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Oslo racetrack upgrade planned to attract top acts

Oslo’s new city council has revealed it plans to invest millions to upgrade an outdoor concert venue in a bid to entice leading international touring artists to Norway.

The Norwegian capital’s Bjerke Travbane racetrack welcomed a 60,000-cap show by Rammstein in July 2022, and the authority is setting aside NOK 5.3 million (€449,400) in next month’s revised budget for improvements to the site, with a target completion date of summer 2025.

VG reports that politicians were compelled to act after Stockholm’s Friends Arena in neighbouring Sweden was selected to host the three Scandinavian dates on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, and decided that enhancing an existing venue would provide a fast and cost-effective option.

“For us, it has been important to get this in place, and quickly, because the city needs it,” says Hallstein Bjerck, city councillor for finance. “We will not stand by and watch Taylor Swift go to Stockholm, and not to Oslo.”

Bjerke Travbane general manager Hilde Apneseth says it would also be possible to stage concerts on a smaller scale at the outdoor venue, perhaps of around 30,000-capacity.

“We hope that there will be concerts several times during the year, especially in the period from mid-June to mid-August,” she adds.

“It will still be a big challenge to get Coldplay, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and so on to say ‘yes’ even though we have Bjerke”

The move has been backed by All Things Live Norway‘s Peer Osmundsvaag, who says: “This will avoid many one-off costs, so you can lower the threshold. There are several Norwegian bands that can sell 20,000 tickets here. If you manage to do this, you can perhaps get between six and 10 concerts during a season.”

However, Live Nation Norway general manager Martin Nielsen sounds a note of caution, warning that many of the biggest acts will still prefer to play stadiums, both for financial and production reasons.

“It will still be a big challenge to get Coldplay, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and so on to say ‘yes’ even though we have Bjerke,” he tells VG. “In a stadium, you can operate with several price ranges, preferably seven or eight different ones, and then sell the best seats at a higher price.

“In a flat area like Bjerke, you can at best have one slightly more expensive ‘golden circle’ near the stage, while the other tens of thousands become standing room with the same price for everyone. If you only have two ticket price levels, it will obviously be much more difficult to maximise income.”

Despite bringing Bruce Springsteen to Oslo for two nights last summer to 50,000-cap greenfield site Voldslokka, Nielsen warned in IQ‘s 2023 Global Promoters Report that a dearth of suitable venues for the largest productions was a major obstacle.

“A key issue is that we don’t have a big stadium in Norway,” he said. “A lot of the tours are built for stadiums, and they don’t want to play [in Norway] unless it’s a stadium.”

 


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All Things Live Norway hires festival veteran Toffen Gunnufsen

All Things Live Norway has recruited veteran Toffen Gunnufsen as a festival booker and promoter.

Gunnufsen will work across ATL Norway’s stable of festivals, which includes Oslo Sommertid and Trondheim Sommertid, as well as partner events.

The industry stalwart has 32 years’ worth of experience booking international artists and establishing some of the largest and most recognised festivals in Norway such as Quart, Hove, Skral and Kadetten. He also helped re-establish Slottsfjell in 2021 with great success and a sold-out festival.

Among the artists Gunnufsen has booked for festivals is Coldplay, David Bowie, Foo Fighters, Muse, Artic Monkeys, Daft Punk, QOTSA, Calvin Harris, Bjørk, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Rammstein, Cardi B, Post Malone, Doja Cat, Burna Boy, Asap Rocky and Kendrick Lamar.

He has also booked Kanye West, Massive Attack, Blur, Oasis, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Lil Nas X, Imagine Dragons, Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Drake, Amy Winehouse, Beck, Rage Against The Machine, Beastie Boys, Portishead, Alicia Keys, Jay Z, Slipknot, Tool and Depeche Mode.

“We’re fortunate enough to hire the father of all Norwegian festivals, Toffen Gunnufsen, to work full time at ATL Norway as a festival booker for our own events and also to assist the extensive flora of many regional events,” says All Things Live’s Peer Osmundsvaag.

“No one has the length or width of his extensive knowledge and experience in this field”

“No one has the length or width of his extensive knowledge and experience in this field and we are excited to have him aboard.”

Gunnufsen adds: “I look forward to working with Peer and his amazing team at All Things Live, focusing on festivals – both our own and the festivals we cooperate with – and promoting new talent to a wider audience. It has always been close to my heart.”

All Things Live Norway spans booking, promotion, events, comedy and festival activities via subsidiaries All-In, Stageway, Komon Stageway, HES and Stand Up Norge.

The company represents around 80 Norwegian and Nordic artists and organises more than 200 concerts a year with artists such as Justin Bieber, Andrea Bocelli, Rammstein, Shawn Mendes, Twenty-One Pilots, Sam Smith and Nick Cave.

The All Things Live Group was founded by Waterland Private Equity in 2018 and has since expanded to seven European countries and 19 companies, with offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam.

 


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