Jazz fans braved rain, wind and chilly temperatures in the central Norwegian city of Molde on Monday when the annual Moldejazz festival got underway with its traditional parade. The festival, like many others, is also weathering a decline in ticket sales and posted a loss last year.
News bureau NTB reported that Moldejazz ticket sales fell from 34,000 in 2009 to 26,000 last year. Advance sales this year amounted to around 13,000 and organizers were hoping they’d pick up during the festival’s five-day run. “In recent years we’ve seen that folks buy tickets late,” Jan Ole Otnæs, who’s led the festival for the past 12 years, told NTB.
There are now more than 30 jazz festivals around Norway in addition to many other music festivals, so competition is tough for both artists and audiences. Hadia Tajik, Norway’s government minister in charge of culture, noted, though, that Moldejazz has had a major influence on jazz both in Norway and abroad, as a form of epicenter for European jazz in the course of its 53 years.
Artists this year include Bryan Ferry, John Legend and Jason Moran as the festival’s “Artst in Residence.” Norwegian musicians performing at Moldejazz include Terje Rypdal, the Trondheim Jazzorkester & Albatrosh, Karpe Diem and Susanne Sundfør.