2020 will soon be over, and we feel ready to step into the New Year – with a festival! We were the last festival in Norway that could happen as normal before Corona turned our life upside down. Since then we have looked under every stone to find the best ways to arrange a festival in a world where excessive socialising is not recommended. We are ready for the challenge and are super excited to invite you to our festival in 2021! There will be live concerts and delicious physical listening experiences, but also a lot of goodies you can enjoy through the screen, whether you’re at home in Bergen or wherever you are in the world.

Borealis 2021 will be:
Safe & Weird
Live & Online
Home & Away 
Kind & Wild

The programme for Borealis 2021 will be released in January together with a brand new website – we’ll let you know when it’s ready for you to explore. We wish you a very Happy Christmas whether you’re taking a proper break, working, or if you’re closing your eyes until the new year is finally here.

Digital hugs and a Happy Christmas from all of us in the Borealis Team ❄️

In the sixth episode of our podcast Borealis Samtale you’ll can hear composer Jana Winderen in conversation with Knut Korsbrekke from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and Geir Pedersen from the Christian Michelsen Research Institute about what they have learned through listening underwater. Jana Winderen works with a sound fixated and creative practice while the researchers work with a computer driven scientific research based project. Listen to Jana and the marine biologists discuss to what degree their work overlaps, and the importance of listening to understand what is happening under the ocean’s surface.

Listen and learn on our Soundcloud – or wherever you listen to Podcasts!

Christmas holiday is right around the corner. Although Christmas food is yummy we also need some food for the soul – which the holiday actually gives time for.

We recommend you listen to Beatrice Dillon’s debut album Workaround which is listed on The Guardian’s Best Albums of 2020.

Maybe you also need to rebel a bit during the holidays – in that case you can drop by Galleri Entrée where artist Lin Wang has transformed the gallery into a tattoo shop: Exotic Dreams Tattoo Shop. You pay in personal stories and get a totally real tattoo in return.

If you wish you can then continue over to Bergen Kunsthall where the exhibition Basically by Nikima Jagudajev is on. This is an ongoing live event where you’re invited to experience choreography, rehearsal, discussion and staging of movement based work. The exhibition is made specifically to work with Covid regulations.

If you’re struggling with Christmas presents for your artistic friends, what about giving an artist book? Bergen Art Book Fair is selling books online this year. We can for instance recommend Can You Make The Band Name Bigger? – The Poster Art of Luke Drozd, a result of 15 years of work with poster design for the music industry.

The german music magazine POSITIONEN features a review of Borealis 2020 in its newest issue! A much needed reminder that beautiful things happened in 2020… 

“In the city of Bergen, surrounded by the rugged fjord landscape of Western Norway, the festival for experimental music was dedicated to the most urgent and topical social issues, something I have never seen at other music festivals. In the 5 days of the festival trending topics such as the climate crisis, racism, inclusion and gender issues were not sketched out superficially, but had actually influenced the details of the festival planning.”

Borealis 2021 is on its way! We were the last festival in Norway to be held before the lockdown in 2020, and since then we have all had a different year. The situation has influenced us to think in new, local and sustainable ways. We have planned for a festival that can take place even under strict infection control measures, with a digital and physical, indoor and outdoor presence. The volunteers are an important part of what we know as the Borealis atmosphere, and we are very happy that we’re able to invite you along this year too!

Read more and register as a volunteer!

In the newest episode of our podcast Borealis Samtale Australian curator Joel Stern discusses the intersection of the sonic and the political, as explored through the Australian curatorial platform Liquid Architecture. Framed by the context of two fundamental and ongoing struggles in Australia – for the recognition of Indigenous sovereignty, and for the rights of refugees in detention – Joel Stern shares ideas and works by artists participating in the curatorial project Eavesdropping, and opens a broader discussion not just about sound, but about the politics, ethics and responsibilities of listening

Listen and learn on our Soundcloud – or wherever you find you podcasts!


For our fourth gathering of the season we will meet up digitally, where we will be exploring Togetherness through music, the digital format and in conversation with the audience.

On the programme this time is an excerpt from South African artist Candice Breitz’s Legend (A Portrait of Bob Marley) from 2005, a dig back into the American folk archives to a recording of the song 47b Idumea from The Sacred Harp, and in our long listen we’ll go back to 1969 and hear Paragraph 2 from Cornelius Cardew’s seminal experimental work for the Scratch OrchestraThe Great Learning.

More information about the event on Facebook.
See you on Zoom Wednesday 25th of November, 20-22, sign up here!

Transgender Awareness Week is happening in Norway for the first time this week! Organised in Bergen by local organisations SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Acceptance), Queer World West og PKI (Patient organisation for Gender Incongruence) there will be an extra focus on Arabic speaking communities offering both the programme and some events in Arabic. There will be listening sessions, conversations and radio shows – all digital! Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates on how you can participate in this important event.

For Transgender Awareness Week we will be taking a dive into our archive and post pictures to amplify the work of trans/ non-binary artists who have performed at the festival in the past; follow our Instagram during the week.

Borealis is a festival for experimental music and has existed since 2004. In adition to organising a festival we put an emphasis on using the platform we’ve been given to contribute to creating the society we want to see in the future. Borealis wants to represent diversity, on and off the stage and in the audience. We salute and support SAGA, Skeiv Verden Vest and PKI who are working to amplify trans related issues and are thrilled that this week is finally being organised in Norway so we can all learn and develop our awareness around transgender issues.

Bergen composer Ruth Bakke and visual and video artist Anne Marthe Dyvi have found each other and are working on a new commission for pipe organ and video projection for Borealis 2021! The project carries the working title De Compositionand is being written for the impressive Storetveit Church, built in 1930, designed by the renowned architect Ole Landmark. Bakke has worked at Storetveit as church organist for 45 years in addition to her impressive career as a composer, and so for her the premiere will be on home turf, but this time in a whole new setting with Anne Marthe Dyvi’s visuals, inspired by nature’s processes and the inner working of the pipe organ, accompanying the music. 

Anne Marthe Dyvi discovered Ruth Bakke‘s work back in 2018 when she heard an in-depth interview with the composer on Norwegian National Radio and Borealis is proud to present this fresh collaboration between these two outstanding artists from two different art fields and generations. Bakke, born 1947, made a career for herself in composition and as an organ player. She studied in the USA for a longer period in the 60’s and 70’s and has composed large orchestral works as well as music for brass band and chamber ensembles. Dyvi, born 1979, on the other hand comes from the visual arts field and has had her base in Bergen since 2010 when she finished her Masters degree at the Bergen Academy of Fine Art and Design. Dyvi has a special interest in technology and time, human existence, survival and behaviour, which comes through in her work. 

From the left: Anne Marthe Dyvi, Ruth Bakke

Together Bakke and Dyvi will create a piece where their differences and different expertise – the aural and visual – will meet and grow into each other. Using nature’s circular processes, the wheel of time, geological time and human affected time as their ground structure and inspiration, we can’t wait to see what comes out of this new and exciting collaboration presented in March for Borealis 2021!

Even though November has brought back restrictions and lockdowns there’s still a lot happening!

We recommend the new album by B L A C K I E FACE THE DARKNESS which took us right back to his unforgettable performance at Landmark during Borealis in 2019.

On the coming Thursday opens BEK’s festival Latent City which will address Bergen’s hidden histories from different perspectives. Check out the Live Stream from Bergen Kjøtt! 

Piksel Festival is starting soon! They will stream from three online TV channels where they will show concerts, workshops and artist talks. Check out all the exciting things on their website!

Bergen Art Book Fair are back, this year as a digital version, but in return “open” much longer than normal! Check out their website online.babf.no where they are launching their programme this coming Friday, and the opening event on Facebook.

Speakerspeaker is a platform for experimental writing, conversation and sound work which explore current themes through a collective voice. On Saturday there’s a double launch of the two most recent books titled Silence og Failure. Check out their programme on the Facebook event!