Another busy season of summer festivals in Norway will soon draw to a close. In the increasingly attractive region of Helgeland, known for its thousands of islands and coastal culture, organizers of two major festivals are keen to literally hang on to their roots.
While Rootsfestivalen in Brønnøysund wants to retain a local identity, Trænafestivalen hopes to maintain national and even international appeal. Erlend Mogård-Larsen, who founded the popular festival on the scenic Arctic island of Træna, told newspaper Brønnøysunds Avis, that he doesn’t want Træna to become a local festival because then it would need to compete with all the others that have started up around Helgeland since Træna’s re-launch in 2003, like Sjarken at Dønna, Sjyen at Nesna, Havna in Sandnessjøen and even Parken in Bodø.
Træna caps ticket sales at 2,800 for the festival on an island where less than 500 people actually live. This year the festival boasted around 2,500 paying guests, down from last year but also perhaps a result of bad weather when the festival ran from July 11. By the time Rootsfestivalen began farther south in Brønnøysund a week later, warm summer weather had taken hold and ticket sales of around 3,000 seemed to meet organizers’ expectations.
The festival business in Norway remains tough, with even large festivals that draw major international performers going bankrupt or shutting down. Among them: Hovefestivalen in Arendal, Slottsfjell in Tønsberg and Norwegian Wood in Oslo.