Remote Music Festival Lures Fans to Arctic Circle


Since 2003, Mogard-Larsen's childhood fantasy has been a reality. Norwegian acts as well as international stars, from Damien Rice to Kings of Convenience, have made the journey to Traena. The "main stage" is hardly bigger than the average backstage area of a major venue and only 2,000 tickets are available. Guests are unlikely to see promoters shilling concert t-shirts or the raucousness that characterize festivals like Roskilde, Bonnaroo and Glastonbury.

But not everyone can handle the glamour-free minimalism of a festival like Traena. Mogard-Larsen is insistent that no musical guests get any diva perks. He had to cancel on one well-known singer -- he wouldn't reveal her name -- after she made too many demands: "The idea is that everyone here has a great time together. If I were to give someone the 'Mick-Jagger Treatment' that idea would die," he says. There's only room for one diva at the Traena Music Festival and that's the environment -- the one act guaranteed to steal the show every year.

'Happy to Have This Kind of Hoopla'

Those who attend the festival find it easy to immerse themselves in their natural surroundings. The small town on the main island of Husoy offers little metropolitan diversion. There is a small convenience store, one restaurant and a single ATM machine. With no hotels on the island concert-goers must come prepared for camping or bunk with local residents.

Most of Husoy's residents work in the fishing industry. The locals play a big part in the event, helping to build stages ahead of the show, and picking up beer bottles and garbage when it's all over. But how do they feel about having their idyllic peaceful existence interrupted with three days of screeching music fans? There don't seem to be any problems, according to Mogard-Larsen. "Everyone who lives here is happy to have three days of this kind of hoopla every year," he says.

This year's Traena Music Festival takes place from July 7-9.

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