Tag Archives: Solfestuka

SOLFESTUKA CANCELLED, AIRPORT CHECKS HEIGHTENED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: City urges other events organizers to evaluate plans; stricter flight rules means all passengers will be questioned


Update 6:45 p.m.: The Norwegian Polar Institute has also announced it is cancelling much of its travel and meetings.

Original story: The remainder of the events for this year’s Solfestuka festival have been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns and organizers of other events are being urged to evaluate their plans, Longyearbyen’s city government announced Wednesday. In addition, Svalbard Airport announced heightened scrutiny of all passengers following stricter guidelines imposed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

(This is a breaking story in progress. More details being added now and as they become available.)

LONG YEAR = SHORT CELEBRATION: Whiteout blizzard means quick – but glowing – return-of-the-sun ceremony on leap year

(Editor’s note: This was the worst weather I’ve experienced in my 12 years covering Solfestuka’s main event and, since there was no way in hell I was going to interview folks while somehow taking the photos that are obviously What Really Matters, here’s a rare first-person diatribe on what certainly was an illuminating occasion.)

I opened the door to my flat at about noon, and instantly was literally knocked astride by a white wall of blowing snow that made it impossible to see my car two meters away – let alone my intended destination on a small hill perhaps 500 meters away.

SOMETHING’S FUNNY ABOUT THIS YEAR’S SOLFESTUKA: Coal copulation, screwy sleds and cheering the sun’s return on the wrong day on the horizon during week-long celebration


Let’s start with the main event – the brightest moment during the most popular event in Longyearbyen: it’s on the wrong day this year. Everybody’s going to show up to cheer the return of the sun 24 hours (or maybe 48) after it actually happens.

So nice it happened twice: Sun makes one of its most spectacular Solfestuka celebration appearances ever – one day after its first actual appearance


Great. Now even the sun is fake news.

Not that any of the hundreds of people cared as the sun made a glorious appearance over the southern mountains under a cloudless sky at about 12:50 p.m. Friday during the annual return-of-the-sun festival Friday on the old hospital steps near Svalbard Church.

Old king coal: The traditional ways are riper than ever for satire and sorrow during the 25th staging of Svalbard’s year in revue


Let’s start with the show’s title since it’s about the only thing we’re allowed to reveal in advance: it can’t be properly translated into English.

Officially the title is “25 År Og Kull Verdt” (which, taking extensive liberties, roughly means “25 Years And Worth Its Weight in Coal”), based on a long-running gag equating coal with gold in Svalbard, a concept that is now truly – if tragically to the performers – ripe for a mother lode of satirical stagecraft.

DAWN OR DECEPTION? Longyearbyen’s first sunrise of the year after nearly four months? Well, kinda…it’s complicated


The nearly four-month-long polar night is over as the sun made a dazzling return with its rays to Longyearbyen on Saturday. Except in all but the technical sense it actually didn’t and won’t for a few more weeks.

Confused? No biggie – it happens all the time, with even the sun forgetting its norms and doing things like setting twice a day in these parts.

Audio ambassadors: Prolific local youth teams with visiting duo for stellar sonic soundscape inspired by Svalbard


Vilde Markussen, 18, has shared the sounds of Svalbard plenty of times with audiences to the south. This time she got to experience new notes with a visiting duo whose concert was influenced by experiences here and on the way.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Gruvelageret evacuated, Huset closed until at least Sunday due to potential avalanche danger


The evacuation of Gruvelageret and closing of Huset (except for presold groups at the restaurant Friday) until at least Sunday was ordered Friday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard due to a storm that dumped several inches of snow and strong winds that are causing sizable drifts.

Breaking dawn: National NRK morning program goes from chilly to hot in Longyearbyen hours before sun returns


3… 2… 1… ON AIR. It’s 6 a.m. at Svalbard Museum as the streaming of NRK’s “P3Morgen” starts Wednesday, energetically hosted by Ronny Aase, Silje Nordnes and Markus Neby.

At the beginning the cold audience surprises the hosts but, after asking if the locals if they are cold as the permafrost, the ice is broken.

Mass enlightenment: Sun listens to warm crowd instead of drab experts in shinning return to Longyearbyen


Elliot Vale has been wearing sunglasses every day since he arrived in Longyearbyen two months ago, but on the one day they actually would have served their purpose he inadvertently left them in his dorm.

“It was a bit dumb,” the University Centre in Svalbard student admitted.

Not completely, since the “experts” were predicting heavy cloudy cover and possible snow flurries at 12:50 p.m. Wednesday, the so-called “unofficial” moment of the sun’s official returns – or maybe it’s the other way around.