…March, April & May: Popfest Preview: Indiefjord

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Indiefjord: mixing indiepop with the beautiful fjords of Norway. Who had the brilliant idea to do such a marvelous thing? Silja Haddal Mork and Mattias Lidehäll, of course! Indiefjord is a weekend-long indiepop party in the village of Bjørke, Norway, occurring on July 12-14. Not only will you be able to see bands from Scandinavia and the UK, dance to your heart’s content, and experience the beauty of the fjords, but the community of Bjørke will also be involved, organizing various day-time activities for festival attendees. What more could you really ask for?

To tell us more about the process in bringing these two communities, indiepop and Bjørke, together for the weekend, Silja and Mattias happily answered a few questions for us.

1. Can you give us a history of Indiefjord (dates, organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved? Why did you choose to set up this event?
We (Silja Haddal Mork & Mattias Lidehäll) moved from London to Norway in the summer of 2013. Soon we felt that something was missing. It was the music and our friends. In order to do something about this we (in november 2013) decided to arrange a party for new and old friends and to fill it with our favourite music. Since we both were involved in the London/European indiepop scene (Silja as one of the arrangers of the club “Librarians Wanted” and member of the indiepop netlabel EardrumsPop and Mattias as a member of several Indiepop bands, including Stars in Coma and Lost Summer Kitten), we had no problems reaching out to the bands we wanted to book. The response was strong and positive! The venue we chose is in a small village at the end of a beautiful fjord. We want to give our visitors a taste of Norway at its finest!

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to request to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
We know a lot of bands since almost all of our friends are playing. For us, it was more a matter of choosing the best ones from a bunch of amazing ones. Since it’s our party, we are very picky and only book those who we are personal fans of and people that we like to hang out with. After all, it’s a party for the people playing as well.

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing Indiefjord?
We soon realized the importance of having the locals involved in the planning. The festival is in a very small village and it won’t go by unnoticed. It’s important that the people living there feel that it’s something they are part of and not an invasion of aliens. The people we are working together with are also great assets in many ways and help us solve problems before they even occur.

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one? Or, if this is the first of such event, when will you start planning for next year?
We started organizing in November, but if we do it again we’ll probably start sooner. The earlier everything is set, the better. There’s a lot of logistics to think about and such issues are easier to handle if you solve them early on. The timeline for this year was: 1. book the venue, 2. book the bands, 3. meet the people that we’re cooperating with, 4. advertise advertise advertise.

5. 

Do you have any inside tips for festival goers?
Always expect bad weather. It will rain and it will be a lot colder than you can ever expect. If you bring warm clothes that can keep you dry then everything else will be a joy! Dancing helps too, so that’s our biggest recommendation!!

6. What are some of the best and worst moments of any Popfest that you can remember?
Best: 
Mattias: ‘Allo Darlin at any festival/popfest. I’ve cried tears of joy in several parts of the world while attending their gigs.
Silja: The very start of Librarians Wanted: me and my friend Roo met David at Indietracks 2010, we were dancing to Stars in Coma and decided to start a club in London. We decided we’d try to book that band one day, and nearly a year later we did — and that’s how I met my Indiefjord-co-organiser and boyfriend Mattias, he played in that awesome band. Everything is connected to Indietracks! It was also a great highlight to DJ there in 2011 with Librarians Wanted, felt like we were coming home.
Worst:
 Mattias: Playing keyboard with Stars in Coma at Indiepop Days Berlin in 2010. The sound of the keyboard was barely audible and I had no idea what I was playing. At the last song I just gave up and went out in the audience and danced instead!

Silja: None! Popfests are 100% happiness to me. There should be more of them! Especially in Norway…

Thanks, Silja and Mattias!

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There are no traditional tickets to Indiefjord, instead you contribute a donation that will go toward the bands and the overall community. For more information on the donation process, the activities scheduled over the weekend, and how to get to Bjørke, visit the Indiefjord website.

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