Tag Archives: Lasse Stener Hansen

‘EXTREME’ JAZZ FEST HITS NEW HIGHS, LOWS: Polarjazz, a day shorter due to financial woes, offering first-ever discount student passes and ultra-premium Ny-Ålesund trip/concert


There’s a lot to be said for experiencing a jazz gig simply in a small club verses the same musicians in a no-expenses-barred stage show in a major venue. While this year’s Polarjazz festival – shortened by a day and several concerts in order to survive after recent struggles – isn’t quite that scaled back, its longtime director is feeling a lot smoother about the vibe while making final preparations.

‘Not as bad as we feared’: At-the-door sales save Polarjazz from ‘panic’ scenario – but continuing next year still uncertain


Since improvisation is the heart of jazz, it’s fitting that locals expressed their feelings about Polarjazz spontaneously with a rush of at-the-door ticket sales to stave off what organizers feared would be a disastrous year.

But the affection isn’t enough to alter the brains of the festival who say significant changes are necessary if it is to return next year.

Are you sitting down? Polarjazz hoping first-ever seat sections, more variety and a Very Special mine concert lure listeners


For those with a “see it before it’s gone” mentality, this may be the final year of Polarjazz as we know it.

The world’s northernmost jazz festival has been a moneymaker each of its 21 years – until last year – by featuring evenings of overlapping music and mingling, and a mix of familiar and boundary-stretching performers. But facing the drastic economic and societal changes that have disrupted so many other longtime aspects of life here the past few years, festival organizers are making some notable changes this year before a likely major overhaul – and possible downsizing – next year.

Stage of majority: 21st annual Polarjazz festival features all non-jazz lineup (but plenty of musicans who’ve played it)


It’s hardly unusual for a jazz festival to be notably lacking its namesake genre in order to draw enough of a crowd to be commercially viable. Yet the world’s northernmost jazz festival usually features at least one or two bands devoted to some form of jazz –but ended up busting out for its “lucky 21” anniversary.