Photo: Johanne Karlsrud

Outdoors and indoors for all ages

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February 22, 2024

At the Festival square in the heart of Bergen, local gems and international ensembles are coming together in a series of free events. 

Dance, a marching band, and interactive art installations, make up only a fraction of the free programme now published at This spring, you can also expect gigantic puppet hands, a large-scale labyrinth, a dance with duct tape, classical musicians, and young circus artists from Fyllingsdalen theatre.

Over 40 new events have now been added to this year's programme, most of them at the free stage at the Festival square

– The Bergen International Festival is for everyone, and the Festival square is one of the best examples of that. Grieg Foundation’s generous gift to the city means that we can create a venue that is open, accessible, free with a wealth of artistic expressions for all age groups, right in the centre of Bergen, says Festival director Lars Petter Hagen. 

This is the third year Torgallmenningen has been transformed into the Festival square (Festallmenningen in Norwegian) with support from Grieg Foundation. Last year, the Festival Square attracted 25,000 visitors. 

– A large part of the Festival proramme is free and accessible to all. We are grateful to have supporters who recognise the value in this, and make it possible to create new, artistic meeting-places – together, says the Festival director.  

Brass, circus and Saroea

The Norwegian Naval Forces Band (SFMK) is featured in the first concert at the free stage. This year, like last year, they will march from Bergenhus Fortress, but this time in brass ensemble, and composers like Pat Metheny and Joe Zawinul are on the programme.

However, SFMK is not the only marching band that will be performing on the stage. 45 talented school children from the Møhlenpris school band will perform Razika songs, joined by none other than Razika vocalist Marie Amdam. They will be followed by Datarock's own Fredrik Saroea, who will take a break from his role as the Devil in The Master and Margarita, to present excerpts from his diverse solo catalogue on the free stage. 

On piano, Håvard Gimse and Christian Ihle Hadland will fill the Festival square with Grieg, Sæverud and Chopin. Both are former students of Jiří Hlinka and have performed at numerous prestigious stages in Norway and internationally, but a perfomance on an outdoor stage is a rare treat. 

Festivities for children and youngsters

The majority of the newly launched ticketed events are suitable for the whole family.

If the weather doesn't look promising, you can head indoors to Grieghallen. Inside the Peer Gynt hall, you'll encounter a sea of glitter, glam, and platform boots. Rock me Baby is a concert experience that seeks to demonstrate that one-year-olds and glam rockers may have more in common than you might think. Øystein Elle and Karstein Solli have created a show that blends the visual expression of glam rock with heavy riffs, adapted for the youngest audience members. 

The programme in the Peer Gynt hall continues with the band KaPLING!. Their music has been described as a mix of Gorillaz, Tame Impala, and Knudsen & Ludvigsen, with cowbells. 

Become one of the first to experience hand picked rising stars when the youth from the cultural school take the stage. The Festival youth performance offers a diverse programme of singing, dancing, and music in various genres, all performed by skilled artists in one of their very first Festival appearances. 

Live show with Nils and Harald

The podcast Big 5 with Nils and Harald have had great success with listeners using the «Big Five» personality test to analyse famous people on NRK P2 and in their own podcast. They are coming to Bergen for the Festival to ask pianist Leif Ove Andsnes: Who are you really? 

Andsnes has taken the personality test in advance of the conversation, and the answers will be revealed live on stage. 

What personality traits characterise someone who, since their teens, has ranked among the world's elite pianists? Does spending half the year travelling, staying in hotel rooms, and performing solo make him neurotic or contemplative? The answers may be funny, interesting, and educational.  

To be a man in 2024

From Chile comes The possibility of tenderness, a play about masculinity and vulnerability as told by seven teenage boys. In the theatre performance the boys will present their vision of what a man is supposed to be in the modern world. 

«Against the backdrop of a global society where men still lead wars and are responsible for systematic violence, practicing tenderness holds a revolutionary power. It opens up to other forms of masculinity, far from barbarism and brutality,» writes the theater company La Re-Sentida, which is behind the production.

The theatre company is dedicated to breaking away from established thought patterns, and the performance is the result of workgroups with youths aged 13–17. 

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