The annual Arts Festival of North Norway has been held in Harstad since 1965, and will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.
What began as a musical event with a particular focus on the meeting of amateurs and professionals is now a top-shelf
international event that presents and produces a vast array of musical genres.
The arts festival also has a strong focus on children and young people and caters to people with different disabilities.
For many, the far north – where the mountains are jagged, the fjords ice-cold, and the midnight sun Arctic arts
looms high in the sky during the summer months – carries a connotation of isolation, an untouched and remote part of the world.
But despite the region’s harsh climate and striking contrasts, or perhaps because of them, Arctic arts
northern Norway has continually been a source of inspiration, art and creativity.
The Arts Festival of North Norway provides an annual gateway into this rich cultural arena, Arctic arts
while at the same time reaching out far beyond the confines of the arctic circle.
Local meets global
When the festival first started almost half a century ago, it was more of a collaboration of north-Norwegian freelance musicians and singers.
Since then, the festival has flourished and grown, attracting global audiences and featuring acclaimed artists from around the world.
From Zimbabwean afro-pop to Albanian isopolyphonic choirs and modern dance,
there is no shortage of diversity, and audiences have much to choose from.
The festival’s head of information, Tone Anita Karlsen, notes that enjoyment of diverse experiences is not solely the privilege of audiences.
“Many of our guest artists from Latin America and Africa are used to playing enormous venues to hundreds of people,
so the intimacy of Harstad can be quite different.
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