The 46664 ”Mandela” concert that took place in Tromsø on Saturday fully realized its unique potential.
Blessed with clear blue skies and the never fading light of the northern summer the event’s cause –the battle against HIV/aids- as well as the bold spirit of the arrangers were recognised by higher powers and the concert is already historic in more ways than one.
From the perspective of the event itself the most remarkable fact is the turnout: almost twenty thousand people showed up for the special concert. For an event taking place in Tromsø this is almost unfathomable, because with a population of only a little more than sixty thousand, it means that almost one out of three were in the crowd!
Can any international event of this kind ever hope to achieve anything in the vicinity of this: to gather a third of the host city’s population?
As a consequence of the success and the engagement of the entire community Nelson Mandela made Tromsø historical also by making it the very first 46664 ambassador city.
Regarding the spirit of those responsible for bringing 46664 to Tromsø one must bear in mind the aspect of uncertainty that looms over all outdoor arrangements at 70 degrees north. Taking on this uncertainty by arranging an international event of this kind –the biggest event ever to be hosted in northern Norway- was by many conceived as unwise and perhaps irresponsible both regarding the success of the fund-raising project and the repute of Tromsø.
Weeks of rain and low temperatures prior to event only fuelled criticism and doubt, so when the big day arrived with this year’s finest weather, it was like a benediction. Reports say that the atmosphere was one of awe and great joy; sentiments of immeasurable importance regarding the cause, and which of course were instrumental in giving the event its historic air.