The public turned out in droves, the state subsidized talent scouts in the audience, and organizers of last week’s popular Øya music festival in Oslo were so pleased that they’re considering keeping the festival at its new temporary location on the city’s east side. Despite some complaints from neighbours at Tøyen, both participants and organizers seemed more than satisfied when it was all over on Sunday.
“It went better than the best we dared hope for,” Øya festival manager Tord Krogtoft told newspaper Aftenposten. “There were a lot of new logistics, but everything functioned as it should. When we also had almost perfect weather, it could hardly be better.”
The festival moved to Tøyen this summer because of construction work on new transportation systems around its former site at Oslo’s Middelalderparken at Bjørvika. The new location, despite being in the heart of a relatively dense urban area of Oslo, actually offered more space and better conditions for attending concerts on several stages. Informal public opinion polls indicated that concert-goers were highly enthusiastic.
The Øya festival, known for featuring new and rising talent, also enjoys a lot of both city and state support, with newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reporting how the state subsidized visits from foreign talent scouts interested in seeing new Norwegian bands and singers. Norway’s foreign ministry, for example, covered the travel expenses of around 60 members of the international recording industry and others who can in turn help promote Norwegian music. More than 100 foreign observers were treated to free festival tickets, meals, public transport and special events including a boat tour on the fjord and a “private concert” featuring Norwegian talent at a farm outside Oslo.
“I’m impressed that there’s so much state financing, it’s not that efficient in other countries,” Vincent Clery Melin of Kobalt Music in France told DN. “It helps create contact with people in the branch all over the world. Norway is definitely a place where many come to look for talent. Øya is a good place to discover new bands.”