Process & Performance
We thoroughly enjoyed our move to Finse for 2018's Ice Music Festival and the audience whole heartily agreed - a truly exotic winter location emitting a wonderful vibe, with views across the plateau reacting to the delicate sub-zero light.
Musically, we presented a stellar mix of ice instruments and vocals performed by the Ice Music master himself Terje Isungset, world class bassist Anders Jormin, angelic singer Berit Opheim, music students from Norway's Greig Academy, regular Ice Music singer Maria Skranes and playing the world's first ice didgeridoo, Peter Paelinck. They collectively cast an icy spell across the audience. Click any image to view large.
In a previous post, we hinted at some of the troubles Finse's winter weather can muster. And wow, did we receive the brunt of its 25 m/s wind coupled with heavy snowfall for 4 days & nights! Luckily we woke up on Feb 2nd to be greeted by crystal clear blue skies and completely still wind - which latest for both days of the festival. The temperature dropped too, to -27ºc, which meant that the ice instruments really 'sung' because as the colder it gets, the more delicate and ethereal the ice sounds. The musicians really played with this and created some aural curiosities moving in and outside the venue.
During those 4 days and nights of unforgiving weather, 3 different Ice Music Festival venues were destroyed, either by strong, relentless gales or too much snow. However the amazing team of degree students from Norway's prestigious Faculty of Art, Music & Design, at the University of Bergen (KHiB) were resilient to the end, and never gave up.
Headed up by Professor Peter Bergerud, the team of 14 students from the Faulty, Art & Design employed an ingenious method of inflating very large balloons (precisley pre-cut and taped together and tested in a warehouse in Bergen) on the venue location, after which then they drop a fine mesh over the balloons.
Once in place and tethered, water is sprayed into the mesh repeatedly until the frozen layers build into a very strong structure (safe enough to house an audience of up to 100 people, audio & lighting equipment and, of course the musicians). Once the freezing process is complete, the balloons are deflated and removed, resulting in the most intricate and organic ice structures, walls and rooms. Accent the designs with coloured lighting and an other worldly object looks like it has landed in Finse (one week before the Star Wars fans show up).
After heavy snowfall combined with 'warmer' temperatures** (which slowed the freezing process) collapsed the first couple of structures (one at 5am whilst a night team were spraying) plans were drawn to adapt the design to open up the domes to the sky, which proved easier to combat the high winds and also offer an unexpected, joyous view of the sun setting during the two 17hrs performances for our enthusiastic audiences.
Success prevailed, with a sold out Ice Music Festival 2018 and happy audiences.
**-4ºc to -6ºc can take a few days to safely the freeze the amount of ice we need but when the gauge drops to -11ºc or lower, then the process is merely a few hours.
If you visited Ice Music Festival 2018 in Finse, we'd love to hear from you. If you have any pictures and videos you'd like to share, please don't forget to tag #icemusicfestival2018 #icemusicfestival and if you're not following us on Instagram @icemusicgeilo and Twitter @icemusicgeilo or engaging on our Facebook page - please do, as we can you keep informed of developments for Ice Music Festival 2019!
A special mention to the staff of the legendary Finse 1222 Hotel, who's hosting was warm and friendly, accompanied by tasty evening dinners and huge buffet breakfasts. Tusen takk!
Photographs featured in this news post and across the Ice Music Festival website are taken by Emile Holba.