Kaizers Orchestra were playing in Stavern, on the weekend when I was in Norway anyway – a great opportunity to check out Stavernfestivalen! I had planned to go there a couple of years ago when Kaizers played there the last time, but in the end, it hadn’t worked out. This time, I planned ahead and made it happen – just for one day, but better than nothing, right?
I gotta admit though that Stavernfestivalen had a bit of a disadvantage. I came there right from Odderøya Live, a festival that was so well organized that it just basically blew my mind. Now, arriving at Stavernfestivalen, not really being sure which bus stop to get off and in which direction to walk to get there – hmm, not the most positive first impression you could have… =:-/ Getting in worked just fine, except that there were no lanyards left for the press passes – which is pretty inconvenient, you can’t just hold the pass in your hand all day, right? The guy at the accreditation booth was really helpful though and gave me his lanyard. Thanks a lot! And I guess that sums of a bit of the festival spirit – things often weren’t going the way they should, but people were trying to help where possible; just that sometimes, they just didn’t have a clue how… Which can be really charming, and I know quite a few festivals in Germany where it is just the same, but since I was so used to the professional organization from the festival before, it left a negative impression.
Next, I tried to find out if there were some photo rules or some kind of press area, which again took a lot of asking around and being sent from A to B to C and back to square one. And in the end, it turned out that I didn’t really need any of it, because the main stage was so high up that there was no chance to take any good pictures from the aisle in front of the stage anyway. Well, but then it was allowed to take photos throughout the whole night from anywhere else, so I just skipped the first three songs in the aisle… =;-)
On the first days, there were a lot of complaints about too few toilets on the festival grounds – guess they got that fixed up before Saturday. Hardly any queues whatsoever, and I thought it was rather funny to have the Dixies out above the sea on a little pier… *g*
There was a huge selection of food on the festival – from Thai to Mexican to grilled meat and of course junk food. And also here, queues seemed reasonable (if you didn’t try to get your food right after one band had finished, of course…). The disadvantage here was the cashless system – you had to buy a “cashless card” for 50 kroner just to be able to buy anything on the festival grounds. Then you would load up the card with any amount, pay with it, and then get the rest of the money (minus the 50 kroner for the card) refunded in the end. IF you had a Norwegian bank account. If not, like me, you had to plan ahead thoroughly to make sure no money was left on the card…
The festival grounds were so-so: There were two stages, both with enough space in front of them, and so high that you could see without problems – if you weren’t standing too close, that is. =;-) Very nice were some “natural stands” with stone boulders in the back, where people could sit and enjoy the concerts. The bad part, however, was that there was just one narrow way to the big stage, where everybody had to walk… And of course that one was really crowded, and people gathered on this side of the stage because it was hard to make it to the other side. You couldn’t get to the other side from the back, because the VIP area blocked the way. Not a good arrangement, in my opinion… =:-/
Two stages is a great idea, in general. However, if there are two stages, I would expect a continuous program. Not sure if there were just delays or if this was how it was planned, but there were always long breaks between the shows on the two stages. In my opinion, it doesn’t necesaarily make sense to have two stages then…
All this might sound really negative, but all in all, Stavernfestivalen is a nice festival. Even though a few things were a bit chaotic, others were organized perfectly – the night busses, for example, or the food and drinks. And it seemed like the audience was really enjoying themselves, and this is the most important part, of course! Even though the size of the festivals probably didn’t really differ a lot, Stavernfestival seemed much smaller than Odderøya Live – Odderøya Live was the “professional” festival, Stavernfestival the slightly improvised, local festival, with its own festival spirit.
Well, and now I wrote a full festival report without even writing about the music! =;-) But I’ll keep that short as well, because I was quite busy throughout the day and only got to see parts of the shows.
Bjørn Eidsvåg was playing rather early in the day, but a lot of people showed up for his concert. And everyone seemed to have lots of fun! No wonder, since he managed to capture the crowd not only by his songs, but also by his stories inbetween. That’s what a headliner has to do, right? And the headliner is the artist who plays on the big stage first, right? =;-) And he took care of us: “Before Kaizers and Bernhoft tonight, you’ll first get some decent music now!”
Next up on the big stage was The Soundtrack of our Lives. Very nice and entertaining music, but unfortunately, there weren’t as many people in the audience as they would have deserved. Still, a great show!
I pretty much missed Jarle Bernhoft after that, but judging from what I had seen at Odderøya Live and what the crowd seemed like from afar, he had a huge audience and delivered another pompeous concert.
Den Svenska Björnstammen played on the small stage right before Kaizers played on the big one, and they gathered a huge crowd with their party music. Nice to watch, and a great warm-up for the headliner!
Concluding the day and the whole festival, Kaizers Orchestra played an amazing concert and convinced everyone why they are Norway’s best live band at the moment! You can read all about their concert in my full report on kaizers.konzertjunkie.com!