Lofoten on the verge of a chamber festival

A festival called "The World’s Most Beautiful Music Festival" better be more than pretty pictures in colourful brochures. Situated in Lofoten, one of the most amazing surroundings in Norway, with Leiv Ove Andsnes attending, the very first "Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival" might live up to its slogan.

Buksnes kirke

The wild mountains, the sea, and the emotional feeling of being so close to nature inspired the founders of the new festival to go for the bold slogan. In the spring of 2003, Knut Kirkesæther and Arvid Engegård, together with Kaja Engel, Germany, took the initiative to found a chamber music festival in Lofoten Isles, which is supposed to take place annually, beginning 9 - 13 July this summer.

The main idea of the festival is to bring a small group of first-rate artists together to rehearse and perform chamber music on a high level, but also in a relaxed and holiday-like atmosphere in the spectacular surroundings of the Lofoten Isles. And the list of artists is impressive. Arvid Engegård (the festival’s artistic director), Leiv Ove Andsnes, Dietrich Henschel, Tatjana Masurenko, Tatjana Masurenko, Daniel Phillips, and Vogler Quartet are all listed in the programme.

Four communities - Vågan, Vestvågøy, Flakstad und Moskenes – and the tourist board
“Destination Lofoten” founded a working group in order to organise the festival, for which the name “Lofoten Internasjonale Chamber Music Festival” was chosen. The communities of Værøy and Røst will also join the festival in 2005.

Most of the concerts will take place in small churches situated on the islands. Because this region has a severe climate during the winter, it was necessary for the church to be nearby. Therefore, there is a church in nearly every small village.

Because of its closeness to the North Pole, it is likely to think that Lofoten is permanently dark or cold. However, the founders of the festival can promise that during the summer, there are 24 hours of daylight per day, and the climate is relatively mild because of the gulf stream, comparable for example with a mixed summer weather in Scotland. The beaches can compete with a south sea island, but swimming at temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius can only be recommended to very tough people. Don’t say that we did not warn you!

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