Tag Archives: Dark Season Blues

SWEET SOUND OF FREEDOM: Dark Season Blues and Arctic Chamber Music festivals among Svalbard events turning up the volume after a missed year as COVID-19 restrictions lifted


While there’s some harsh “post-Covid” tones on the mainland in the form of violent celebration and foreign countries putting Norway in the highest-risk travel categories, the immediate sounds from Svalbard were harmonious as organizers of various upcoming events including two major music festivals announced they are launching/expanding plans following cancellations of last year’s events.

SWINGING AND SLIDING INTO THE SUNSET: Dark Season Blues returns w/ familiar glow, but ticket sales and other struggles again threaten future of Longyearbyen’s biggest music festival


The good news: tickets that usually hard to come by, including those multi-day passes, are still readily available as the annual four-day Dark Season Blues begins today. The bad news: if those tickets go unsold, there may not be a chance to buy any next year.

Longyearbyen’s biggest annual music festival still features its bright vibe for its 17th year as the town begins the polar night this weekend, with a largely familiar event schedule and a lineup of 16 returning/new performers from Norway and abroad. But lurking beneath are difficulties that last year caused organizers to question if the festival can continue.

OPEN SEASON: Dark Season Blues is here. You’re still free to attend everything – and here’s everything you can attend for free


This is the sweet sixteen year for Dark Season Blues – especially for listeners – as Svalbard’s most popular annual music event opens Thursday night with the oddity of having no events or festival passes sold out.

Blue in Green: Public competes with plants to hear duo revive ‘old women’s’ music at Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg


(Dark Season Blues festival blog by Staff Writer Marion Prudhon, 4 p.m. Saturday): No stage here, just two chairs and a display of old vinyl from blues legend Jessie Mae Hemphill serving an artel altar for Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey’s source of inspiration.

Far adrift, yet solidly anchored: Billy T and other longtime Dark Season Blues colleagues liven up lunch at Svalbar


(Festival blog by Staff Writer Marion Prudhon, 1:30 p.m. Friday): “People say we have drifted far from the blues,” said William T. Troiani – alias Billy T – who’s been performing at Dark Season Blues for 13 of the festival’s 15 years, during the latest of his many free “Blues Lunch” concerts at Svalbar at midday Friday.

Dawn at sunset: First night of 15th Dark Season Blues lights things up as sun bids Svalbard goodbye for four months


(Festival blog by Staff Writer Marion Prudhon, 1:40 a.m. Friday): The sun disappeared from Longyearbyen just a few hours before Sugaray Rayford took the stage for the first of two times Thursday night. But he wasn’t about to let the audience sit quietly in the dark.

“I know Norwegians dance, I’ve seen them,” he said, imploring the crowd to get out of their seats while performing a trio of songs during the official opening of the festival at Kulturhuset.

Staging a fit at 15: Dark Season Blues celebrates landmark anniversary with musical family reunion; here’s how to crash the party for free without a ticket


Fifteen. An age of intense emotional and intellectual moodiness.

Not always a great trait for a nuclear family, but one raging with potential for the longtime family of musicians who will reunite in various forms as Dark Season Blues, Svalbard’s biggest music festival, celebrates its landmark 15 anniversary that started Wednesday. This year’s five-day festival features 20 bands performing a record 43 concerts, with an emphasis on revisiting and expanding on a decade-and-a-half of history.

Teen spirit: 14th annual Dark Season Blues puts old and new side-by-side on stage


There’s a famous band celebrating its 50th anniversary by making a comeback. An obscure local one celebrating maybe its 50-day anniversary. And some visiting veterans sharing the stage with a new group of local youths.

Blues-collared: Passes for biggest-ever Dark Season Blues sell out faster than ever to mostly non-local listeners


The kind of blues you’re feeling this week may have a lot to do with your inclination to plan ahead or be spontaneous. In this case, the former are least likely to be the glum type.

Festival passes for the biggest Dark Season Blues ever sold out earlier than ever because of a decision to offer them much sooner than usual, said Espen Helgesen, the festival’s director and chairman of the Longyearbyen Blues Club.