Itw @Maud Robadey / photo ©Stig Pallesen / www.facebook.com/StiPa.Photography
This is the festival you should attend if you would love to experience once the Vikings life. Between seminars, concerts and traditions, the Midgardsblot festival in Norway welcomes you in a wonderful place for three days of total immersion in an ancient Vikings land. Runa Strindin, founder of Midgardsbolt tells us more about this awesome event!
You imagined and created a festival located where the Norwegian Vikings lived and now rest. Could you tell us more about this amazing place?
The place is just magical and the atmosphere there is something very special. You can feel the echoes from ancient times here and entering the park you understand immediately that this was a very special place for the Vikings. I say it’s the Pyramids of Norway with these huge grave mounds where our mightiest Viking chiefs were buried. The park is so beautiful situated by the sea and the whole area was a center of power in the Viking age with lots of halls and houses. One hall is reconstructed and that’s the Gildehall, the feast hall and that’s where we build the festival area. So, coming to Midgardsblot you get to feast like the Vikings on historic grounds!
The Midgardsblot festival is about to celebrate its 3rd year. Could you share with us the first steps you took in creating this festival, and its history?
It all started when I produced the Eidsivablot concerts in Eidsvoll, at our constitutional building for the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution back in 2014. I commissioned Enslaved and Wardruna to write the piece Skuggsjá to premiere there and during my work with Eidsivablot I got a call from the Midgard museum to come down to see the park at Borre. When I entered I was blown away! It was a dream venue and a perfect place to develop the project into a festival. So in 2015 we did the first edition of Midgardsblot which was a huge success, and we understood that we had created something very unique that people from all over the world had been missing.
You respect the legacy and invite bands that are linked to the Viking world. Can we say that it is more than a festival… it’s a celebration?
Yes, we thought it was about time to celebrate the unity of metal and our Norse history with not only music but the whole culture and the lifestyle around it. Viking history and Norse mythology has been a great inspiration for many metal bands so we also wanted our guests to have the opportunity to learn more about it by putting up a seminar program and a Viking village. Our mission is to bring the rich Viking culture into the modern world through metal and making the best festival ever to all the people traveling to Norway for Midgardsblot, hoping they bring some Viking wisdom back with them too.
To complete the experience, you also arrange guided tours, animations and exhibitions. What can we expect this year?
Our seminar program is set up at the Midgard Museum in the day time and from here we do guided tours to the park and in the museums’ exhibition. This year we have lectures on Viking women, Viking weaponry and battle tactics, the daily life at Borre in the Viking age and the history of Norwegian metal with some of the Norwegian artists who were the pioneers of the extreme metal genres. We also do a panel debate on gender roles in metal and Viking history which I think can be very exiting – last year we did a panel on metal identity and the room was packed with people who got very engaged. And we also do food workshops, beer tastings with craft beers and mead tasting with our own ecological brewed mead – so you get to drink some of the best beers and learn something while doing it too.
The festival site is located in the middle of authentically reconstructed Viking houses, it’s pretty amazing to be allowed to organize a festival in the heart of this place. Was it difficult to get the legal permission?
No not really, the county was very welcoming to us. And they have been very supportive seeing that we draw a huge international crowd to the park and that metal heads are the best behaved and respectful audience a festival can have. We do use a lot of time and money to secure the area and our production costs are way higher than an ordinary festival though, but it’s all worth it – this place is just so special and it’s the best venue there is.
The bands booked for this year are pretty awesome (Sólstafir, Aura Noir, Wyrd and many more…). Beside the relevance, what are your criteria or inspirations regarding the
Well we are not a traditional metal festival where the most important thing is to have the most number of bands playing, like 50 bands or so playing back to back. At Midgardsblot we try to create a place where every concert is something special, where our guests get to really immerge into the music and also get a chance to reflect on what they just experienced before the next band is on. So it’s also very important to get the right mix of bands – I look for bands from many different genres that can create a wide ranged entity – that’s what makes Midgardsblot special and makes people come back every year.
If you could give one reason for our readers to show up this year, what would it be?
Not only do we have the best bands and the most beautiful venue – we also got the magic of Midgardsblot! You can really feel the old Nordic roots here, combined with metal, folk and pagan, bonfires and people from all over the world who meet and share the best times of their lives together – it’s impossible to put into words, you just have to experience it!
Tickets: Festival pass 3 days: 1450, – NOK – SOLD OUT
Weekend Pass: 1200, – NOK
Friday or Saturday: 750, – NOK per day
Entry for Thursday is only possible with the 3 days pass.
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