Sunday, May 15

Want the “meter” for life: Cultural director fears for this spring’s concert program

On Tuesday night, the government will present its new corona relief. Both the cultural industry and the colleges fear that the one-meter limit will be maintained.

MANY POSTPONS: The cultural director at USF Verftet in Bergen says that almost all of the program has been postponed or canceled after strict corona measures were introduced in December.


– If there is no relief tonight, it is a scandal, but I expect that something will come, says Kulturhussjef at USF Verftet in Bergen, Ivar Chelsom Vogt.

The government has announced major easing of coronary restrictions this week and will present the details of a press conference at 19 Tuesday night.

Vogt hopes and expects that there will be relief that makes it possible for USF, Bergen’s largest concert venue and stage house, to complete this spring’s program.

– It has been extremely strict since December, and almost all of the program has been canceled or postponed. If there are no reliefs today, I fear that the program for the rest of the spring, at least much of it, will not be able to be implemented, he says.

He does not dare to speculate on how much kroner and øre it will cost, if the spring program fails.

The cultural sector has been hit hard by corona measures throughout the pandemic. In 2020, the music institutions had a 76 percent decrease in the number of visitors compared to 2019, according to figures from Statistics Norway.

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Virke and NHO expect full reopening now

The meter is most intrusive

Virke and NHO stated on Monday that they now expect full reopening.

– We expect full reopening in the same way as they have done in Denmark. The reason for retaining strict measures was that the health service could be overburdened, but the authorities themselves have abandoned that reason, said CEO Ivar Horneland Kristensen in Virke.

Stage evenings, which these days should actually play the musical “Mamma Mia” in the Folketeateret in Oslo, also require that the meter be scrapped.

– I am incredibly tired of the cultural sector being held hostage because the government wants to avoid congestion on the subway, says producer Karianne Jæger.

Nevertheless, several media outlets reported on Tuesday that the meter, bandage and insulation are measures that will continue to apply in the future.

For USF Verftet, as for many other cultural actors, it is the requirement of a meter distance that makes it most demanding to carry out events.

– It is the meter that is the most intrusive – plus you have to have a seating audience. Earlier in the pandemic, we had a standing audience, but at a distance, says the cultural director.

Several national media have reported that the meter limit can be maintained, despite the fact that significant relief is expected on Tuesday night.

USF Verftet in Bergen has three concert halls, the largest of which seats 1300 spectators. On the spring program, they have both concerts, festivals, film screenings. Many of them are events that have been postponed from earlier in the pandemic.

– Usually we work with the spring of 2023 now, we work on a different time horizon than what we usually do. It is challenging to maintain a program with that uncertainty, he says.

1,500 at events

Also Rectors of Norway’s largest universities request that the government remove the requirement for a meter distance for students, reports VG.

– It is high time that students get their lives back. They have paid a high price. We see no reason why there should be stricter rules at universities than there are at upper secondary schools, says Margareth Hagen, rector at UiB, to VG.

THEN: Concert with the band Kvelertak at USF Verftet in 2013.

From On Friday, January 21, the government opened for 1,500 people at indoor events and 3,000 at outdoor events. There was an increase from 30 people indoors without permanent allocated places, and a maximum of 200 with permanent allocated places at public events indoors.

Both indoors and outdoors, there must be a maximum of 50 percent of the capacity.

– The increase in the number limit is a big step in the right direction and will mean a lot to organizers, spectators and performers. This means that many can return to their jobs in the cultural sector, and that we audiences can finally experience theater, concerts and sports to a far greater extent than before, said Minister of Culture Anette Trettebergstuen in a statement, after the new facilities became known.

The government then hoped that they could make further relief in February.

– Then I hope that we can open more, both for events with and without permanent assigned places, said the Minister of Culture.

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The government opens for 1,500 at events

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