Ragnhild Hemsing, Mathias Eick & Mats Eilertsen. Foto: Thor Brødreskift

A Festival for more people'A reminder of what we mean to each other'

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June 05, 2024

More than 80,000 visits at the 2024 Bergen International Festival.

The 2024 Bergen International Festival concludes with Mahler's 8th Symphony on Wednesday, 5 June, and Festival director Lars Petter Hagen can already note the highest attendance since 2016. 

'The audience has flocked to the Festival. Altogether, we have had over 80 % occupancy during the 15 days of the Festival, and this is not a something we take for granted,' says Hagen. 

The preliminary audience attendance of over 80,000 consists of approximately 32,500 issued tickets and approximately 48,000 visits to the Festival’s extensive outdoor programme and other free events for schools, kindergartens, and care homes. Additionally, there are visitor numbers for Bergen Kunsthall’s Festival exhibition.

More, younger, and more diverse audiences

"This year's Festival has reached a large and broad audience. We have presented events of culture historical importance, international stars, and innovative works which allow art to develop and follow its own logic, in close interaction with Bergen’s cultural life and in dialogue with our surroundings. The Festival should touch people, create memories, and contribute to art's ability to move the world. The attendance numbers suggest that many feel we have succeeded in doing just that," says the Festival director. 

In addition to the increase in attendance, the proportion of young audiences has also increased. 

'We see trends that the audience is growing, becoming younger and more diverse. Perhaps it is the case that in turbulent, conflict-filled times, culture becomes an extra clear reminder of how important people are to each other?' he says. 

'Culture binds us together'

For over 70 years, the Bergen International Festival has been an international meeting-place for Norwegian and international artists and audiences. This year's programme had a particular focus on two Norwegian artists, composer Øyvind Torvund and violinist and Hardanger fiddle-player Ragnhild Hemsing

'Both artists have a fearless, open approach and continually explore new paths. During the Bergen International Festival, artistic expressions, the experimental and the traditional, the local and the international meet, and these two extraordinary artists are living examples of this,' says Hagen. 

The 2024 Bergen International Festival consisted of approximately 100 different public events, many of them free and outdoors on the Festival square stage. The programme ranges from the opening performance of Peer Gynt in co-production with Nationaltheatret, to concerts for babies as well as playgrounds

Compellingly beautiful

- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Peer Gynt

'This year's Festival began with a community choir and concludes with Mahler's 8th Symphony featuring seven choirs on stage. Choral singing has been a significant part of the programme, and for me, it is both something tangible and symbolic. When you sing together with other people, you become part of something larger. This is the very essence of culture; it binds us together and makes us meaningful to each other,' says the Festival director.

Bergen Festival is offering a rare and irresistible opportunity to see the two Norwegian geniuses in full flight.

- The Telegraph on Peer Gynt

German Radio Eins' 'Elektro Beats' also covered the Bergen International Festival, which can be listened to here.