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The greater Bergen area is offering visitors a virtual cultural smorgasbord while the city is filled with cycling enthusiasts in September.
Published: 25 August 2017
Bergen municipality reports that nearly half a million spectators and 100,000 visitors from abroad will flock to the city while the cycling championship is being held 16-24 September.
“The cyclists are naturally the real stars during the championship. But, as a magnificent extra bonus, our local artists and performers will also get to shine during the event”, says Øyvind Storheim, general manager of Kulturoperatørene. Together with Sølvi Ones of Unison, they will be organising cultural programme during the cycling world championship.
“When audiences gather at the cycling world championship, we will be showing off the amazing quality and diversity of our cultural scene, and aim to provide them with excellent cultural experiences. And the absolute majority of these are free and open to all,” says Ones.
Here are some of the local treats, which can and certainly should be enjoyed off the cycling race track.
As a platform for the development of music, the city of Bergen has competed with Oslo for many years for the position of best and most important city in Norway. And around the turn of the century, the term “The Bergen Wave” was firmly established in the Norwegian collective conscience with performers such as Röyksopp, Kings of Convenience, and Sondre featuring among Bergen’s international ambassadors of home-grown music.
Meanwhile, the Bergen Wave is still alive and thriving, and the town square in the heart of the city will be the place to experience the newest additions to this fine musical tradition during the cycling world championship.
For fans of good and hard street music, Dårlig Vane is a must-see. The rap trio from Loddefjord took the top prize earlier this year during the final segment of Urørt, Norway’s most important competition for upcoming performers. Together with the young pop singer, Boy Pablo (and several other performers to be announced in September), they will appear at the Vill Vill Vest (Wild, Wild West) music festival, which will be held the week after the world championship.
Another highly promising performer from Bergen who has garnered much attention in recent years is the R&B talent, Miss Tati, and she is also associated with the punkish pop group, Razika and the rock veterans of Real Ones.
For a somewhat more mature audience, the local heroes of the band, Ausekara, lead by Tor Endresen and Bjørn Jensen, will offer a heart-warming and nostalgic look at the distinctive, local “Stril” cultural traditions, while Bergenser singer-songwriter, Jan Eggum, will be accompanied by Oslo Strings to render his melancholy ballads even more beautiful.
During the self-explanatory Sing-along Concert, the musical theme will be performers and songs from the region – bring the voice you’ve got and come to the Bergen Town Square (i.e. Torgallmenning) and sing your heart out along with the choir.
Of course, Bergen’s (and Norway’s) greatest composer of all time, Edvard Grieg, will also be duly celebrated. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra invites you to attend a special concert in Grieghallen featuring Grieg’s piano concert in A minor and Shostakovich’s famous 5th Symphony on the repertoire and concert pianist, Marina Kan Selvik, as soloist.
As is only fitting during a cycling world championship, many of the cultural activities are based on the perspective of a bicycle seat. In between battles along the route of the road race in the city, there will be parades and entertainment: The Classic Cycle Club, Cyclus, will be exhibiting cool bikes as well as clothing, whereas the dance troupe, Schang, will test out the route by performing street- and break-dancing.
Experiences of a more fleeting and spontaneous nature are also being promised. The student choir, Arme Riddere, will be performing a cappella on bikes while riding through the streets, and the city’s cathedral cantor, Kjetil Almenning, is going so far as to attach a reed organ onto his bike for his daily ride through the city.
Another creative use of a bicycle can be seen at the KODE museum, where among others, the contemporary music ensemble, BIT20, will perform what they call the “Cycling Symphony”.
Check out a movie at Verftet’s “Bike-in Theatre” (with special parking for bicycles), and it is safe to expect something bicycle-related when Bergen’s famous street artist, AFK, reveals his new and tentatively secret artwork somewhere along the route.
There will be fun activities for the kids too. Bergen International Culture Centre will offer food from all corners of the world as well as entertainment for visitors of all ages while Max the official mascot of the World Championship will be hosting the daily City of Friends show featuring antics such as the world’s largest drawing contest and a special World Championship dance.
Outside the city – in the partner municipalities of Askøy, Øygarden, and Fjell – things will also be happening during these September days. What’s going on? Bridge Dance, concerts, re-enactment of Norway’s greatest sea battle, performance of the recently composed “Cycling Symphony” and an attempt at the world’s record for most Vikings, to name a few.
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