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Norway makes it “impossible” for festivals to go ahead

Norway has postponed the final step in the reopening of its economy for a second time, due to the continued spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

The government in April launched a four-step plan to gradually remove most pandemic restrictions, and had completed the first three of those steps by mid-June.

Initially, the government’s plan was to restrict festivals to 2,000 attendees until June, 5,000 attendees until August and 10,000 thereafter.

This prompted the cancellation of Live Nation-owned festivals Bergenfest and Tons of Rock, Superstruct-backed Øya Festival, Over Oslo, Picnic in the Park, Stavernfetsivalen, Seljord Festival and Country Festival.

However, after the first delay to the final step of the roadmap, the government increased capacity limits for public events using Covid-19 certification and rapid testing.

A new assessment will be made in mid-August but prime minister Erna Solberg predicts Norway will fully reopen this autumn

As of 8 July, events without designated seating can take place with a maximum of 1,500 people (previously 1,000) indoors and 3,000 people (previously 2,000) outdoors. The audience must be divided into 500-capacity cohorts and the venue’s capacity cannot exceed 50%.

Events with designated seating can take place with a maximum of 3,000 (previously 2,500) indoors and 7,000 people (previously 5,000) outdoors. These events must also be divided into 500-capacity cohorts and the venue’s capacity cannot exceed 50%.

One of the last major Norwegian festivals left – Festningen (The Fortress Festival) in Trondheim – was cancelled yesterday, as organisers said the postponement of the final step had made it “impossible” to go ahead.

A new assessment will be made in mid-August but prime minister Erna Solberg predicts Norway will fully reopen this autumn, provided more residents are vaccinated.

About 80% of adults in Norway have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 41% of adults are fully vaccinated, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Thanks to an early lockdown in March 2020 and tight restrictions that followed, the nation of 5.4 million people has seen one of Europe’s lowest rates of mortality from the virus.

 


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Sky Festivals acquires Norway’s Stavernfestivalen

Sky Festivals, the largest festival owner in Norway, has acquired Stavernfestivalen, the country’s most popular music festival, which has taken place near the city of Larvik since 2001.

Stavernfestivalen, which moved to its current home at the Larvik Golf Arena in 2015, welcomed more than 80,000 guests across three days in 2019, with revenue of more than €10 million. Sky Festivals already owned 50% of the event, and has now acquired the remaining 50% of shares from festival founder Roger Albin.

Past performers at Stavernfestivalen include Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Post Malone, Travis Scott, Kygo, Neil Young, Sting, Bob Dylan, Roxette, David Guetta, Pharrell Williams and Alan Walker.

“We are determined to make Stavern 2022 the biggest and best version ever”

Sky Festivals – part of Sky Agency – adds Stavernfestivalen to a festival portfolio that also includes the 20,000-capacity Findings Festival in Oslo (co-owned with Live Nation); Festningen (18,000-cap.) in Trondheim; Utopia (12,000-cap.) in Stavanger; Landstreff Fredriksten (10,000- cap.) in Halden; and Idyllfestivalen (15,000-cap.) in Fredrikstad.

“We strongly believe in the Norwegian festival market for the years to come, and Stavern is a very strong brand that we really feel we can on keep growing in the future,” says Trond Opsahl, Sky Festivals co-founder (with Christoffer Huse), CEO and festival booker. “We are determined to make Stavern 2022 the biggest and best version ever.”

Stavernfestivalen returns for its 20th anniversary next summer. At press time, only festivals of up to 5,000 people are allowed in Norway, even with rapid testing, and must be divided into groups of just 500.

 


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