Live review from Notodden Blues Festival 2019: Photo album, Full concert video

The inclusion of Norwegian bands and local representation increases significantly on this year’s edition of Notodden Blues Festival. Several smaller clubs are back in the program and there will be lower ticket prices and a more flexible payment scheme. Picture: Ladies in the Blues share a scene with Larkin Poe at Notodden Theater on Friday.

The Blues Festival at Notodden felt that last year’s program, despite it being one of the festival’s best programs, led to a deficit. This resulted in the involvement of the locals, three general meetings and a strategic plan. One of the points was to invite more Norwegian bands, as well as to invite the local roots and American community.

Notodden satser på kortreist musikk

Female voices have always been on the program, so this year too. Critic favorite Tove Bøygard (pictured above) has received very good reviews for his latest album, “Earth”. She has previously received good reviews for “Blågras på Skrindo”, produced by Jonas Fjeld. Ladies in the Blues, with former blues award winner Rita Engedalen and partner Margit Bakken, performing this year with the success duo Larkin Poe. Due to a cancellation, the audience will be served an extra treat at Notodden Theater this Friday, with festival headliners Larkin Poe coming in as replacements for the first announced Como Mamas. What is special here is that the front characters of Larkin Poe, sisters Rebecca and Magan Lowell, will make a rare duo appearance. They can also be seen with their band in Hovig’s Hangar on Saturday at. 16:00.


Torhild Sivertsen will be reunited with the Notodden Blues Band, which celebrates 40 years this year. These are concerts where only single tickets are sold, which is one of the new measures for 2019, when the audience has criticized the fact that they have had to buy day passes. In addition, the municipality has hired a street musician, Evy Ann Liljedahl, who “came out” as a street musician at the age of 50 (picture below).

The focus on Norwegian blues, and local blues, is important for the festival in 2019, so blues master Knut Reiersrud is self-written for the annual stave church concert in Heddal stave church.
Local Kåre Virud joins Jan Erik Vold in Vold & Virud. Several local features follow as pearls on the famous string. Rolf Raddis Band is a Norwegian-language band that presents a mix of self-produced blues and rock with community-engaging lyrics, a band that springs from the progressive music movement of the 1970s. Telemark band Byting comes with folk rock, and so does Christian Pallesen from Bø in Telemark. Hardhaus is, as its name suggests, a “hard-hitting band from Telemark serving original songs on dialect,” according to the festival. The Boots Band are Notodden’s pioneers of rock-inspired roots-americana-country, a band that has toured for 21 years. Over the past three years, the Notodden band Wild Whens has established their own country rock sound and released their debut album From The Valley in the summer of 2018. Smog is a Skien / Larvik trio playing blues-rock inspired music from 60s and 70s. Also Knut Hem, known from Reidar Larsen’s band Storytellers, comes with dobro.

And it should be mentioned that Elvis at Sun, the project that saw the light of day in January 2015, will pay tribute to Elvis with Oddbjørn Holla, Morten Omlid and Finn Tore Tokle in the crew.

Youth have always had to frolic on the scenes at Notodden. In addition to blues school, Little Steven’s Blues School, 25-year-old guitarist and vocalist Tora Dahle Aagaard (pictured above) comes with his blues-inspired pop rock. Maldito, who won Union Bluescup last year, has members who have all studied at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. This year, they return as Union Bluesband 2019.

Also exciting is the young band Vossa Rebels, who participated in Norwegian talents. Not many people start with rockabilly and their own tunes until they leave high school, but they did. In 2016, they released Bedop. Also Blue Energy, with young people aged 15-17, the new “superheroes” in the blues environment at Notodden will perform. Three Bastards BluesBand is a blues-rock band, which, based on punk, among other things, will draw audiences who go for high octane. Ole Devil & the Spirit Chasers, psychedelic doomsday blues, with members from the Norwegian noise and metal scene, will delight young festival participants.

Forsberg confirms that the assessments after the meetings were taken seriously when this year’s artists were booked.

  • We have measures for all this in our planning of the festival 2019. The booking of artists such as DumDum Boys, Bigbang and Ulf Lundell are visible measures when it comes to the latest. We have only received positive feedback on this. Ulf Lundell has done a lot of blues on several of their records, Bigbang is a band that our audience has shown that they like, and DumDum Boys has approached our environment by including blues drummer Richard Gjems on his latest album. It is also part of the story that we have tried to include DumDum Boys in our program in previous years too, but then it did not fit.

The audience’s desire to bring back more small clubs as part of the festival, lower ticket prices and camping, a more flexible payment scheme – and more street-level music, will also be visible changes in 2019, says the festival manager, who thinks it is not an unnatural things to open up the profile a bit.

  • The blues people are good at pointing out that blues is the origin of all modern rhythmic music. It is also nothing new with us, he says, and opens for a clearer rock profile on Friday during the festival weekend.

DumDum Boys is part of the chain.

  • We’re still a clear blues festival with artists like Joe Louis Walker, Eric Gales, Billy Gibbons, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Monster Mike Welch, Bjørn Berge, Notodden Blues Band, Willson, Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars, says Forsberg.

The festival director is right that the relationship between rock and blues is natural to emphasize. At the Blues Music Awards in the US, the genre mix is ​​clearly reflected. Four of the award winning artists come to Notodden Blues Festival 1-4. August, two of which won awards in the blues-rock class. Billy F. Gibbons won the Blues Rock Album Award of the Year for The Big Bad Blues. Eric Gales won the Blues Rock Artist class. They will perform with blues legend Joe Louis Walker, who received the award for best acoustic album.

The strategy plan has been a tool for the festival, which has also worked to develop the professional competence with participation in subject collections and seminars.

Some of the country’s leading blues guitars come, Vidar Busk and Daniel Eriksen with drummer Stig Sjøstrøm. Both Busk and Eriksen have received the Spellemann Prize and NBF’s blues award, and for many years have been two of the country’s most active blues artists. Bjørn Berge returns with Bjørn Berge Electric Band and Knut Reiersrud plays in Heddal Stave Church on July 31st. The free concert on the closing day also consists of Norwegian artists with Steinar Albrigtsen and friends from Telemark.

Maybe more Norwegian bands and short music are the future of the festival?

Steinar Albrigtsen og Monika Nordli kan høres på avslutningskonserten søndag.

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