”Through puls, we have started a wide-ranging collaboration to promote high quality Nordic music under one brand,” says Sunnuva Bæk, from The Nordic House in Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands. Alongside two significantly smaller, local venues – Spaniastova and Listastovan – and Copenhagen based culture house Nordatlantens Brygge, they aim to establish a framework for presenting more Nordic live music on the archipelago.
The Faroese live music scene is facing challenges in terms of attracting international artists to the islands and making the venues’ economy sustainable. Because of the challenges, strong and inclusive collaboration is fundamental, and that is the cornerstone of this puls-collaboration.
We hope that over the three year course of this project, audiences will gradually start associating puls with “good Nordic music” and be open to experience acts they haven’t heard before", Sunnuva elaborates.
With the financial support from puls, one big and two small scale venues and a Danish partner offering export benefits, the project seeks to develop a sustainable model that will benefit both the Nordic acts, the Faeroese music audience and the venues in the long term.
The challenges of the local music scene
Placed in the capital, Tórshavn, The Nordic House is a prominent culture house in the Faroe Islands. Approximately 40% of the total 50.000 people living on the islands live in Tórshavn. Besides presenting a diverse cultural programme to the people living in Tórshavn, the Nordic House works to make cultural experiences travel across all 18 islands of the Faroe Islands and to create great musical experiences for as many music loving locals as possible. But as Sunnuva Bæk explains, that ambition is not easily fulfilled:
”Due to the remoteness of the Faroe Islands and the logistical issues caused by this, it is hard to make concerts with international artists financially viable,” she says.
Concerts are rarely profitable. Especially not in the local communities, even if expenses are kept at a minimum and the local volunteers are contributing. In addition to artist fees, a large part of the event budget is spent on flights, accommodation and equipment hire for international artists. The fact that there are only 50.000 people residing on the archipelago, and that they are spread out between 18 islands all together, is another challenging reality to the music venues. Many Faroese people will have to travel far to experience live music and might prefer staying at home instead.
Collaboration is key
With the puls-brand as an indicator of Nordic quality and the financial support the programme offers, the four partners are establishing a network as an attempt to overcome some of these challenges.
“We want to use puls to make good Nordic music accessible to people in other regions of the Faroe Islands besides the capital. The collaboration with smaller venues can help us achieve this and in turn we are able to help them programme acts, which they otherwise could not afford,” Sunnuva says.
The two smaller venues – Spaniastova and Listastovan – are placed in two opposite parts of the island group and are, unlike the Nordic House, strongly based on volunteers and on much smaller budgets – if any at all.
Spaniastova in Klaksvik from the inside.
Spaniastova is a small and intimate venue in one of the oldest buildings in the second biggest city in the Faroe Islands, Klaksvík – the home of approximately 4.600 people.
Listastovan is an even smaller venue in the western town Miðvágur - not far from the airport. Only 1032 people live here. In 2016 Listastovan won the Faroese Music Award for ‘Best new Venture’.
Both venues are very dependent on local volunteer forces,ticket sales and the lowest possible expenses.
By joining their forces and passion for live music through puls, the venues are putting together a year-round Nordic live music programme, that they will present together – both in terms of production and promotion.
When a Nordic artist is invited to the Faroe Islands to play as a part of the puls-collaboration, some of them are offered a tour around all three venues. Not every act will necessarily be visiting the venues in Tórshavn, Klaksvik and Miðvágur – some might visit one, two or all three places. But one thing is certain: the concerts are carefully curated and promoted in a close collaboration by all the partners of the project.
The Faroese venue Listastovan in Miðvágur from the inside.
In this way the Faroese puls collaboration offers a touring and promotion opportunity for Nordic acts and more live music opportunities for all three venues and their audiences.
Why the Danish partner?
To further unfold opportunities and attraction for the Nordic acts, the project has involved the Danish partner Nordatlantes Brygge. This is a culture house based in Copenhagen promoting North Atlantic culture on a broad scale.
Nordatlantens Brygge in Copenhagen
As a partner in the collaboration, Nordatlantens Brygge can offer to be a fourth touring opportunity for the act travelling to the Faroe Islands. Because as Sunnuva says: “When travelling to or from the Faroe Islands, you will often have to fly via Copenhagen”. The project then also offers an export and an exchange opportunity for the artists, and aligns well with the collaborative mentality of the Faeroese people.
“As a Nordic House, we belong to a bigger family of Nordic cultural organisations and are used to collaborating across the Nordic region. We are therefore very excited at the prospect of expanding our Nordic network to include all the puls promoters and see a vast amount of potential for collaborative projects and opportunities for consulting with and supporting each other”, Sunnuva Bæk explains.
Seven concerts have been done so far within the puls-collaboration and more will be announced very soon.
Follow the puls-project here: https://www.facebook.com/Puls-Føroyar-339361733165877/