Instead of a festival: NO NO fest

Festspillene i Nord-Norge 2020 2020 is cancelled. This year artists and audiences can not gather at concerts, performances and exhibitions in Harstad as we normally do. We therefore invite all of Northern Norway (and the world) to take part in art experiences this week. There will be an opening ceremony in your garden, premiere of new music, home concert in Reykjavik, Iceland, digital workshop and artist talks. Our mission with NO NO fest is to see if the arts can create connections between the artist and the audience in these unprecedented times.

- We cancelled Festspillene. Stepped back, examined, evaluated and decided to come back with a No No Fest - a series of events - over the next months, where we test out different modes of communication btw artists and our public, says artistic director Ragnheiður Skúladóttir.

Ceremony in nature

Festspillene i Nord-Norge has commissioned Lost and Found productions to make an artistic project to mark the festival that couldn't be, a ceremony for everyone looking forward to take part in Festspillene 2020. On June 20, the day Harstad should be full of joy and celebration of the arts, the website opens. There you will get the information you need to be part of something wonderfully ordinary.  

- The pandemic has brought a lot of worry and loss. Many have lost something or someone they loved. But this new situation has also offered some positive consequences. The world has been forced to slow down, and for planet earth this temposhift could be a healing process. Herbaria is our attempt to celebrate and appreciate the beautiful and generous nature that surrounds us. This ground is our common ground, and that fact makes all of us part of the same community, says Nikoline Spjelkavik, Victoria Røising and Per Magnus Barlaug in Lost and Found productions.

World-known musician 

On what was to be the opening day, the audience will also have the opportunity to get to know musician and composer Valgeir Sigurðsson, who together with Siggi String Quartet and singer Helgi Jónsson invite the audience to an intimate concert at their home. Recordings from this exclusive concert will be presented in Harstad cinema on June 20, and will also be available digitally from June 21 to June 27 for the public.

- It is a great pleasure to be able to present Valgeir Sigurðsson's creative collective, Bedroom Community - one of Iceland's foremost environments for innovative music, which he started with Ben Frost and Nico Mulhy. He has an impressive list of artists he has collaborated with, including Björk, and we are very happy that he will be working with us in the years to come as associate artist, says artistic director Ragnheiður Skúladóttir.

New music by Jakop Janssønn

On Monday, June 22, it will be possible for a very limited audience to experience brand new music from Jakop Janssønn and his new album Bricoleur in Trondenes church. For this recording, he brings with him strings from the Arctic Philharmonic, as well as tubaist Daniel Herskedal and violin player Håkon Aase.

- For us, this event is particularly important - we get to present the premiere for new music by one of Northern Norway's foremost composers and drummers, but we also get to try out a hybrid event - a combination of both live concert and a home concert in living rooms across the region. We encourage those who do not have the opportunity to come to Trondenes church to gather friends for an entertaining experience, or enjoy the concert alone if you prefer, says Skúladóttir.

Site specific art through letters

Artist Sonia Hughes came to Harstad in 2019, where she presented 'Neither Here Nor There' to the festival audience. On March 12, she was on her way to Harstad from Yorkshire to prepare for the performance 'I Am From Reykjavik', but had to turn in Trondheim when Norway closed because of the pandemic Covid-19. Now she invites the audience in Harstad to get in touch with her through letters she has written to people who recognize themselves in various statements. From June 22-26, interested parties can come to the Festspillhuset in Harstad to receive a letter and write back to her.

- Sonia Hughes is an amazing artist who has worked extensively on several issues in our societies, and who will also be an Associate Artist for the next three years. She wants to meet people who have similarities to her. She is, among other things, looking for someone who has parents with Alzheimer's, children of immigrants, an artist and many more traits that she recognizes. For 2021, we hope to facilitate meetings face to face, says Skúladóttir.

Artist talk through social media

Philippe Quesne is a theater director for the national public theater Nanterre-Amandiers in Paris. He has produced a number of highly acclaimed performances that have toured the world. In addition to his work for the theater, he creates performances in public spaces or in nature, as well as creates installations for exhibitions.

- With his considerable performing arts expertise, this is an Associate Artist with performances that the audience can look forward to in the years to come, and I hope as many as possible will take the opportunity to get to know him and his unique experience of European performing arts productions at a very high level. Our Associate Artists will also act as artistic advisors for our programming, sparring partners for other artists and create new art that is co-produced with the Festspillene and other institutions, Skúladóttir concludes.