Solfestuka overshawdowed by eclipse?


Normally it’s the most popular cultural event of the year. This year, it isn’t even close to being the biggest sun-related event of the month.

Still, locals and visitors are guaranteed to have a brighter time welcoming the return of the sun at the annual Solfestuka festival starting Sunday than when the skies go dark during the March 20 total solar eclipse.

The usual lineup of traditional and special events is more or less intact during the eight day festival. Organizers said their plans weren’t affected by what’s expected to draw the largest crowd ever to visit the archipelago only a couple of weeks later.

One difference from most years is an afternoon of outdoor sun-related activities on March 7 will take place on the ski hill across from Longyearbyen School instead of locations further from town due to a lack of snow, said Roger Ødegård, the city’s cultural advisor.

“It’s also easy for everyone to get to,” he said.

One traditional event that will be delayed is a feast and sing-a-long at Huset that is being moved to the night of the eclipse in order to give visitors an extra event to participate in, Ødegård said.

Full details about all events are available at