Borealis is a festival for contemporary music, noise and sound art that takes place every year in Bergen, Norway. The 2011 Borealis festival will be between the 22nd and 26th of March and features an exciting programme of live musical performances, music-theatre and sound installations.

The 2012 Borealis festival will be between the 14th and 18th of March!

Borealis on VIMEO

Borealis on YOUTUBE

Borealis on SPOTIFY: Borealis 2011 playlist and Psychedelic playlist

Tripping the Light Fantastic

The relationship between mind and music is intricate, enigmatic and an endless source of inspiration and enquiry for musicians, scientists, academics, and of course politicians and the media. The history of mind-expanding substances as an aid to artistic creation extends way before LSD and psychedelia established themselves as major turning points in the European cultural story. And of course music has always been important, not only as a way of taking refuge from life's hardships, or confronting who we are and how we live, but also as a means of expanding our experience of the world and our possible place within it. The relationship between transformative substances of all kinds, art across all media, and the workings of the human mind is a complex of interwoven connections, in which it can often be hard to extricate one from the other, or to define precise chronological chains of cause and effect.    

With the psychedelic experience, then, forming the starting point, but by no means the limits of Borealis 2011, Fausto Romitelli's psychedelic rock-infused 'Professor Bad Trip' is one of the lynchpins of this year's program. A visionary appeal to Henri Michaux’s writings on mescalin, the work will be featured at a concert given by the Cairn ensemble on March 26th, at which Tor Åge Bringsværd will also be reading from his fantasy fiction. And with Rom 8 hosting an exhibition of psychedelic ephemera and a staggering 12-hour performance by Le Jury (during which the musicians will be monitored by neurologists from UiB), we'll be looking at this year's Tripping theme from broader cultural, historical and scientific angles too. But to go on a trip can of course mean many things. I've heard it said that as slang for getting off one's head, it refers to the mind-boggling bicycle ride endured by Prof. Albert Hoffman, after he had ingested LSD in a bid to determine its effect. As the man who discovered the drug, it was Hoffman whose innocent, but by his own account erratic and sometimes terrifying trip home, gave the word the slang meaning it's most powerfully associated with today.  

And so to travel and the endless possibilities and unforeseen delights of day tripping. In recent years Borealis has traveled to Åsane, Salhus, Nordheimsund, even as far a-field as London, and in 2011 we'll be making a trip to Fantoft Studentby for what looks set to be a fantastic night of Kinshasa-style DIY music-making from Grammy award-winning Konono No. 1. As part of a three-year collaboration, we'll also be spending a day in the historic industrial town of Odda, moving into homes, offices, cafes and shops for a series of events hosted by the locals themselves. And to travel about as far back as one can in Bergen's architectural history, Borealis will launch this year's festival at Håkonshallen, celebrating its 750th birthday hand in hand with composer Steve Reich's 75th.  His music will be framing the festival with 'New York Counterpoint' performed by the local navy band FMKV on Tuesday, and a 'Clapping Music' public workshop and performance at Bergen Kino Konsertpaleet on Saturday. Do come and take part. Do come trip the light fantastic.


Hild Borchgrevink, chair man

Hans Knut Sveen, vice chair man

Ragna Sofie Grung Moe

Irene Nygårdsvik

Ståle Tvete Vollan

Sigurd Sandmo, vice member

Susanne Christensen, vice member

Knut Vaage, vice member

Avgarde, BEK, Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, Bergen Kammermusikkforening, Bergen Kunsthall, BIT20 Ensemble, Den Nasjonale Scene, Den Nye Opera, Forsvarets Musikkkorps Vestlandet, Griegakademiet, Kor Vest, Lydgalleriet, Ny Musikk Bergen og USF

For press inquiries please contact press officer Ole-Morten Algerøy.

+47 48088825

The Borealis festival depends on the participation of creative and engaged people from across the globe. If YOU are someone who would like to be a part of our team or would like to know more, please contact us at

Here are the people that have already participated as Borealis interns or have signed-up to join us in 2011.

Maren Becker  Internship 2011  Studying cultural studies and esthetics, specialised in theatre and music in Hildesheim, Germany

Luke Harris  Internship 2011

Johnny Herbert  Internship 2011   He is an artist currently living in the UK. He has graduated as a scholar from the Royal College of Music, London and The University of Huddersfield with first class and distinction awards, respectively. He has also spent a year in Berlin studying privately with Rebecca Saunders whilst additionally attending seminar classes at the UdK. Johnny’s work has been presented in America, The Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and throughout the UK. He was selected to participate on a hcmf// development scheme, working with the Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam, culminating in his piece, Equivalents, being premiered at the 2010 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Luise Langenhan  Internship 2011   Studying cultural studies and esthetics, specialised in music, literature and cultural administration in Hildesheim, Germany  

Michele Panegrossi Internship 2011 Michele Panegrossi is currently developing his career as a freelance sound designer, composer and bass player, alongside working as a sound engineer for Trinty College of Music in London. Having obtained his Master Degree in sound engineering he moved to London where he developed as a composer, digital arts expert and a compositional tools developer through the creation of interactive installations and compositions for live-processed acoustically produced timbres. Recent performances of his works took place at the Somerset House, Bonnie Bird Theatre, The Shunt Lounge, Neu/Now Festival, The Wapping Project. With his duo “Talkless” he has been recently performing in London, Vienna and Rome.

Simone Spagnolo  Internship 2011   His music has been performed and broadcast in the UK, Italy, USA, Norway and Czech Republic by internationally known artists and orchestras such as Philharmonia Orchestra, Asia America Symphony Orchestra and Trinity Symphony Orchestra. Among his awards he won the ‘Asia America Symphony Orchestra’ Prize in Los Angeles, the 2009 Philip Bates Prize, and a nomination for the 2008 Limelight Film and Art Award.             Simone collaborates in numerous projects ranging from concert music to ballet, from film to opera. He is currently undertaking Ph.D. studies at Trinity College of Music with Michael Finnissy.

Hollie Harding  Internship 2010

Egle Kerbelyte  Internship 2010  Music Management Graduate at Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, she liked the cozy and inspiring athmosphere and meeting a lot of international musicians at Borealis. Moreover, she learned to appreciate contemporary music during her internship and is now working on her own contemporary music project in her home town Vilnius.

Steve Shaw  Internship 2009

Vi trenger frivillige, om du har lyst til å bidra under årets festival, ikke nøl med å ta kontakt. Vennligst kontakt kunstnerisk leder Alwynne Pritchard. 

The festival seeks individuals wanting to participate in the making of the festival. Please contact artistic director Alwynne Pritchard.

+47 40 34 35 36


Tickets, day pass and festival pass will be available at Billettservice.