Canal Street, Arendal’s fabulous music festival, offers an event where place, culture, and history form the musical meet between artist and audience. Since 1996 Canal Street has offered large musical events to the inhabitants of Arendal, tourists and other guests. Thousands of people visit this festival each year.
By using the maritime surroundings and the characteristic scenes that Arendal has to offer, Canal Street wishes to create a general experience where place, culture, and history are creating a perfect setting for musical meets between artists and audience.
Bathing Blues and Splash Jazz in the bay of Merdø, “Jazz in the Dumpster“ at Heftingsdalen refuse and recycling site, nighttime concerts at the Arendal Cemetary, and hidden and forgotten backyards in town are just some examples.
The festival is aimed at people of all ages, for instance through “Barnestreet”, the children’s Canal Street, and a talent show for youth. The main concerts in the heart of town attract thousands of lively people each night, while the backyard “Bakgården” is for the more calm audience.
About 40-50 different artists and bands visit the festival. Even though jazz traditionally has been well represented, most genres are presented here. In addition to offering the best Norwegian artists, the festival has included artists like Bob Geldof, Lauren Hill, Joss Stone, Waterboys, Gary Moore, Solomon Burke, Melody Gardot, Angélique Kidjo and more on the stage the last five years.
Mats Aronsen is the founder and general manager of Canal Street. We had the chance to ask him some questions about this amazing festival in northern Europe.
Mats, can you tell us a bit about what you do at Canal Street?
Well, I do almost everything from the booking of bands and programming the festival, contact with the sponsors, volunteers, and group leaders, and more back office things like the economy and reporting to the board etc.
What goes into designing a festival like Canal Street?
It’s all about designing the totality of the festival and the experiences for the audience the venues, the music, and what kind of competences we need, the volunteer structure and such.
Tell us more about the festival (Location, Vision, History)?
The festival is 22 years old, originally based in jazz and blues music, and has evolved into a broad music and culture festival for children, young and grown-up people. Most of the venues are outdoors, in many beautiful and quite special places like an island, the churchyard, the harbor, and the town square.
Arendal is a beautiful seaside town of approximately 45,000 inhabitants, and of course many tourists, – and the festival kind of blends in with the town and surroundings in a nice way. It’s a very gentle and exciting cultural happening.
How do you get to Arendal, Norway and join this music festival?
Well, you can come here by ferry boat from Denmark (Hirtshals) to Kristiansand and then take a bus or drive by car to Arendal (1 hour), or by flights to the Kjevik airport (Kristansand) and then by bus.
If you could book your dream line up. Who would be the three headliners?
What do you think a perfect festival needs?
Good music, nice people, and beautiful and unique venues. We have it all!
Tell us more about the parade during Canal Street?
It’s a fantastic musical and happiness event with hundreds of musicians and thousands of people watching and walking along from the town square to the harbor.
When is next years festival and when do recommend people to buy tickets?
It’s four days from 24th to 27th of July 2019. I would recommend buying tickets as soon as you have decided to come!
Canal Street Festival Links:
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