Gustav Adolfs Torg: Bollywood Masala Orchestra, 2013. Photo: Dennis Wernersson

Stockholm Culture Festival 0

Stockholm Culture Festival
Stockholm, Sweden
August 12 – 17, 2014

For the ninth year in a row, the Stockholm Culture Festival will be providing six days filled with a smorgasbord of vibrant culture catered to people of all ages. Taking place from the 12th to the 17th of August, the festival invites you to take part in all of the music, dance and art that the inner city has to offer, and completely free of charge. With 6-8 different stages and performance areas, the festival is located in the city centre. Stretching from Sergels Torg, over Brunkebergs Torg and on to Gustav Adolfs Torg, the festival encases a wide selection of Stockholm’s cultural life – as well as performances from both local and international artists and guests that hail from the four corners of the world.

The team behind the Stockholm Culture Festival is The Event Department – part of the City of Stockholm’s Culture Administration. About 12 people work full-time for the department throughout the year, but during the festival, the team expands to about 1000 people. They were very open to answering our questions, and now we are happy to share this information with you!

Tell us more about this year’s contribution from Barcelona! We see that there are several entries on the program with links to this large metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. Why Barcelona? What do you want to say and show with this contribution?

We think that Barcelona has a great cultural life – one that we would like to share with our audience. In Barcelona you see a lot of street culture, and the people there create a very nice and busy vibe in a way that that we do not see that much of in Stockholm. The expression is often colourful, playful and interactive. Our ambition has been to present some acts from Barcelona on all of our stages and in all of the various genres; thanks to this collaboration with Barcelona, we will be able to show some really spectacular acts, such as the dance performance “Transforma T” with Nats nus, “Barcekholm”, Circ Combinat and The Castellers de Sants, Barcelona.

What sort of cultural relationship has there been historically between Stockholm and Barcelona?

Two years ago the Stockholm Culture Festival had a small sub-theme featuring Catalan street theater. The program was very well received by the audience, and the collaboration with Institut Ramon Llull (the Catalan Culture Institute) went very smoothly, so we decided to do this larger theme jointly. This time we're also collaborating with the City of Barcelona and its largest festival, La Mercè.

This year’s theme is a collaborative effort by the City of Stockholm, The Stockholm Culture Festival, Institut Ramon Llull, the City of Barcelona and the government of Catalonia. In turn, Stockholm will be the featured guest city at the La Mercè festival in Barcelona (taking place September 19-24 of this year), thereby celebrating this special link between two of Europe’s most creative cities.

What is the budgetary strategy for the festival? Do you believe that culture festivals that are “for free” promote in the audience a further interest in cultural activities?

Obviously, one of our aims is to introduce culture to a new audience by having an outside festival that is free of charge. The world of culture is for everyone, and with free admission, more people can be a part of it. The policy of free admission is a core value of the festival.

Does the Stockholm Culture Festival serve as a platform for new discoveries in the cultural world?

Yes! We want the festival to be a vibrant place where you can experience culture that’s new, fun and challenging. Everyone can find something that suits them.

What sort of place has been delegated for the visual arts in the festival program?

This year we're going to show a visual extravaganza of 3D-mapping, right on the facade of the building that houses the Swedish Foreign Ministry. “Barcekholm” is a co-production of illustrators from both Stockholm and Barcelona, and it will also be presented in Barcelona during the La Mercè Festival.

What will be the biggest surprise at this year’s festival?

Liv Warfield, the queen of soul – a brilliant shooting star who's been produced by Prince and is being hailed as the next Aretha Franklin.

Could you name some highlights of the festival program that visitors to Stockholm definitely shouldn't miss?

Edda Magnason with Modern Fantazias – one of Sweden's most gifted singer-songwriters meets one of the country's most experimental orchestras. “Antigua Barbuda” – spectacular carousels driven by the festival-goers’ own muscle power, and through which they become a part of the machinery that makes up these junk-box constructions inspired by 1930s aesthetics. And, of course, “Barcekholm” and Manu Chao.