Førde Traditional and World music Festival - EFFE Laureate

Simon Mundy - 01 Jul 2019

Get more insight on Førde Traditional and World music Festival. Read Simon Mundy's interview with Director Per Ider Almas.

There is one very wiggly road that covers the 150km north to Førde from Bergen and finding your way by sea would be a bit of a challenge too, though there is a very small airport if you need to get back to Oslo in a hurry. So of course, nestling at the head of a long fjord, it's the obvious place to hold a four day festival of traditional music from all around the world, quite a lot of it in the open air, against a backdrop of mountains and glaciers.

Forde Festival C Arve Ullebø

There are an impressive number of visitors, though, plenty of whom - and even some musicians - will be camping. 'This year,' says its Director, Per Ider Almas, 'we're having a family lunch in the park. We're making lunch for 2500 with plenty of hot dogs as back up. We think we'll need another 500.'

Now marking its thirtieth birthday, the festival has developed into the largest in its genre in Scandinavia, and by far the most important in Norway. Though there are only about 13000 permanent residents, Førde still has a modern and spectacular art gallery, as well as an impressive four hall cultural centre. Apart from the open spaces, Per can count on venues from a small old house museum seating 25 to the main hall for 1900.

The music on offer from the 250 musicians is billed as 'folk and world' but Per says that is only half the story. 'We do a lot to keep the very old traditions of music alive, whether from Norway or anywhere else, and we take that duty seriously. But we also want to show the young musicians who are crossing genres with new soundscapes. We have the traditional music as the basis but then see how far we can go.'

There are some who like to hear what they regard as pure old music, 'but over the years they have come to trust us,' says Per, 'because while we are not afraid to challenge expectations, we do not attempt to be commercial or attract headline artists. We are only interested in the genuine musicians – not those who are changing music to make it more popular. We just want it to be interesting.'

Even in July it can be chilly by the water that far north. Per just shrugs. 'Most of the Norwegian visitors know how to dress and our international guests,' there are 30 countries represented this year, 'come prepared.' Nevertheless a roof does go up over the outdoor amphitheatre and there is one concert on top of the area's highest mountain which, he smiles, 'could be interesting and exotic.'

Note from the EFFE International Jury

Førde Traditional & World Music Festival in Norway provides a remarkable example of excellence as well as artistic and curatorial integrity. July 2019 sees its 30th edition, Førde annually presents 300 artists in 90 acts across 30 venues in concerts, workshops, master classes, children’s events and many other endeavours. It has been a winner of Songlines’ best world music festivals worldwide

Førde Traditional and World music Festival

03 Jul 2019 - 07 Jul 2019