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Stop by the Festival square

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Control a five-meter-tall puppet hand, catch a dance with duct tape, or listen to reinterpreted national treasures, as Torgallmenningen is transformed into the Festival square. 

Between Thursday 23 May and Sunday 2 June, Torgallmenningen will once again be decorated and transformed into the Festival square, hosting the Bergen International Festival’s free stage for the third consecutive year. 

'We are proud to be able to open the Festival square also this year, thanks to the support from the Grieg Foundation. The Festival square is a meeting place where everyone has the opportunity to meet others, create memories, and experience music and culture, and with good weather forecasts, we hope for a big celebration this year! The Grieg Foundation’s gift means that together we can create experiences for all of Bergen, and we are grateful for the trust they have placed in us,' says festival director Lars Petter Hagen.

This year's free programme features 27 different events spread over eleven days. 

Foto: Thor Brødreskift

Both old and new at the free stage 

The Norwegian Naval Forces Band is the first artist to enter the free stage in 2024. They will be followed by a variety of musical performances ranging from electronica to classical. 

National treasures will be reinterpreted in creative ways in BIT20 Ensembles performance of OleBullsHits. Artist in residence Ragnhild Hemsing is joined by jazz musicians Mathias Eick and Mats Eilertsen in a meeting of different genres. Kenneth Lien & the Center of the Universe will follow in the same spirit with a mix of folk music and electronica featuring willow flute and synth. Datarock vocalist Fredrik Saroea will play excerpts from his diverse solo catalogue.

The classical programme includes former Jiří Hlinka students Christian Ihle Hadland and Håvard Gimse. They will each perform an outdoor concert on 27 May, featuring music by Chopin and Sinding, Tveitt and Hurum.

‘I've always been very fond of playing on outdoor stages. There's nothing like playing with the sky above you; it's something completely different from being inside a concert hall’, says pianist Christian Ihle Hadland, a sentiment Håvard Gimse shares:  

‘It is always special to play outdoors.’ 

Two new ensembles from the Grieg Academy will also take the stage. One of them is the newly formed 7fjell Brass. 

‘We will be playing a variety of music—all songs—that showcase all the instruments in the ensemble. This makes it fun for us to play, and we hope it will be just as enjoyable for the audience," writes Jonathan Grech, who plays tuba in the ensemble.  
 Fargespill 20 years - Festival square

A celebration of Bergen 

Last year, the free programme attracted 25.000 visitors of all ages.  

The organization Femti71 have their own diverse programme on Thursday 30 May, which includes workshops, dance performances, and concerts. In the workshop, you will have the opportunity to learn how to redesign your clothes with the help of local artist Marcus Soddano.  

On Saturday 1 June, children and youth will get the chance to try their hand at being a circus performer. Cirkus Balance from Fyllingsdalen is bringing both trapeze and tightrope and will give knowledgeable guidance to those who want to try themselves.  

On Saturday 25 May, Fargespill will celebrate their 20th anniversary with a grand celebration of everything Bergen has to offer. Grab a bite to eat beforehand with Godfrey Manohara, who has gathered a dozen food-loving home cooks who will serve samples from the cuisines they grew up with. You will undoubtedly find something you have never tasted before!   

The installations Titeretú and El Laberint will be in the Festival square throughout the festival period. In Titeretú the audience is invited to control a five-meter-tall puppet hand. The sister project El Laberint has been popular in the outdoor programme at previous festivals – bring along a helper or two and navigate the labyrinth together.  

A reunion with old favourites 

During the Festival there will be multiple dance performances where the dancers perform at ground level, right in front of the audience. Gandr is a blend of contemporary dance and old Norwegian traditions; the two dancers in Linearity needs your assistance in creating straight lines with duct tape, while KNØ brings tree large canvases.

You can expect both singing and dancing when the youngest festival stars take the stage on Youth Festival day, Wednesday 29. May.  

Additionally, there will be a joyful reunion with Sunday brunch, Bergen Children’s Choir Festival, Creating with VilVite, and last, but not least, Singalong – summer favourites. Singalong was launched at the Festival square last year, where over a thousand people came together to form one giant choir.  

The Festival Square is made possible by the Grieg Foundation, and all events are free and open to all.  

At the Festival square

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