an EP and a second album.

“In this recording process we are deciding everything ourselves,” Løland said. “We are recording ourselves. It feels like the freest way to do a recording.”

Løland said being a young musician in Oslo is hard. It means Posterboys hear criticism often from the rock community elders with more recording experience. “They say what to do in order for the song to be better,” Løland said. “This caused us to stumble away from our original ideas.”

“We’ve all had experience in the past going to the professional studio paying a lot of money then suddenly people outside the band start commenting on what we should do and what we should not do,” Dyrstad said. “We agree with ourselves so it just ruined everything when a different person said something and we were just like no.”

But the Posterboys agree that they have to do what they are good at to reach their full potential and make music with substance. By making music that actually means something to them, Posterboys try to set themselves apart from the Oslo pop music scene, which Løland said is too trapped in seeking only catchy hooks.

“I remember when we were mastering the first album,” Dystad said. “Another band’s mastering technician had this great catch line: ‘There’s no room for democracy in the studio.”

Posterboys now make their music entirely by themselves in order to ensure the product is something they are proud of and is true to their spirit.

“All the other bands are very produced,” Dyrstad said. “They play on a metronome you have all the arrangements set in stone and you have to do it exactly right. This band is the absolute opposite. It’s kind of just counting to four and hoping for the best.”

“And even our flaws could be a good thing,” Løland said. “It’s not about being perfect. It’s about energy”

Posterboys embrace their mistakes, even saying that if you listen closely to their songs you can hear the tempo of the song rushing or dragging. Incorporating these flaws gives the band character and their music real authentic emotion.

Posterboys see themselves as a beacon of potential for the live music scene where most musicians aren’t even using tangible instruments. “It’s weird because 10 years ago we would have been one of many bands but now the electronic music scene has been blown out of proportion,” Løland said.

It seems that Norway may be returning back to its roots as rock music once again becomes more popular. Given that one can’t talk about the Norwegian music scene without the mention of black metal, it is suiting that the trends should shift back in that direction of loud live music and bands like Posterboys.

“There’s room for rock again,” Dyrstad said.

 

Americans in Norway

I attended my last music festival in Norway this past week, which was kind of a sad moment. I ended my festival run with Piknik i Parken, a relatively new festival that is hosted at the historic Vigeland Museum. The festival is quite literally a picnic in the park.

What set this festival apart from the others I have attended was the prominence of American acts in the three-day lineup. Two out of the three headliners were American musicians, those being folk/rock act Father John Misty and R&B artist Solange.

It almost seemed redundant for me to travel all the way to Norway just to see two musicians from my home country that I could easily see in concert near Fargo. I wasn’t going to complain though because these two musicians are experts in their field.

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American act Father John Misty encapsulates what it means to be a modern rock star at Piknik i Parken in Oslo

Father John Misty closed out the first night of the festival with his sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek folky tunes. Given that a good portion of his lyrical content is a critique of American society I was interested in seeing how a European act would react to his set.

I feel like the audience related heavily with the words Father John Misty sang, as they are more aware of the cultural intonations of American than an American audience would. Although, maybe this defeats the purpose of Father John Misty’s work. His songs are supposed to inspire controversy and introspection, but here in Europe his lyrics were easily accepted without much thought.

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Solange brings her funky, choreographed show to the stage at the Piknik i Parken music festival.

Closing down the festival the second night was Solange, an equally observant and socially conscious musician. Solange’s music address issues of race and material possessions. I don’t think any of this was taken for granted by the Norwegian audience as they are having their own experiences with race and immigration.

Solange’s wise words were delivered through an entirely choreographed set with Solange constantly busting out a move. I have never seen a live show like it. Solange, more than any musician I have probably ever seen, was able to interact with the audience thoroughly and with ease.

Tall Heights Take Two

I have been able to see the band Tall Heights twice since I’ve been in Norway.

Tall Heights is a progressive-folk duo from Boston currently touring in support of their debut album “Neptune.” The band is comprised of guitarist Tim Harrington and cellist Paul Wright. Both Harrington and Wright also provide vocals.

Tall Heights’ sound is inspired by folk music but adds much more lush instrumentation to the genre. In the duo performs in a courtyard at Piknik i Parken in Oslo, Norway.

I also saw the band play in a 400-year-old church at Bergenfest. Their songs are the perfect complement for these age-old, ancient venues.

Their ballads blend together elements and inspiration from classic and contemporary music, much like how they play modern music in spaces that contain much history. Tall Heights use the folk genre as a tool to address current social issues through classic instrumentation.

Bergen is One for the Books

The time we spent in Bergen was brief and brought up a question for me: how can a place as beautiful and serene as Bergen contribute so much to the development of black metal? I think there is such a strange relationship between the two but Bergen was full of similar dichotomies.

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Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher plays classic hits along with new solo work at Bergenfest.

The difference between Oslo and Bergen was striking. Where Oslo is more refined and modern, Bergen still feels very much like a small fishing port with a sense of old school class. Another thing that added to Bergen’s long-established feel were the goats roaming around in the green areas.

Despite Bergen’s traditional ambiance, it is home of one of Norway’s biggest contemporary music events: Bergenfest. Bergenfest began as a festival for American, country and folk music but has since gravitated toward more rock and punk music acts.

All the classic trailblazers and up-and-coming musicians are housed within an ancient fortress, this only adds to the strange relationship between Bergen’s past and present. I think this notion of past a present can also be applied to the festival’s headliners.

Take Liam Gallagher for example, who found fame through his Britpop band Oasis. Now Gallagher is pursuing a solo career. During his set during the Wednesday of Bergenfest, Gallagher’s past work and music to be released in the future merged into one performance. The same can be said for Richard Ashcroft, who rose to fame through his band The Verve before he began making music solo.

Bergenfest was my first time taking photos in the pit and dealing with real security at a music event, which proved to be interesting. I never would have thought I’d have the opportunity to photograph a superstar of such status as Gallagher.