The 54th annual Molde International Jazz Festival kicked off this week with a traditional street party through the heart of the central Norwegian city. Organizers were happy with ticket pre-sales, despite the lack of a major international headline artist and mixed responses to the eclectic program.
While Jazz star Sidsel Endresen was named the artist in residence, most of the festival’s predominately Scandinavian headline acts were not jazz artists, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). This year’s line-up features Ylvis, Thomas Dybdahl, Jarle Bernhoft, Timbuktu, Solveig Slettahjell and Tom Harrell.
Molde Mayor Torgeir Dahl was not concerned, and said even the most hardcore jazz fan would enjoy the program. “We have more than 20 unique jazz events in Molde, and that’s probably what’s the most important in terms of being a core institution for jazz,” he said. “I’m expecting a lot from this year’s festival.”
He was pleased with the turnout at the Moldejazz opening, which was held under clear skies for the first time in several years. “There are more people in the streets, a little more support around the actual “street parade” and the opening ceremony,” Dahl said. “We’re noting that there is more pulse in the city.”
Moldejazz has traditionally been Norway’s biggest and most important jazz festival, attracting artists like Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Patti Smith and Stevie Wonder in recent years. Organizers said advance ticket sales had been good, despite this year’s lack of star power. Several of the concerts had sold out, and 10,000 pre-sale tickets were snapped up. If ticket sales continued throughout the festival week like last year, around 20,000 revelers were expected to attend.