May 29, 2024

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With darkness, the Northern Lights and the Blues Festival come to Svalbard: Photos, Video

Quarterly for 17 years, Longyearbyen Blues Club has organized Dark Season Blues.

It is this date the sun goes below the horizon and darkness begins. It is still bright for more hours in the middle of the day, but the light is characterized by a blue color that makes the terrain about possible even more impressive. The world’s northernmost blues club has found a perfect time for a festival of blue music. Among this year’s artists were Brazilian Igor Prado & Just Groove (pictured).

Med mørketida kjem nordlyset og bluesfestivalen til Svalbard

With darkness, the Northern Lights and the Blues Festival come to Svalbard

It was a great transition to come from tropical climate to Svalbard for the Brazilian band Igor Prado & Just Groove.

The over 30 concerts go on to a total of 11 different scenes. In pubs and cafes, in church, in Mine 3, at the Culture House and not least at “The House” up in the valley with its two scenes on Saturday night.

It is simply impressive how very good and varied music it is to right these days. From great internationally renowned artists such as Earl Thomas and Danielle Nicole, via new names for the Norwegian audience such as Trez Gregory from Ohio in the US and Igor Prado & Just Groove from Brazil, to a number of Norwegian artists.

From the festival started with jams late Wednesday night at the club Svalbar, the mood was set, and there was a festival with highlight after highlight until it was all finished with a full house at Kroa on Sunday night.

Monster Mike Welch, Danielle Nicole and fellow musicians. (Photo: Hans Andenæs).

Earl Thomas and Trez Gregory at the church concert Sunday. (Photo: Hans Andenæs).

Earl Thomas performed several concerts with the Brazilian band Igor Prado & Just Groove, between each other in church on Sunday afternoon where Trez Gregory of Ohio also participated. At this concert the audience took a journey through the blues music tell story and with two wonderful vocalists. Igor Prado and his band showed up and forth with solos and performances, and the audience acknowledged with standing applause more gongs, so there were more extras.

There were many both among the audience and other artists who were very impressed with the Brazilian band. They also enjoyed a fun and entertaining concert for the school in Longyearbyen during the festival.

The mood spreader Frode Alnæs created and created a great atmosphere among the audience with his concert at Svalbar on Thursday night and Friday during the day. In spite of many good stories, he played both his own songs and Dance With A Stranger songs. He has been to Svalbard many times before in his career and has even had a concert in Barentsburg (pictured below).

It can seem both strange and special to travel all the way to Longyearbyen and Svalbard to join a blues festival. But why not? It takes approx. three hours to travel from Oslo to Longyearbyen by air, and the cost is not daunting. This year one could get air tickets for under 2000, – kr. round trip. There is accommodation in several different price ranges, and since Svalbard has far lower fees than the mainland, the prices of many things are very reasonable.

For many, it is a good opportunity to visit this special area, and one should put in the plan time to look around a bit when one first travels here. If you want to get out of the city area on your own you have to bring weapons to protect against polar bears, but there are many nice organized tours where one has to think about this.

The artists who were there for the first time were all very impressed with Svalbard’s history, way of life and nature. Artist Sari Schorr, who is an up and coming New York City artist, said this was an experience that changed her life. It was a whole other worth than it was used to from New York City. The trip to Dark Season Blues was inspiring and she wishes she could have been there much longer.

Buddy Whittington and Sari Schorr on shopping in Longyearbyen. (Photo: Hans Andenæs).

Both the audience and the artist boast of Longyearbyen Bluesklubb as organizer and think it is a very special festival with its many concerts on small stages. If you want to have a festival and an experience outside of the ordinary, Dark Season Blues is a good alternative.

McDowell’s Backyard at GruveBlues in Gruve 3 Saturday afternoon. (Photo: Hans Andenæs).

- Det er ein opplevelse berre å være her, seier Tora til Bluesnews. Her med to bandmedlemmer på spasertur utenfor Longyearbyen.

– It’s an experience just to be here, Tora tells Bluesnews. Here with two band members on a walk outside Longyearbyen.

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