Tag Archives: Lasse Hansen

A well-composed score: Polarjazz relies on sellout format (and lots of extra locals) for 20th annual festival

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There’s no blowout bash planned for Polarjazz’s 20th birthday, but festival director Lasse Stener Hansen says one isn’t needed for attendees to be blown away.

It’s official – we’re in a depression: 16 percent drop of Svalbard’s economic activity in 2015 fueled by 40 percent drop in mining and transport

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A depression is defined as a 10 percent drop in economic activity or a downturn lasting more than two years. Svalbard has already blown through the first qualification with a 15.8 percent drop in activity in 2015 and stands a good chance of meeting the second this year.

The downturn was caused by a 39 percent drop in mining-related activity, which in turn fueled a 43.1 percent drop in transportation and storage, activity, according to Statistics Norway.

But despite the sharp downturn, employment in the archipelago actually rose one percent compared to 2014 due largely to increased activity in tourism and recreation, with tourism surpassing mining as the biggest employer. That may be a sign of Longyearbyen making a quick and drastic change from its century-long history as a coal mining one due to what the agency described as a “rapid growth in part-time jobs.”

Full of scat: Visitors inspire locals to be extra expressive – on stage and off – during this year’s Polarjazz fest

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Which is worse: being a local who’s totally owned by an intruder during an on-stage jam or being an intruder who’s drowned out by the locals?

Both…neither…actually, it’s not really an answerable question given the nature of the world’s northernmost jazz festival.

The notable lack of jazz at a festival supposedly featuring the genre is hardly unique here, but over the years Polarjazz has become as much a social gathering as a musical one. Longyearbyen residents found themselves extra expressive at this year’s five-day festival that ended Sunday, although at times that wasn’t necessarily a good thing.