Submitted by Peter Astedt
That Norway had a second showcase festival was a secret for us. Vill Vill Vest was presented on C/O pop in Germany and everything that was told to us was sounding like a great way to meet Norway. Vill Vill Vest is in its 7th year, 1 to 3 of September 2022 we went over to Bergen Norway to check it out.
The conference part took place in Kulturhuset, a central point with several floors and a lot of meeting points. Still, many of the conferences were in Norwegian which made it a little bit harder for a foreigner to get it. On the other hand, we were really busy making contacts and meeting in the spaces around. They were generous with parties and happenings, the highlight being the boat ride around the fjords of Bergen. This made it very easy to meet the Norwegian music industry and yes the whole Norweigan music industry was on site. We really felt that here you could easily make the connections. We were also in for a pleasant surprise from the international delegates. You got the special invited big names that go around on the festivals. This year they also had the focus on UK and many good names from the UK industry were there.
Vill Vill Vest we will set as a midsize festival. Around 75 artists were playing, mainly Norwegian, but the selection of artists was really good. Here you could see that someone had taken the time to put the right artist in and not just with laziness let some booking agencies pollute the lineup with crappy bands. Big diversity we went on both at old punk rock to nice R&B. Kulturhuset works like the center of the whole festival here they held some shows as well, and most gig places are not further than 10 minutes walk away.
Norway has been like a white spot on the map. The country is not in EU so it has its own life and rules. Of course, the big showcase festival has been BY:Larm that happens in Oslo for years. You know that BY:Larm has most of the Norwegian business there, but most of their international people are mainly local heroes and not that well established. Over the years many bigger industry people have left BY:Larm since it doesn’t have any central point and most of the business is made in small groups in bars on the outskirts. The lineup has been very weak and the value has been very low. All this has made Norway a blank spot on the map. Now we found Vill Vill Vest to be an excellent alternative, forget Oslo, Norway is back, and meet them in Bergen.