Lofoten Piano Festival cancelled!
Lofoten Piano Festival 2020 was actually to be held July 6th – 11th, but is now decidedly canceled. We have worked for a long time for this festival. We have sold tickets and all our musicians looked forward to arriving to create another exciting festival. This is of course sad for us, says general manager Knut Kirkesæther.
For this year’s festival, 13 full classical concerts and over 15 smaller events were planned, in addition to our own quartet seminar for young string quartets.
– We are in a somewhat different situation than festivals that are arranged in larger cities with a more local audience. For us, at least 50% of the audience are visitors, many from abroad. These will most likely be absent and hit us hard, says general manager Knut Kirkesæther.
In 2019, more than 4,000 tickets were sold for the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival. When many of these – as well as the festival’s artists come from abroad, the situation creates great uncertainty for the implementation.
– We have more than 20 invited artists who meet during the festival in various forms of interaction. Half of these come from abroad, which today are subject to various restrictions, says Kirkesæther.
We also have in mind that even if the situation should improve towards the summer, we can assume that it will take some more time before people are comfortable meeting in larger gatherings again.
Thinking about the quality of the festival as well
As marketing manager and board member of the festival, Christian Winther Farstad also believes that the cancellation can be in the festival’s best interests.
– After a good start, it is now clear that people are more hesitant about buying tickets for this type of event. Since the audience is an important part of the festival, this is a risk to the quality. The experience is also about meeting people and enjoying classical music together.
He further assures that everyone who has bought a ticket will of course be offered a refund on these. Information is sent out continuously.
Collaborators, artists and the public now receive continuous information about the cancellation. This is a final decision for the planning of the festival.
– It is naturally sad to send out these messages. We know that many have been planning this for a long time. We signed several of our artists over a year ago. We know that our audience has booked airline tickets and hotels well in advance. At the same time, we believe it is better to cancel in good time to give everyone the opportunity to change their plans, says Winther Farstad.
We are aiming to have an alternative festival already in November
Even though we are now canceling the Lofoten Piano Festival 2020, we want to give Lofoten classical music already this year. We now have some time to plan an alternative festival already this autumn.
– We are already aiming for November and are already in contact with concert venues and artists. This will of course be a completely different festival, but with classical music in the center, says Kirkesæther.
As is well known, Lofoten has seen an enormous influx of tourists in autumn / winter in recent years, which has been a proven investment in the industry. Maybe this can create new opportunities for the festival as well.
– The tourism industry in Lofoten has been extremely skilled in finding projects that draw people out of the summer season. And darkness and the northern lights are attractions in themselves, says Winther Farstad.