x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Peer Osmundsvaag exits All Things Live to go solo

Friction and Atomic Soul Booking founder Peer Osmundsvaag has gone solo following a five-year stint with Nordic live entertainment giant All Things Live (ATL).

The Norway-based promoter’s businesses were among six Scandinavian companies united by Netherlands-based multinational investment firm Waterland Private Equity to form ATL, which launched in 2019. ATL also acquired one of Norway’s largest independent festival organisers, HES, last year.

“I’ve had a great five years with the fantastic team at All Things Live and have many fond memories, but the restless soul in me felt it was time for new adventures,” Osmundsvaag tells IQ.

Osmundsvaag has brought acts such as Eminem, Bon Jovi, Prince, Robbie Williams, Leonard Cohen, Bocelli, Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, Bruno Mars, Rammstein, Green Day, Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding to Norway.

In the wake of his departure from ATL, he plans to focus on his own festival, Oslo’s Piknik i Parken (Picnic in the Park) – aka PiPFest – which he founded in 2014. PipFest’s most recent edition took place last month, headed by Stormzy, Massive Attack, Tom Odell and L’Impératrice.

“I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty, getting back in the trenches and focusing on developing the festival,” says Osmundsvaag. “It’s an inner-city event based on the total experience rather than being purely headliner-driven and we’ve seen lovely, organic growth, which took us by surprise.

“We had a 30% increase from 2023 to this year and a record turnout. It’s 8,000-cap at the moment, but we’re going to expand to a third stage for next year, which will bring it up to 12,000.”

“AURORA has been on our wish list for many years, so we’re very happy to finally got that locked in early”

PiPFest has announced Norwegian superstar AURORA as its first headliner for 2025, which will be held at Sofienbergparken from 12-14 June. Early bird three-day passes priced NOK1,560 (€136) have already sold out. Full price admission will cost NOK2,600, with day tickets available for NOK1,300.

“AURORA has been on our wish list for many years, so we’re very happy to finally got that locked in early,” says Osmundsvaag. “The only show she will be doing in eastern Norway next year will be with us. We only have eight or nine artists per day, which makes it fun but harder to programme as every act has to count.”

The veteran promoter, who was also booker and co-founder of Norway’s Hove Festival, oversaw the two largest ticketed live music events in Norway’s history – Eminem at Oslo’s Voldslokka, which drew 55,000 people in 2018, and Rammstein, who pulled 60,000 fans to Bjerke Travbane horse track in 2022. In 2017, he was awarded the culture prize by the Major of Oslo for “helping to put Oslo on the map as one of the world’s best concert cities”.

Osmundsvaag moved into clubs and ticketed events after starting out as a DJ and free party organiser in Cheltenham, UK in the 80s. Working with rave music promoter Fantazia, he sold 120,000 copies of Fantazia Club Classics as ‘DJ Peer’.

He later toured with British pop group D-Ream as their DJ in 1993/94 before moving back to his native Norway. Following spells as booker for Quart Festival and running clubs in Oslo in the late 90s, he switched to concert promotion and started Atomic Soul in 2001.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

25 years of Øya Festival: ‘It’s been a fun ride’

Øya Festival chief Claes Olsen has looked back on the history of the event as it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary this summer.

The 22,000-cap gathering, which is one of Norway’s leading festivals, will reach the milestone at Oslo’s Tøyen Park from 6-10 August, topped by  PJ Harvey, Pulp, Queens of the Stone Age, Gabrielle and Janelle Monáe.

Speaking to IQ, the Øya founder, owner and booker reveals that tickets are moving at an impressive pace.

“I think it’s the third best year ever at the moment, so I hope that we will be sold out.” says Olsen.

Since launching in 1999, Øya has hosted the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Cure, Lana Del Rey, Beck, Blur, Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, The Stone Roses, Björk, Kanye West and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

“Time flies,” says Olsen. “It’s crazy, but it’s been a long ride – a fun ride – and I don’t regret anything about it at all.”

“Everything was so strict in the 90s. If you listened to one kind of music, you couldn’t listen to another. There were so many unwritten rules”

Reflecting on the festival’s origins, Olsen says it was developed initially to help highlight the domestic live music sector, but has evolved its output through the years as the public’s musical preferences have become less tribal.

“We were friends running tiny, 100 to 300-cap venues in Oslo and saw this emerging scene of new artists that weren’t getting to play festivals in Norway,” he remembers. “There were very few festivals at that time and they were hard to get into for domestic acts, so the original idea was to showcase the scene.

“These acts would be selling 200-400 tickets each because it was a small market at that time, so we thought, ‘Okay, they’ll sell 300, they’ll sell 400, they’ll sell 500,’ and added it all up. But you can’t do that because it’s a lot of the same people buying tickets and the lineup was not that diverse.”

He continues: “There has been a slow evolution both of our own music tastes, and also the general perception of music. Especially in the 90s, everything was so strict: if you listened to one kind of music, you couldn’t listen to another, and there were so many unwritten rules at that time.

“That slowly changed for us, but part of the festival’s DNA is to still be part of the local music scene and so around 50% of acts playing the festival are still domestic. We’ve spent a lot of time booking them but also marketing them and putting in a lot of effort to keep them growing.”

“We had Sonic Youth as the headliner [in 2005] and that was a shift. After that, it became easier to book international artists”

Olsen regards the 2005 edition as a turning point in the festival’s history.

“We had Sonic Youth as the headliner, and that was a shift that got us more attention internationally,” he recalls. “After that, it became easier to book international artists, so 2005 was a particular highlight.”

Øya entered into an investment agreement with Superstruct Entertainment in 2018, with the festival’s senior leadership joining Superstruct’s management team. However, Olsen says it has largely been “business as usual” since the deal.

“I feel like everything we agreed upfront is what they are doing, so we have managed to retain that independent feeling, which is important for us,” he says. “We’re a group of people who are doing this for the love of the music.”

Alongside this year’s Thursday night headliner Monáe, other acts announced for the 2024 bill today include Jorja Smith, Jessie Ware (who performed her first ever show in Europe at Øya in 2008), Slowdive, Thee Sacred Souls and Seyi Vibez.

“You’ve got to be on your toes and deliver every year so that people keep coming back”

Olsen reveals a series of special events are also being lined up to mark the festival’s silver anniversary.

“In the first year, the festival was held in June, so we are going to do a couple of things in Oslo around the date in June, and then some special shows at the actual festival,” he says. “But most of the other stuff is business as usual – you’ve got to be on your toes and deliver every year so that people keep coming back.”

Week passes are priced at 4,169 NOK (approximately €355), while individual day tickets are 1,454 NOK (€124), while discounted weekly passes for 12 to 17-year-olds are already sold out for 2024. Organisers have also introduced premium Øya Pluss tickets, offering access to the guest area.

“We did it for the first time last year, instead of increasing the price of general admission tickets,” explains Olsen. “That has helped a bit, but of course costs are increasing a lot. So it’s not easy, but we have to work hard on other income streams.”

Olsen acknowledges, however, that being on the frontline in the Norwegian live business is far from straightforward at present – especially given the exchange rate.

“Since this is an anniversary year, we have tried to look backwards a little bit, but also be very current”

“It’s not been easy; it’s been really hard work,” he says. “We are in huge trouble with the Norwegian currency, so it’s super-cheap for people to come to Norway, but for us to book artists, paying in euros and dollars, is insane. Back in 2011, the dollar was 5 NOK and now it’s 11 NOK, so it’s more than doubled and that’s a significant change.

“Apart from that, we’re really happy with the programme; it’s very diverse. Since this is an anniversary year, we have tried to look backwards a little bit, but also be very current. That mix is super-important. It’s something that we have always done, but have maybe had a bit more focus on it this year.”

Øya has also maintained its commitment to gender equality, having achieved a 50/50 split between male and female artists on the bill since 2017.

“The first year where we had 50/50 on the headliners was 2010 when we had M.I.A. and Robyn,” he remembers. “It was hard but we had confidence about what was coming through and felt it would get easier. I think we have 56% female-led acts this year in the total, so it’s not a problem anymore at all.”

The festival’s sustainability efforts, meanwhile, have seen it honoured at both the European Festival Awards and A Greener Festival Awards. Examples of its environmentally responsible practices include running the event entirely free of fossil fuels, using renewable power for 98% of its requirements, and hand-sorting waste to ensure that 75% of it can be recycled.

“Our sustainability work is something we started back in 2004, so it’s actually the 20-year anniversary for that.” notes Olsen. “We try to push the boundaries of what’s achievable and be a frontrunner when it comes to sustainability, and also in a broader way with equality and being a safe space.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Springsteen’s Oslo concerts to be battery powered

Live Nation Norway will introduce electricity from mobile batteries for Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming concerts in Oslo, Norway.

Springsteen and The E Street Band are due to play two concerts at Voldsløkka (cap. 40,000) on 30 June and 2 July.

Thanks to a new partnership between LN Norway and Norwegian renewable energy and technology company Eviny, the gigs will use electricity from mobile batteries – thereby significantly reducing the use of diesel generators.

Live Nation Norway festivals Tons of Rock and the newly launched Vaulen Open Air will also benefit from the introduction of Eviny’s batteries.

“At Live Nation Norway, we are taking the lead in finding new, emission-free solutions”

Eviny has been producing clean renewable energy from hydropower for over 100 years and is now investing in mobile batteries and energy solutions to slash emissions within Norway’s live music scene.

The partnership sees the promoter take a step closer to decarbonising its festivals’ energy sources, seven years ahead of the original goal date of 2030.

“At Live Nation Norway, we are taking the lead in finding new, emission-free solutions,” says Martin Nielsen, head promoter in Live Nation Norway. “Eviny will now become an energy partner where the goal is to take action and make a difference to pave the way for a more sustainable live music scene both nationally and globally.”

Marit Meland, business developer at Eviny, adds: “We see a huge interest from several industries that are moving full speed ahead into the green shift. We see more and more interest from markets where there is a temporary need for electricity. The live music scene is a part of this, both when it comes to concerts and other types of events.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

All Things Live continues acquisition spree in Norway

All Things Live is strengthening its foothold in Norway with the acquisition of Oslo-based event agency All-In.

The deal comes weeks after All Things Live purchased one of Norway’s largest independent festival organisers, HES.

The group’s Norwegian business already spans booking, promotion, events, comedy and festival activities via subsidiaries Stageway, Komon Stageway, Latter and Stand Up Norge.

All-In was founded in 2017 by Jens Nesse, Jan Fredrik Karlsen and Petter Stordalen and now employs 10 people to work with corporate events, concerts and conferences for Norwegian and international customers.

In 2022, All-In had revenues of NOK 133 million (€9.9m) and NOK 15 million (€1.3m) in profits.

“We are proud of what we have achieved in All-In,” says Jens Nesse, co-founder and CEO of All-In. “After founding the company in 2017, the business has grown to become what we dreamt of. Becoming part of a family as ambitious as All Things Live will provide us with even more fuel to accelerate in the coming years.”

“We will gain a stronger foothold in an important market, enabling us to create even more unique experiences”

“We have found everything we were looking for in All Things Live. Loads of experience, great enthusiasm and a wide range of competencies. It is a powerful team with great resources within our field. What is not to like?” adds co-founder of All-In, Jens Fredrik Karlsen.

Gry Mølleskog, CEO of All Things Live Norway and the All Things Live Group: “The acquisition of All-In strengthens All Things Live’s position in the event market in Norway. In combination with our ownership of Komon-Stageway, we will gain a stronger foothold in an important market, enabling us to create even more unique experiences for our customers.

“The competencies in these two great event companies combined with the strong teams in Latter and Stand Up Norge, Komon-Stageway and HES will make All Things Live an even more attractive partner in the Norwegian event industry.”

In the last 12 months, the All Things Live group has acquired Agents After All (the Netherlands), Musickness (Belgium), Radar Concerti (Italy) and Amaze Festival (Sweden), alongside HES and All-In.

Since the Nordic group was founded by Waterland Private Equity in 2018, it has expanded to seven European countries and 19 companies, with offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam.

The company’s portfolio ranges from musical productions to music festivals and standup events to stadium concerts, with The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Katy Perry and Rammstein among its clients.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

All Things Live buys Norwegian promoter HES

All Things Live has acquired one of the largest independent festival organisers in Norway, HES.

Founded in 2010, the Oslo-based company is a full-service provider of festival organisation and operations.

HESs 13-strong team is involved in festivals including Verket, Drøbakfestivalen, Hvalstrandfestivalen, Sarpsborgfestivalen, Lillehammer Live and Haikjeften, as well as music venue Verket Scene.

The acquisition sees All Things Live’s footprint in Norway expand to cover booking, promotion, events, comedy and festival activities via subsidiaries Stageway, Komon Stageway, Latter and Stand Up Norge.

“The HES team has built a strong business with clear growth prospects on the back of proven capabilities within festival organisation and operations,” says Gry Mølleskog, CEO of All Things Live Group.

“Since 2010, the team has established several successful festivals entertaining thousands of people every year, and we are pleased to welcome HES as part of All Things Live in Norway with a view to developing the business and accelerating the positive developments in the years ahead.”

“The HES team has built a strong business with clear growth prospects”

The management team – consisting of CEO Hans Petter Haaland and head of market Erle Strøm – and the organisation of HES remain unchanged, and existing contracts and customer relationships are not affected by the transaction. The current owners of HES become partners and co-owners of All Things Live.

“We are thrilled to team up with All Things Live and look forward to collaborating closely with a leading and respected European live entertainment player to build on our successes in Norway and create even greater live experiences for our audiences together,” says Hans Petter Haaland, CEO of HES.

“For more than a decade, we have organized and run more than 50 festivals and promoted many of Scandinavia’s best artists, and we will continue to do so with an even stronger organization as part of the All Things Live partnership.”

In the last 12 months, the All Things Live group has acquired Agents After All (the Netherlands), Musickness (Belgium), Radar Concerti (Italy) and Amaze Festival (Sweden).

Since the Nordic group was founded by Waterland Private Equity in 2018, it has expanded to seven European countries and 19 companies, with offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam.

The company’s portfolio ranges from musical productions to music festivals and standup events to stadium concerts, with The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Katy Perry and Rammstein among its clients.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

All Things Live promotes Norway’s biggest-ever gig

All Things Live has smashed the attendance record for a concert on Norwegian soil, hosting 60,000 fans at a Rammstein show.

The event took place on Sunday 24 June at Bjerke Travbane in Oslo and was the first-ever concert held at the horse racing track.

The previous attendance record was set by All Things Live subsidiary Atomic Soul with Eminem’s 2018 performance at Oslo Sommertid festival.

The rapper drew around 55,000 fans to the capital’s Voldsløkka sports stadium after tickets sold out in just six minutes.

Commenting on the Rammstein show, All Things Live Norway promoter Mark Vaughan says: “Bjerke Travbane was a fantastic venue to present this massive show. It doesn’t come any bigger than Rammstein and both band and crew were extremely happy after the show.”

All Things Live Norway has secured an exclusive agreement with Bjerke Travbane going forward, which will be the largest capacity arena in Norway.

“We have worked and invested a lot to make this venue compatible for the biggest artists in the world, now we have proved it works and we are looking forward to bringing stadium artists to Norway going forwards!” says Peer Osmundsvaag, All Things Live Norway.

“We are looking forward to bringing stadium artists to Norway going forwards”

News of the record-breaking concert comes as All Things Live announces yet another acquisition.

The private-equity-backed live entertainment group has sealed the deal with Stageway, a leading Norwegian live entertainment group that deals in artist management, booking and promoting.

The Bergen-based group’s activities are conducted via three companies: Stageway Talent, Komon Stageway and Stageway Teater.

Stageway Talent provides booking and promotion services across genres for a roster of more than 30 artists; Komon-Stageway delivers turnkey event solutions for large corporate customers and Stageway Teater produces comedy shows and acts as a management service provider for renowned Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, among others.

Arne Svare, co-founder and CEO of Stageway, says: “We are so pleased to announce that we are joining forces with All Things Live to accelerate our joint business in Norway, the Nordics and beyond in the coming years. We have been part of the bustling live entertainment industry for four decades and known and respected the team behind All Things Live for years. Together, we will strengthen our offering to artists and customers while delivering even greater experiences for the audience.”

Knut Meiner, chairman and senior consultant of Komon-Stageway, adds: “Everyone in our companies have worked hard to build a strong reputation in the Norwegian market. We are absolutely thrilled to become part of a partnership, which is well-respected and shares our aspiration to grow the business based on deep understanding of the local market and a clear focus on bringing great live entertainment and fantastic corporate events to more people.”

“Stageway is a great business with fantastic talent, strong growth prospects and a perfect fit with our existing operations”

The management team and organisation of Stageway will remain unchanged, and existing contracts and customer relationships will not be affected by All Things Live’s acquisition of Stageway Talent, Komon-Stageway and Stageway Teater. In connection with the transaction, the current owners of the three companies become partners and co-owners of All Things Live.

“Stageway is a great business with fantastic talent, strong growth prospects and a perfect fit with our existing operations in All Things Live Norway. We are very pleased to welcome the great people behind Stageway who will contribute greatly to the development of our partnership in Norway and internationally,” says Kim Worsøe, member of the executive board of All Things Live Group.

Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Norwegian Competition Authority. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

All Things Live has been on an acquisition spree in the past fortnight, this week enhancing its presence in Belgium with the addition of management company Musickness.

Last week, All Things Live signalled its expansion into the Italian market with the acquisition of promoter and agency Radar Concerti and also recently announced the signing of international management firm Then We Take The World.

All Things Live was established in 2018 as “the new independent market leader in Nordic live entertainment” following Waterland Private Equity’s acquisition of six leading Scandinavian promoters and agencies.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Live Nation loses court case over Oslo park slot

Live Nation Norway has lost the civil case it brought against Oslo Municipality for awarding All Things Live the concert allocation for Voldsløkka sports park.

The Urban Environment Agency’s guidelines, which apply from 2022 onwards, state that the area – mainly used for sports – can only be used for one large music event annually, with a maximum of two concert dates.

In addition, there is a requirement that the main artist must have the potential to sell 40,000 tickets or more.

According to Live Nation Norway, it had presented confirmation documents for renting Voldsløkka in the summer of 2022. But All Things Live, a private equity-backed live entertainment group, was awarded the allocation to stage Norway’s largest festival, Oslo Summer Time (cap. 55,000), on 24 June.

Oslo Summer Time has taken place at Voldsløkka since it was founded in 2017 and has drawn artists including Eminem, Pusha T and Marcus & Martinus.

Live Nation claimed that the allocation was contrary to the municipality’s own guidelines, according to Aftenposten. The live entertainment giant felt discriminated against and says that the municipality gave the competitor All Things Live advantages.

“It is quite obvious that the arena situation is critically bad in Oslo”

“It is quite obvious that the arena situation is critically bad in Oslo,” general manager of Live Nation Norway, Morten Valestrand, previously told Dagbladet.

“As the capital, one should be able to expect the municipality to facilitate such large concerts, but we feel this is not the case now. What we are asking for is simply that they follow their own guidelines and ensure equal treatment of the organisers. We believe that one must be able to expect this.”

The municipality agreed that access to large arenas for concerts in Oslo is a scarce commodity, but that the guidelines for the use of Voldsløkka had been prepared following input from the industry.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Nordic test shows: Too little, too late?

After effectively ruling out the 2021 festival season, the governments in Denmark and Norway are now in the process of organising large-scale test events to determine how big gatherings can take place during the pandemic.

According to Denmark’s live association, Dansk Live, such experiments were proposed in December 2020 and also in March 2021 by the government-backed ‘Restart Team’.

Both proposals were “kicked to the corner by the authorities,” according to Dansk Live’s Esben Marcher, but it seems that Denmark’s minister of culture has had a late change of heart.

This week, minister Joy Mogensen asked the government’s Restart Team to assess the possibilities of conducting experiments with large events this summer.

The minister’s request comes three weeks after the government’s roadmap was published, which stated that a maximum of 2,000 participants will be permitted at festivals between 21 May and 1 August 2021.

The announcement was followed by a raft of cancellations from 15+ festivals including Roskilde (26 June to 3 July), Smukfest (4–8 August), Northside (3–5 June) and Tinderbox (24–26 June) – rendering the country’s 2021 festival season over.

“The hope was that knowledge could be created that could ensure better opportunities for this summer’s events”

While Dansk Live’s Marcher has welcomed the news of potential test concerts, he also expresses disappointment that large-scale pilots weren’t approved earlier in the year.

“Already at the end of 2020, we proposed to the minister of culture that experiments be carried out in events that bring many people together,” he says.

“The hope was that knowledge could be created that could ensure better opportunities for this summer’s events. Although it is positive that there now seems to be support for making trial arrangements, it is, of course, a pity that there has been no political will to launch trials in the past.”

The Norwegian government has also shown little political will to organise test concerts up to this point – though, after some uncertainty, this morning the cabinet finally approved a pilot series proposed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The institute is planning five test concerts in Bergen and Oslo with up to 5,000 people attending each one. As previously reported in IQ, 15,000 participants will be recruited for a control group and will not actually attend the concerts.

The series is expected to kick off in June and concerts will take place in a number of venues including Oslo Spektrum and Grieg Hall in Bergen.

The Nowegian government this morning approved a pilot series proposed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health

The research project will investigate whether the risk of the spread of infection is reduced to such an extent that rapid testing can replace the distance requirement during events.

Bergen Live, Øya festival, Palmesus and other Norwegian concert organisers will be involved in the test events – many of which were forced to cancel festivals due to the government’s preliminary guidelines, which restrict festivals to 2,000 attendees until June, 5,000 attendees until August and 10,000 thereafter.

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 among events have been cancelled since.

Compared with other countries in the northern hemisphere, Norway and Denmark have been slow off the mark with arranging test shows.

Germany began conducting test shows as far back as August 2020, with Restart-19, prompting other nations including Spain, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium and Luxembourg, to follow suit. See an extensive timeline of pilot projects here.

While the test shows haven’t necessarily guaranteed the security of the 2021 festival season – many of the aforementioned markets have already seen the summer season obliterated due to government restrictions – nations like the UK are surging towards a full reopening thanks to reassuring results from the government’s Events Research Programme.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Norway tests would involve 15k people…staying at home

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) is proposing a number of test events that would involve a total of 30,000 people – half of which would not get to attend the concerts.

The Institute is envisaging several indoor concerts – which will most likely take place in Oslo in June – with up to 5,000 unmasked participants.

Both those attending the concert and those who are not will be tested before and after the event in order to compare infection rates at home and in the venue.

“We want a definite answer as to whether infection-testing the audience before they are admitted to a concert makes it as safe to go to a concert as to be at home and watch TV,” says Atle Fretheim who heads the research group at the NIPH.

Various other tests have taken place around Europe, including in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.

“We want a definite answer as to whether it’s as safe to go to a concert as to be at home and watch TV”

Whether Norway’s test events can go ahead depends on the approval from the health authorities and the regional committee for medical research ethics.

According to Fretheim, the minister for culture’s working group – which includes Bergen Live and Øya Festival – and Norwegian Concert Organisers (Konsertarrangor) have backed the test series.

However, Konsertarrangor’s Tone Østerdal doubts the results will come back quickly enough to have an impact on Norway’s festival summer.

The Stavern Festival and OsloOslo have already been cancelled after the minister for culture announced preliminary guidelines which would restrict festivals to 2,000 attendees until June, 5,000 attendees until August and 10,000 thereafter.

The Danish government this week announced similar restrictions which will restrict events to 2,000 attendees until August, rather than June.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.