Tuesday, 8 September 2009

News from Norway

Dagfinn M. Pedersen, EBMA national representative for Norway, reports:

Risør Bluegrass Festival, 13-18 July

This is the place where you want to be if you are a bluegrass fan in Norway. It all started on Monday with a 4-day workshop and ended with a 3-day festival, featuring 33 bands and about 45+ concerts. One great feature this year were two very popular and free children’s concerts on Friday and Saturday. The children’s concerts were followed up with the 'children’s music tent', where they got some hands-on instructions and introductions to the instruments and having fun with some of the musicians. The children were also invited, together with their parents of course, to stay on for free and listen to the first part of the festival concerts each day.

Audience Favorites
This year the audience could hand in their votes for which bands they favored most and the result was split in Norwegian and foreign bands. The resulting 'Audience Favorites' ended up being a very close race, ending up as follows:

Norwegian bands
1. Earlybird Stringband
2. Ila Auto
3. Akaustisk Soda

Foreign bands
1. Sunny Side (CZ)
2. Blackjack (CZ)
3. Petr Brandejs & Friends (CZ/SL)

where Petr’s friends were basically the workshop instructors.

Chatham County Line (USA) has been touring in Norway again this summer, mostly with the Norwegian singer Jonas Fjeld [see the EBB for 25 August]. There has been an increasing number of bluegrass bands on the country and folk music festivals: even on one of the largest rock festivals we had Bluegrass Cwrkot (CZ), Ila Auto, and a few more bluegrassy bands on one of the stages. Meråker Bluegrass & Country Festival had mostly bluegrass bands this year and will hopefully evolve into a yearly bluegrass festival.

NoBMA have a series of club nights again at the live music venue 'Herr Nilsen' in Oslo, with bluegrass every second Wednesday night throughout the fall and winter seasons. A new collaboration with a similar venue in Drammen, 'Buddy Scene', has just started with bluegrass on irregular Thursdays; a regular schedule for this venue will be worked out later this fall.