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25 May - 08 June 2022

Another different year for the Bergen International Festival

With a very limited audience capacity, the Bergen International Festival has had 49,000 visits at a venue, outdoors, and on-screen.

Conductor Eímear Noone during the concert Let’s Play in Grieghallen 29 May. Foto: Thor Brødreskift
Conductor Eímear Noone during the concert Let’s Play in Grieghallen 29 May. Foto: Thor Brødreskift

The Bergen International Festival ends today with a cinematic version of Arne Nordheim's The Tempest. The 200 tickets for the venue are sold out, and the event can be experienced online, where around 30 events from this year's festival are also available.

‘We are proud to have carried out a festival with more than 70 different events in what is our second festival during the pandemic. Despite all the limitations, we have given the audience nourishment for the soul and engaged 550 artists and a large number of stage production workers and technicians, says festival director Anders Beyer.

A preliminary count shows a total number of visitors of 48,923, of which approximately 16,773 are for ticketed events. To date, 8,205 tickets for physical events and 8,568 digital tickets have been issued, including digital festival passes that provide access to all online events. Most digital events are available until 23 June 2021. The rest of the audience number is from non-ticketed, free events outdoors and online.

Like many cultural events in Norway and the world, this year's Bergen International Festival has taken place under challenging circumstances with strict infection control measures and with few international artists on the programme. On the second day of the festival, the audience capacity in the largest venues could be increased from 100 to 200.

‘Many events have been sold out, but this change came too late to be able to fill the capacity at all the venues. However, even under the ever-changing conditions this year, Norwegian artists have performed at an incredible level, and the audience, as always, appreciates quality, says Beyer.

Last year, the festival had to be carried out mainly digitally, and all events were free to the public. This year, almost all digital events have been ticketed.

‘We see that competition in the digital market has become tougher also within our cultural segment and that many have continued to give away artistic content for free. For the Bergen International Festival, last year was an exception. Presenting art and culture online is not without cost, and that is why digital tickets should also be paid for. Simultaneously, digital art offerings are in rapid development, and we must dare to test these waters, says the festival director.

A week before the festival started, the Bergen International Festival received NOK 8.2 million in support from the government's stimulus scheme for cultural life.

‘If this support had not come, it would have meant a very tight budget for us in the future, says Beyer.

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