Verket Festival in Mo i Rana – a small town just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle – took place for the sixth time this year. In 2009, I attended the first ever Verket Festival, which was a great experience. Since then, the festival grew from year to year, both in attendance and in the quality of the line up. Time for me to check it out again and find out what has changed!
My first impression was that not much has changed – the festival grounds were still pretty much the same, except that the second stage has become much bigger, and the artists that play there as well! Also, the festival was sold out this year, which means that the area was more crowded, and access to the bars, toilets, and especially food stands required some queuing. But as long as you didn’t want to get a bite to eat just after the co-head on the main stage was finished, the waiting time was fully acceptable. And all in all, I didn’t feel like it was too crowded; most people were staying on the hill in the back, enjoying the view from there, so that there was lots of space in the area in front of the stages.
As I noted in 2009 already, the arrangement of the festival grounds is pretty much perfect: the area is sloping down toward the two stages, so that you can sit or stand up on the hill and see everything. You might not even have to move between the two stages; just turn around a bit! The concession stands are located up on the hill, close to the entry and a bit away from the stages (except for one bar to the side, right between the two stages). The only disadvantage this might cause is that lots of people just remain up by the stands throughout the whole evening, while there’s just a few spectators down by the stages. But then, if people aren’t interested in the music, they might as well just stand in the very back. 😉
Still, in my opinion, the most important part of a festival is the music! And the line-up this year was just perfect; lots of well-known Norwegian artists, all in one place. The “big names” for me were Morten Harket and Seigmen on Friday and Bernhoft and Skambankt on Saturday, but also Silya, Veronica Maggio, Satyricon, and Åge & Sambandet were clearly drawing people to the festival. Verket really managed to book a wide variety of artists – and as the festival was sold out, they obviously got something for everybody!
Friday, August 29
The first festival day held quite a few surprises for me. I had heard most of the names on the line up before, but I hadn’t seen any of them live yet. And it turned out that I was positively surprised by almost all of them!
Morten Harket as first artist of the night was probably the one that held the least surprises for me. He delivered a very professional and captivating concert – just as I had expected. The sound was terrific, and both music and singing were perfect. Plus, he knows how to play to an audience! I was surprised that he was booked as the first artist of the festival; but in hindsight, that was a pretty smart move to get people to come out to the festival early. It worked; the festival grounds were already filled when Morten Harket came out. However, what surprised me was that most people were hanging out in the back and didn’t really care about the concert. When asked to clap along, only very few people in the front joined in, everybody else just ignored it … Still, a really nice opening concert.
Next up were Hjerteslag on the smaller stage. I hadn’t heard of them, but the host Asbjørn Slettemark introduced them as the “new big thing”, who played a fantastic gig at by:Larm (for the few who were lucky enough to get in). And: true! That was pretty awesome. Melodic punk (or punky pop?) with Norwegian lyrics, songs that were easy to pick up, and quite some energy on stage. I had the feeling that they still need to work a bit on their live show though; it got better and better throughout the concert, but it didn’t feel quite natural yet, and they didn’t seem too comfortable on stage. This of course is a big drawback. But the music and the songs were great, so Hjerteslag is definitely a band to remember!
The next big surprise awaited me on the main stage right afterwards. I’ve been living in Norway for only a month, so I had no idea who Silya is … “Stjernekamp” sounds a lot like Star Search or Idol to me, so I expected some nice and pretty pop star. Silya, however, came out to a huge production with full band including a brass section, all in costume, and delivered a full show, not just a concert. Her songs were cover songs presented in her own style and fashion, and of course, she managed to capture the audience right away. For me personally, it all seemed like a big show and not so much like a whole-hearted performance, but it was definitely entertaining, and much more fun than what I had expected. And the audience seemed to really wake up for the first time that night; which of course is understandable when everybody knows all the songs.
Deathcrush were the next band on the second stage, and they didn’t really get the attention they would have deserved. Two girls on guitar and bass, one drummer, all singing – or rather screaming? Lots of energy on stage, and definitely the “punkiest” band of the night. But people were more busy drinking and talking, and hardly anybody gathered in front of the small stage, which was quite a pity.
I had expected it to get much more crowded in front of the stage for the Seigmen concert, but actually it didn’t fill up much more than for the other concerts; except for the first few rows of course. Still, Seigmen delivered a fantastic show! I’ve known them for quite a while, but never managed to see them live, so they managed to surprise me completely. Judging by their music, I had expected them to be really distant, hardly talk to the audience, and play their songs without much interaction, captivating the audience by their presence alone. However, they were quite talkative on stage, not offish at all, but really nice guys. They kept pointing out how nice the festival was, and how sorry they are they haven’t been up in Mo i Rana for so long. Of course the old hits were the ones that the audience was waiting for, and the atmosphere was awesome, but Seigmen also played some new stuff. And while – again – there were less people actually interested in the concert than I had expected, those that were following along with what was happening on stage were really entertained, and for me, the concert was definitely the best one of the night!
I’m not quite sure why Seigmen were not the headliner of the evening – for me, they definitely were! So the two remaining bands, Team Me on the small stage and Veronica Maggio had a rather hard time really capturing my attention. Both surprised me – Team Me played a really energetic rock show and Veronica Maggio’s concert was so much more varied than I had expected. And I think that I would have loved both their concerts if they had taken place earlier in the night; but by that time, it had turned quite cold and 99% of the audience were completely drunk, so that made it hard to really get into the concerts. A pity, but still a big thumbs up for great shows!
For me, the only drawback of the first festival day was the crowd. I had the feeling that hardly anybody was there for the music – which is common at Norwegian festivals. But if the line up is so amazing as at Verket, you should at least try to check out some of the concerts?! But no, either people were keeping all to the back without cheering, clapping, or even listening to what was going on at all, or they were completely drunk already at 5:30 pm and couldn’t manage to stand upright, let alone walk without bumping into someone. I’ve seen quite a few Norwegian festivals, but this seemed worse than usual. They don’t even know what great concerts they missed …
Saturday, August 30: Underverket
The Saturday started with a special concert for those under 18: Underverket. In bright sunshine, families picnicked out on the hill, while their teenage daughters gathered in front of the stage to see Isac Elliot, a teeny star from Finland. Verket festival had announced beforehand that no queuing would be allowed before 8 a.m. (!) – that gives an impression of how crazy the kids were for that concert!
And yes, crazy is probably the right word for it; but in a positive way! I almost gave up on the idea to get to the front to take some photos – it was just impossible to get through, so many kids were crowded in in front of the stage. And everyone was really excited, singing along every single word. The securities were busy throughout the whole concert, but they knew their job and kept everyone safe. The only crying was obviously caused by the guy on stage. 😉
So, adults – I don’t expect the same maniac behavior, but maybe a bit of excitement and enthusiasm for the artists wouldn’t hurt. The kids really made this concert special, and I’m sure they won’t forget it any time soon!
Saturday, August 30
The main festival day started a few hours later, still in bright sunshine. The festival weather really couldn’t have been much better! While it was still a bit cloudy the first day, we got blue skies and sun until it got dark on Saturday. Both days it got quite chilly at night, but that was to be expected so far north. And no rain, yay!
I missed the opener AWAY and arrived during Ane Brun‘s concert. She delivered a nice and calm opening concert – nice and relaxing, but maybe a bit too slow to really capture the audience. Again, the festival filled up nicely already, even though it was still early in the evening, but people were gathering in the back and enjoying the sun on the hill.
All in all, it looked like the audience was a bit older than on Friday. Just like the day before, the line up offered a lot of variation, but Åge & Sambandet obviously attracted people of all ages, which gave a nice mixture. And unlike on Friday, the audience seemed a bit more interested in the music. Still far from enthusiastic (except for the headliner 😉 ), but at least listening and applauding.
Next up was Kaveh, a rapper from Oslo, on the smaller stage. His target audience was clearly the younger generation, which had gathered in front of the stage. Unlike usually, Kaveh had to perform all alone, because his DJ had missed his flight. That’s the problem with festivals so far out; there’s no “next flight” that would still get you there in time. 😉 Still, he managed just fine, and after a few songs and what looked like quite hard work to get the audience excited, he managed to get them to go along. Only the first couple of rows, but those were really into the concert then, and it was fun to see how they loved the show. And when in the end, Kaveh asked some people to get up on the stage with him, he had obviously won. Hard work, but a great show!
I’ve seen Jarle Bernhoft quite a few times, mostly as “one man band” as support for Kaizers Orchestra, but also with his festival show with a full band. I enjoyed the single shows much more, so I was really pleased when I saw that this festival show would be only Bernhoft, alone with all his machines. His songs are really captivating, and seeing him piece them together by recording sounds and loops, one after the other, until he “simulates” a full band is just awesome. And it seemed like the audience was really appreciating this! It got quite crowded in the front, and people were dancing and singing along. It was a bit of a pity though that he didn’t use his full time slot but stopped 20 minutes early.
Montée had a really hard time following that on the small stage – especially since they were still in the middle of their soundcheck when Bernhoft was done and thus couldn’t continue right away. Still, when they started, there were quite a few people in front of the stage. My first impression was that their music, danceable rock, and the songs were really nice and catchy, but that nothing was happening on stage – which is always a bit of a problem, especially for bands that are not widely known and don’t have huge hits. And just as feared: People stayed for the first two, three songs and then started wandering off in search for food, drinks, and toilets. Where there were huge queues at that time … and Montée played for hardly anyone.
That’s a problem that Skambankt did not have; people were back in place in front of the main stage when Skambankt came on. They delivered a really good rock show – read my full report about their concert on skambankt.konzertjunkie.com – but it was obvious that everyone except for the first couple of rows in the front was waiting for Åge. They did clap a bit, but that was about it. They didn’t seem to understand what a Wall of Death was supposed to be, they didn’t sing along (not even “ohohoh” parts), and they didn’t really get excited. However, full props to Skambankt for delivering a really energetic show anyway!
Skambankt were followed by another great live band on the small stage: Satyricon. However, like Skambankt, their target audience did not necessarily comply with Åge’s target audience … They did gather quite a crowd and everyone in front of the stage was really enthusiastic and into the show. They were held back a bit by the securities whenever the moshing got too wild; something that did not sit well with the band. So they allowed the audience to do whatever they wanted and ignore the guys with the flashlights. 😉 And when the singer mentioned that his dad had actually worked at “Verket” – the factory above the festival area – and that he’s here now to work at Verket as well (just in a slightly different manner), he had finally won over the audience! At least the small faction of the audience that was into the concert at the small stage and not just waiting for Åge … Everyone else got more and more annoyed as Satyricon continued their concert. And continued their concert. And continued, and continued, way past their allowed time slot. The stage managers were very clear in their messages to the band – but they did not cut the electricity. So Satyricon continued 17 minutes past Åge’s start time, and while they were still on stage waving their good-byes, the announcer already called the audience to the big stage.
The atmosphere during the concert of Åge & Sambandet was then really really special. A HUGE crowd in the front (it did actually look a bit like Underverket! 😮 ), a very mixed audience of all ages, and everyone excited and singing along every word. Add to that a well attuned band on stage that does not only stare at their shoes but delivers a show as well, and songs that everyone in the audience knows. That’s the kind of atmosphere that I was waiting for the whole festival!
But then, the part that “everyone in the audience” knew the songs was not quite true, because there was one girl from Germany that did not know any of the songs, was cold, and had a train to catch at seven in the morning, so she decided to skip the second hour of Åge’s show and get on her way back to the hotel … and thus she missed it when Åge & Sambandet turned into Åge & Skambandet and Skambankt came up on stage to play in one of the songs. *argh* Sounds like an awesome mixture, and a great way to end the festival – and since Verket is one of the last Norwegian festivals, also the festival season for most bands!
All in all, Verket was a really great festival with an amazing line up of bands and some really good and entertaining concerts. I noticed a few good bands that I will check out further and keep track of what they are doing – mostly Hjerteslag, but also Deathcrush, Kaveh, and Montée. The festival itself is organized very well; you’ll always have some queues, and if you got your food, drink, or toilet break at the right time, you hardly had to wait at all. At other times, it was really bad though, but that’s impossible to prevent. The area is perfect for a festival of this size, and it’s just a fifteen minute walk away from the center of the town.
The festival is clearly aimed at locals, as Mo i Rana is quite difficult to get to. That makes it really impressive to see that the festival was actually sold out! That means that the locals are coming and supporting the festival! While this itself is a really good thing, I got the impression of “bygdefest” quite often – and that was a pity considering the awesome line up and the quality of the bands playing there. If everyone is there to see just one band and get drunk otherwise, it would maybe be sufficient to hire just that one band and not frustrate any other bands that hardly anybody cares about … But who knows. Maybe I’m mistaken and some people in the audience did actually discover new, interesting music. Because in my opinion, THIS is the main purpose of a festival, and getting wasted is just a fun side effect. 😉
The last festival show of the summer – at Verket festival in Mo i Rana! I’ve been there once before, five years ago. After that, I decided that no matter how awesome the line up, Mo i Rana is just TOO far off to go there for a festival … Well, now that I’m based in Trondheim, I can just hop on the train (for six and a half hours …) and I’m there!
So everything was set for the last Skambankt gig of the summer, before the fall tour starts in October. And to jump ahead a bit: Skambankt delivered a great show, but the audience didn’t quite live up to the expectations … Throughout the whole festival, people in the audience weren’t really that interested in what was happening on stage, and even if they were, only the first couple of rows would actually participate in the concert. Everyone else would hold their drink and maybe listen – but more likely, they would be talking or wandering around (bumping into other people). So more of a bygdefest atmosphere than a great music festival, even though the line up was amazing and promised a great experience … which it was, from a musical point of view, but the atmosphere didn’t quite keep up with it.
Skambankt were the next-to-last band on the main stage, before Satyricon on the small stage and Åge & Sambandet as headliner. What a mixture! So it’s probably not really surprising that only the people in the front had any idea what they were in for. And that was obvious throughout the whole show. Usually, when Skambankt start to play Voodoo, a cheer or at least some murmuring goes through the audience after the first few notes. This time: nothing. Having the audience sing the chorus of Mantra? Forget it … Terje wanted to start a Wall of Death in Me sa nei and actually explained very clearly this time what he wanted the audience to do (“Did you understand what I said??”). But well, getting them to draw apart didn’t really work already, and while I couldn’t really see if anything happened when they were supposed to run towards one another, I seriously doubt it. There was some more jumping and “hands in the air” after that, and a few people were shouting “hey” in Tanker som Mareritt, but it was still far from what is normal for Skambankt shows – or even Skambankt festival shows.
Skambankt really tried their best to get the audience to go along. At the end of Voodoo, they improvised a part where the audience would just have to sing “ohohoh” – but no, not even that really worked. It was fun to see though!
And I’m not sure if they just gave up after that or if it was some joke that I didn’t get, but Terje asked which song we would like better – an up-tempo, typical Skambankt song or … “or no, you don’t get an alternative, here is Min Eliksir”! Probably just afraid that the audience might choose the alternative? =;-)
In the end, they were finished ten minutes early, but I understand why they didn’t add another song to the set … =:-/
Here’s the setlist:
- Anonyme hatere
- O dessverre
- Vå bør
- Som en sirene
- Me sa nei
- Min eliksir
- Tanker som mareritt
- Stormkast #1
And to conclude the festival season, Skambankt pulled a special stunt later on and played a song together with Åge & Sambandet, the headliner of the night. From what I heard, that was really awesome and a great experience for both band and audience – but then, I was already on my way back to the hotel and only found out about it afterwards … *grr*
But hey, no reason complaining about a rather uneventful festival show and a missed special performance – let’s instead focus on the upcoming fall tour, which I’m sure will be amazing. Can’t wait! =:-)
Time to plan this year’s festival season! Usually, I do this in a very similar pattern every year: Mini Rock and Taubertal are planned right from the start. Then I add some festivals in Norway where my favorite Norwegian bands are playing and the remaining line-up is interesting and fun, and then I search around for festivals that happen on the weekends that aren’t filled yet and that look like they are worth checking out.
This year, everything’s a bit different, and a bit more difficult. I’ll be moving this summer, and if I do something, I do it right, and therefore I’ll move from Germany to Norway. The plan is to move around August 1st, which means that Mini Rock will be really difficult to catch, and Taubertal might be impossible as well – really sad. But then, I’m absolutely used to stress in summer! So let’s wait and see … maybe it’ll work out after all
These are the festivals that I have on my list right now – let’s see which of these I’ll actually get to see:
Bukta (Tromsø, July 17-19, 2014)
The special thing about this festival: It takes place in Tromsø, thus above the polar circle, during the time of the midnight sun. I always wanted to experience that – and this year, it looks like it will actually work out. During the last weeks, quite a few real highlights were added to the line-up: Skambankt are of course my main reason for visiting, but the Dropkick Murphys, Patti Smith, and several Norwegian newcomers like Billie Van really make it worth taking the trip up north.
Check out the line-up on bukta.no. Tickets cost 1400 NOK (about 170 Euro) for three days – which is not cheap, but pretty “normal” for Norway.
Mini Rock (Horb am Neckar, August 1+2, 2014)
Not too big, friendly and likable, well organized – and always with a great line-up that contains both well-known names and surprises. This year, the headliners are Anti-Flag and SDP; which gives a good idea about the broad coverage of the festival. And the best part about this variety: The audience goes along with it! There are always fans in front of the stages, they are interested in what is happening, nobody complains about the “wrong” style of music, but people will just come and check out what they like and let others stand in the front if they like it better. And I think that this is mostly what characterizes the flair of the festival. Trailerpark, Maxim, and the Emil Bulls continue the mix of genres … or, to put it differently: Everybody will get to see the bands they love! And those that don’t care for the next act on the main stage can just check out the tent stage instead. Usually, there are always great bands to discover there.
Check out the full line-up here. Tickets are only 59 Euro including camping and “trash deposit” (which you’ll get back if you keep your camp site clean).
Taubertal (Rothenburg ob der Tauber, August 8-10, 2014)
If it works out for me this year, this will be my seventh Taubertal festival in a row. Why? Because it’s always awesome! The line-up is always right up my alley, the headliners are first class, and the festival grounds are arranged in a way that you can always find a spot with a good view of the stage, even if it’s really crowded. In addition, you can choose between camping and getting a hotel in the city. And either way you can always take a trip to the city center, either walking or taking the shuttle, which means that you have the free choice to start the day with breakfast at some café in town or in the festival beergarden, cooling your feet in the Tauber. Oh right, and then there’s music! This year, some of the acts are Seeed, Biffy Clyro, Casper, Sportfreunde Stiller, Ska-P, and the Subways. Plus SDP and Die Schröders – and many more, of course! The line-up itself is awesome; and if you additionally have lots of memories from previous gigs of these bands at Taubertal – The Subways after the Flood in 2011, Die Schröders on Sunday morning in 2008, Biffy Clyro as the big surprise last year – it’s hard to wait for the festival to start!
You can find the list of all announced bands here. Tickets for the whole festival are 105 Euro, or 50 Euro per day. There are also VIP tickets for 200 resp. 80 Euro. If you like your festival a bit more comfortable, these tickets are definitely worth the extra money.
Pstereo (Trondheim, August 15+16, 2014)
THE festival in Trondheim – I’ve never been there before, because even though it is a huge festival, the line-up never really convinced me. I guess that’s mostly because the headliners are often huge American or British bands, and it’s easier and cheaper for me to see them at festivals in Germany. 😉 It’s actually the same this year – Biffy Clyro will play at Taubertal Festival as well, and Franz Ferdinand were at Rock’n’Heim last year. But of course, Skambankt are a big plus and the reason for me to NOT miss the festival this year! Oh, and of course the little detail that I will be living in Trondheim from August. 😉
Here‘s the current line-up, and tickets are 1300 NOK (about 160 Euro).
Verket (Mo i Rana, August 29+30, 2014)
I’ve been to Verket Festival in Mo i Rana once before, five years ago. Mo i Rana is very far up north as well, just beneath the Arctic Circle. 2009 was the first time the festival was held. In the following years, the line-up was always awesome – but Mo i Rana is a “bit” hard to get to, and without any of my favorite bands in the line-up, I wasn’t really motivated to travel up there again. This year, Skambankt will be playing at Verket; and from Trondheim, it’s only a short trip (more precisely: about 6 hours *g*) to Mo i Rana. Yay! And except for Skambankt, the other announced bands up to now are Seigmen, Morten Harket, and Satyricon, amongst others. Did I say “Yay!” already? 😉
Not all bands have been announced yet, but you can check out the current bands on www.verketfestival.no. Tickets cost between 1100 and 1500 NOK, depending on when you buy them.
Time for the last Kaizers Orchestra concert of the summer! It took place at Verket festival, a new festival, arranged for the first time, in Mo i Rana in Norway. When I checked the line-up, it wasn’t hard to decide that this was a good festival to go to: Kaizers Orchestra, Katzenjammer, The September When, CC Cowboys, Alexander Rybak, and some more. OK, Mo i Rana isn’t really the most practical place to go to for me, I admit that – but then, it was plain out crazy to travel up to the arctic circle just for a festival. And crazy is good, so I was on my way…
Eight hours and three flights later I was in Bodø, where I met up with a friend and got into the car to drive three and a half hours south to Mo i Rana. On a very tight schedule – we wanted to catch Katzenjammer, who played way too early, namely about three and a half hours after I landed in Bodø… That didn’t leave us much time. On the drive, I got my first glimpse of Nordlandet (ok, I’ve been up north before, but still, it was impressive!), crossed the arctic circle (from north to south, duh…), and learned new words like “råkjøre”. Uhem. But hey, we made it just in time!
We arrived at the festival about ten minutes before Katzenjammer were supposed to start, and as they were a few minutes late, we had enough time to get in and look around a bit. Perfect! And even though it was raining quite badly at that time and the ground was wet and muddy already, I liked the festival area. Lots of space, clearly arranged, and a perfect slope down towards the stage where you could see very well. And as a background, high above the stage, some factory buildings of the industry park, which gave the festival its name.
The only thing missing was: people. This was really bad during the Katzenjammer concert – it looked like there was hardly anyone there! A few people scattered in front of the stage, but that was it, and I already had the feeling that this might be the first and last time the festival took place…
But then, it was pouring, and it was early the first day. It turned out that this really was nothing to worry about! By the evening, the area was crowded, and even more so the next day. Probably not sold out, but lots of people that were clearly enjoying themselves. And the area could take that amount of people, so you didn’t feel like it was so crowded that you couldn’t move, or that you would have to stand in line forever to get a drink. Perfect! And all in all, the festival was very well organized. I never had to wait in line anywhere, and even though the voluntary helpers couldn’t answer all questions, everybody was very friendly and helpful. And I had the feeling that especially the securities knew exactly what they were doing, and this is something that is a) very important and b) not that common, especially at Norwegian festivals. But yeah, that’s the way it’s gotta be, so two thumbs up for Verket!
But back to the concerts. Katzenjammer started about 10 minutes late, and this was actually the case throughout the festival – all bands started a bit late. But it wasn’t too bad, so no reason to complain. And well, there’s not much I can write about Katzenjammer: Go and see them NOW! This band is just amazing, and everybody in the (way too small…) audience was enjoying themselves. Great! You hardly noticed the rain, at least not until the concert stopped and you suddenly noticed that you were soaked wet and started to get cold as soon as you stopped dancing…
So we left the festival for a bit – even though we noticed that there were actually TWO stages, the big main stage and a very small one that was obviously only used in the afternoon for the unknown bands. The one that played right after Katzenjammer, Diskotek, sounded very good, but we had to leave to check in at our hotel and get something to eat. Oh, and to dry up a bit…
Luckily, the rain had mostly stopped when we returned to the festival in the evening. It took us quite a while to walk out there from the town – it would have been a good idea to mark it a bit clearer on the website where the festival would actually take place and where the entry was, that would have made it easier for non-locals to find an accommodation close to the festival. Not everybody knows where Revelneset is… But with a bit of asking and walking in the wrong direction a few times, we made it back to the festival in time to catch a few songs of Marit Larsen‘s concert.
I have to admit that I didn’t know her at all, even though I’m German… But I liked what I heared! It’s not really my kind of music, but it was performed perfectly, and it was an impressive concert. After that, it was time for CC Cowboys. I only knew that they were supposed to be great live – apart from that, I had never heard anything from them. So I didn’t know a single song. Oh, and I didn’t know how they looked, otherwise I would have known right away who was that band that was on my plane from Oslo. 😉 It was a bit sad that I didn’t know any of the songs – but I promise, next time I am in Norway (and in a town with a record store), I’ll get a CD. That was a great concert! I liked the music a lot, there was something to see, and the people in the audience were having fun. Just the way it’s gotta be!
The last band of the night was Paperboys, and as I’m not into hip hop at all and we both were terribly tired, we went home after thirty minutes or so. Especially as it seemed like Paperboys were still playing their first song. 😉
We spent the next day relaxing and checking out Mo i Rana – a much bigger place than we thought, but still pretty small. But nice, no question about it! Then I wanted to go back to the festival to see Alexander Rybak. Not really my music either, but one of the few Norwegians that are actually known in Germany, so you can’t miss out on him! My friend warned my that there would probably be lots of “small kids” there – well, okay, what are you gonna expect if you have a young cute man who got famous through the Grand Prix? Of course there would be lots of teenagers in the front, screaming their lungs out!
Uhm. When we arrived at the festival, I understood what she had meant with “small kids”. Namely: small kids! Six-year-olds, maybe up to ten years, and okay, there were a few teenagers as well. But mostly <10... And yes, I totally agree that he deserves "better" - not that there was anything bad about playing for kids, but his music is really good and would appeal to an older audience as well. So maybe he should have been placed twice in the program, once in the afternoon and once in the evening, and not only in the kids' part... a bit sad. After this concert, everybody was sent out of the festival area. Until then, there was no age limit, but for the evening concerts, only people older than 18 were allowed. And of course, the only way to do that was to send everybody out. But there were two problems with that: First, Alexander Rybak did a signing session just inside of the entrance, so it was almost impossible to get out – and understandably, a lot of kids didn’t WANT to go out before they got their autograph. And second, once everybody was kicked out, they went home…
So the result was that when Hjaltalin played, nobody was there… They started much later than planned, but in the beginning, there were maybe three, four people in front of the stage. Including us two… It got a bit better then, but it was still ridiculous. Really sad. The concert was nice, but I have to admit that I liked them much better at Slottsfjell where they also played a few songs in Icelandic. And that’s much more interesting than English. Plus, it was freezing cold, so we went back to the hotel afterwards to warm up.
After we got something to eat and dressed up WARM, we were on the way back to Verket. Now it was time for the highlight: Kaizers Orchestra, of course! We had decided that we wanted to be in the front, and so we had to be there early. We arrived just when Jarle Bernhoft was playing his last song. The next band up was Ghost:Dog, and we just had time to grab some drinks and find a nice spot in the second row, with the hope of making it to the first. When I started out to take a picture of the stage, I noticed that I had forgotten my memory card in the camera back at the hotel… so that’s why there’s no pictures of the bands that played Saturday night. Sorry for that, my bad.
But then it was time for Ghost:Dog! I never heard of them, I had no clue what to expect, but it was a very nice concert! I was a bit distracted by watching the first row, though, but hey, you have to be prepared! *g* And yep, right after Ghost:Dog went off, we made it to the front. Yippieh! Time for another round of drinks, and then we were waiting for The September When.
I had seen them at Slottsfjell as well, but I hardly remembered any songs. That’s a bad sign… so no, I didn’t really like them. It was an okay concert, no question about it – and in the middle of the show, they introduced a “guest singer” on stage: Janove Ottesen! That was pretty cool of course, and he sang most of the song. But the song still was rather boring… Well, just not my kind of music, I guess.
And then it was time for the BIG THING! Kaizers Orchestra came on, they delivered a great show, they brought out Morten Abel as guest, and it was really really crowded and “pushy” in the front. But it was great fun! You can read all about it here.
Yep, and that was it! Suddenly, Verket was over… way too soon, there could have been a third day… All in all, it was really a great festival, especially if you consider that it took place for the first time. The organization was great, the area was great, and the weather was… way too cold. But well, that’s Northern Norway in September, not much of a surprise.
The next day we spent traveling back to Bodø and stopping everywhere along the road. And everything was closed… 🙁 At least the way to Svartisen, a glacier, and the grottos. So please, next time, have Verket a week earlier (everything closed on August 31st… *sigh*), so that people traveling to the area get to see something as well!
But still, we had a great trip back to Bodø. We crossed the arctic circle again, this time in the “right” direction. Of course, I had to balance on the arctic circle, and I learned that its purpose is actually to hold the northern lights in so that they don’t get to the south, and that north of the arctic circle, rainbows appear upside-down. And a few more useful things as well. *g* We even managed to go by Saltstraumen and were impressed – guess we accidentally caught just the right time where it was strongest.
So all in all, a fantastic weekend! Thanks to Lena for the great company, see you next time! 😀
An my Konzertjunkie festival rating ;): Verket is a great festival, well-organized and obviously with a good hand for booking the right bands. Currently it seems like a fairly local festival though. There were almost only Norwegian bands in the line-up (something that I personally like a lot, so I don’t think this should be changed), so maybe it is aimed at locals only. And as it seems to work – why not? To draw people from abroad, there would have to be better ways to get to Mo i Rana (but well, there’s not so much you can do there, I guess ;)), and it would need to be a bit earlier in the year. That way, it might attract some tourists. But I assume that the festival is aimed at a local audience, and this is perfectly fine. It is a great festival, and I hope it will exist for a while!
Of course I couldn’t keep myself from checking the remaining tour dates after my last Kaizers concert at Månefestivalen after all… And it didn’t take long until I found the perfect date! Especially as it was the last concert for this year (and who knows for how long…). OK, maybe I shouldn’t have based my decision on the date only, but also considered where in Norway the concert would take place? =;-) ... read on!
July 2009. I just returned from my vacation in Norway – including an absolutely amazing concert of Kaizers Orchestra at Månefestivalen in Fredrikstad. And coming back home from vacation is always bad – especially, if you don’t have another vacation planned, no concert trip, nothing. Just work to look forward to…
This and the fact that I assume Kaizers will take another break now made me think – there must be some other festival show I can see this summer, right? So I checked the dates. Almost all shows were in the next two, three weeks. Hrmpf. I mean, I have a great job and can take days off whenever I like most of the time. But then, I DO have to work once in a while inbetween my trips. And I can’t come home from vacation and go back to Norway the next week, that feels stupid.
I checked the dates again. Hmm, this Verket festival at the beginning of September? That would be the perfect time. I can allow myself another weekend trip then, can’t I? And most probably it’s gonna be the last show before the break, another reason to go there. I thought I remembered that I had considered this show before but dismissed the thought before it could really settle. Why was that? And by the way, where in Norway is Mo i Rana?
A few minutes and a short visit to Google Maps later the memory of why I had dismissed the thought was back, and somehow the date didn’t seem quite that perfect anymore…
But hey, I don’t call myself Konzertjunkie for nothing! There’s trains to Bodø, right? So it’s gonna be affordable. Hey, and they can’t take much more than… uh, 16 hours from Oslo. *cough* OK, maybe flying is a better alternative. Hey, and not even that expensive!
To cut it short: Three days later I had found a pretty good flight connection that would get me to Bodø Friday afternoon and back to Germany by Monday afternoon. And even affordable! AND: I had convinced a friend to come along! 🙂 (Well, if you can call “Festival? Kaizers? YES of course, I’m almost done booking, when was that again???” convincing… *lol*)
So, now I’m going up to Mo i Rana to see Kaizers play at Verketfestival. And because you can’t travel that far just to see one band, I’m going to Bodø Friday, gonna meet my friend there, we’ll hire a car to go down to Mo i Rana, might catch (hopefully!) a bit of the festival on Friday night already, have a nice day visiting the area on Saturday, a GREAT evening with even better music and concerts, and then we’ll have the whole Sunday to drive back to Bodø and see a bit of Nordlandet. Jippie, I am SO looking forward!
Oh, but this was actually supposed to be about the festival a bit here as well… 😉
So, Verket will take place for the first time this year, so it’s gonna be really interesting. In general, I have the feeling that (especially small) festivals in Norway are organized much better than in Germany. But then, for the first time? We’ll see how that works out. It won’t be perfect, probably, but then it is gonna be small, which is something that I love. 🙂
And the program got a lot to offer: On Friday, it’s gonna be Katzenjammer (who we will miss, most probably :(), Marit Larsen, CC Cowboys, and Paperboys. And on Saturday I guess I’ll just HAVE to check out Alexander Rybak, then Hjaltalin from Iceland will be there (I saw them at Slottsfjell and liked them pretty good), and as headliners The September When and Kaizers. What else could you wish for? 🙂
So, I can’t wait! I have to admit though that it does feel a bit strange to go up to the arctic circle for a festival just because Kaizers play there – especially now, since it’s been confirmed that they will play a free festival close to Oslo the same weekend – but hey, we are gonna have so much more fun up there! *g*