MOTSTØY FESTIVALEN – Alkoholfritt funker godt

MOTSTØY FESTIVALEN – Alkoholfritt funker godt

The Norwegian non-alcohol festival is coming closer to date. In fact, next Friday the instruments will speak for themselves, and you can rest assured that we'll be there. Meanwhile, we talked to Tor Oddmund Suhrke to get the necessary details.

First, we would like to get to know the (main) people behind your company? Nah, not the dirty details but more what has driven you to begin with your thing? We suppose it's not money…

   "The first Motstøy festival was arranged in 2002 by a group of youths from Notodden. We wanted a festival like no others, and we wanted it to be for everybody. That's one of the reasons why we decided to make it a non-alcohol festival, alcohol being something that's common for almost all festivals. We wanted people to come to our festival for the music, and not just for the opportunity to get drunk. It's amazing how much more you can get out of a concert if you actually listen to it…

Tor Oddmund Suhrke.jpg   Since 2003 the festival has been arranged by two guys; Einar Solberg and Tor Oddmund Suhrke (me). The festival has grown bigger and bigger every year, and in 2005 we received the culture award from Notodden kommune. All the work with the festival has been done in our spare time, so you guessed right; we don't do it for the money. We simply do it because we think it's very important to show people that it actually is possible to keep alcohol and great concerts apart. No matter if it's heavy metal, rock'n'roll, prog rock or old school black metal!"

In Norway, as in Europe in general, there are concerts in almost every pub, with the result that some bands get lesser crowd than expected and deserved. So, in a way arranging festivals and concerts may be a good thing, but how do you work in order to balance it in connection with the economic aspect of the whole event?

   "One of our goals when booking bands is to get hold of as unique bands as possible. Not only expensive bands, but also cool up and coming bands that doesn't play at every other festival. This year we have f.ex. Immortal, Mayhem and Pain of Salvation (S), which are all bands that you don't see at many other festival posters. We also have bands like A.C.T. (S), Indukti (Pl) and Hidden in the Fog (De), all of them good examples of cool bands that many probably haven't heard of, but are still awesome live bands. We try to be a festival that people can come to, knowing that they probably will discover many new bands that they'll like for years to come.

   It's also important to keep the technical profile of the festival on top of the line. Everything from our website, to the sound, the light, the stage, the venue, the decorations, and so on, has an impact on how the publics experience turns out. If you give the audience a good enough experience, they'll keep coming back year after year!"

What criteria do you use when you search and eventually sign bands for your company/event?

   "First of all, we try to get hold of exclusive bands that we know will look good on the poster. We also book bands that we know for ourselves that will give the audience a great experience, even though they're not very known bands. It's also important for us to keep a wide profile, since we've experienced that the crowd appreciates some variation during two long days of concerts. Therefore we always make sure that we book bands in many different subgenres within the rock-/metal genre.

   Being a festival for everybody, we've also given unsigned bands the opportunity to get noticed at Motstøy every year. This year we have picked out two bands, Illusion and Ørkenkjøtt". They are the winners of this year's demo competition, and will open both days at Motstøy '07."

To promote a show or a festival is perhaps not as easy these days, with the overload of information that's everywhere, be it magazines or webzines. How do you work to make a difference? Does it all come down to potential money, money in (audience) and money out (bands and management)?

Motstoy_2.jpg   "We have the advantage that there aren't all that many non-alcohol rock-/metal festivals around. This helps us to stick out from the rest, and also helps us to get the media's attention on our festival.

   On the other hand, our non-alcohol policy excludes all the potential money that's possible to earn from beer sale, etc. This is an income that most other festivals couldn't be without, so of course this affects our budget in a way that limits our possibilities in marketing.

   The most effective way to get your festival out there is to book some big, exclusive or legendary bands. We've booked bands like Emperor, Immortal, Mayhem, Pain of Salvation, etc. and that's some examples of bands that get peoples attention. It's also important to let all media know whenever something interesting happens, and hope that somebody writes something about it."

As you most likely have to keep up with the scene, how do you view it (the scene)? In what way does the overload of bands influence your work?

   "As we have already said, we try to book quite a few bands that aren't likely to perform at many other festivals, and we try to stay clear of the bands that's already playing everywhere. It's a sad fact that very many people come to festivals, just with the purpose to get drunk, and so we have to offer the public something that they won't get at any other festival.

   To answer the question; we don't necessarily try to keep up with the entire scene. We prefer to book exclusive bands, along with fresh up and coming bands, but of course also some of the more mainstream bands."

As the organizer, I suppose you don't get to watch each and every band, because there's quite a lot to do. How would you describe the day(s) of the event? I suppose hectic is a keyword here…

Motstoy_5.jpg   "Since I like to see what we're offering to our visitors, I try to get a glimpse of most of the bands that are playing, at least as far as it's possible. On the other hand, it's hard to stay at one place to long without thinking that there's probably many other things I should do. Even when everything's going according to schedule, there's always a nervous feeling that something can go wrong at any moment.

   In the days prior to the festival, there are always many things to do. So when the festival starts, it's very nice to be able to relax and enjoy the result of what we've worked on for so long. Previous experiences tell me that the more work you've put in to the festival, the more satisfying it is to see it going according to the plan."

Many people have this wicked fascination about the back-stage, and that many great things do happen there. I suppose it's quite true when it comes to Mötley Crüe. Without revealing too many names, now you have to tell us a couple of good stories from the back stage, so that the fan's assumptions get fulfilled?

   "Being a festival with no alcohol, we manage to stay clear of the most outraging behaviour. Backstage at Motstøy festivalen the artists usually tend to everyday activities, f.ex. playing yatzy, petting badgers, building Lego, playing twister, knitting and drawing."

What are the best thing and the worst thing dealing with the dirty work of trying to get things to work properly?

   "As I've already mentioned, the more work that's put in to the festival, the more satisfying feeling you get when it all works according to the plan. It's also very nice to be able to do a variety work, so that you don't get tired of dealing with the same things all the time. F.ex. just sitting down, and plan how things could be done, can be very boring at times. But then being able to actually go to location and see thing first hand, is a nice break, and helps a lot in the progress of work."

Now, it is time to tell us why you think that we should you choose you and your event, instead of the increasingly number of others similar to you? The competition amplifies it seems…

Motstoy_4.jpg   "First of all, Motstøy sticks out in the line of festivals due to the fact that it combines alcohol restrictions, with a line-up that many other rock-/metal festivals can only dream of.

Secondly, it's an ideological festival that is founded, built up and arranged exclusively by youths. None of which earning anything from it, apart from the satisfaction and experience one get from arranging an entire festival. J"

What are you up to in near future, and where can we go (click) to find the necessary information? And thank you for your reply.

   "Motstøy festivalen 2007 is due the 5th and 6th of October, in "Sliperihallen" at Notodden, Norway. In our line-up we have; Immortal, Mayhem, Pain of Salvation (S), Evergrey (S), A.C.T (S), 1349, Keep of Kalessin, Insense, Indukti (Pl), Hidden in the Fog (De), Triosphere, Drottnar, Illusion and Ørkenkjøtt. Tickets are very cheap if you compare it to other festivals, and the program speaks for itself!

   For more information, check out:"