Guitar World Invades Norway's 2010 Hole in the Sky Festival
Second, as I nursed my pricey beverage—while the British post-hardcore band Gallows played to a sold-out crowd downstairs—I noticed a familiar face behind the bar. It turned out to be none other than Grutle Kjellson, bassist and vocalist of supreme progressive extreme metal band Enslaved.
I guess if you’re from Bergen, this may be a usual sight. But for an American like myself, it was a pretty damn cool indication of what was in store. As I would discover soon enough, Hole in the Sky is the kind of festival where the artists and attendees are both there to have a good time…and hear some good metal.
Being the respectful person (and all-around wimp) that I am, I decided to leave him alone and wait to chat with him during the press-only listening session for Enslaved’s new album, Axioma Ethica Odini, later in the week (more on that later). Besides, a basement venue filled with 400 thirsty Gallows fans needs a man’s full attention…
Calm Before the Storm: The scene at Garage a day before the festival.
As the night went on and after checking out the local scene, I decided to head back to the hostel to get some sleep. I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be getting much rest this week.
Day Two, August 24: The Cult is Alive
Back in May during Maryland Deathfest, I had a chat with Kick, the drummer of Norway’s alcohol-driven thrashers Nekromantheon, about Bergen. He told me that it’s one hell of a wet city—sort of like Norway’s Seattle—and I should expect loads of rain. The previous day's sunny and beautiful weather made me think Kick was just exaggerating about the weather.
Unfortunately, he was not, as I discovered when I woke up on day two to a rainstorm. I awoke my second day in Bergen to rain. As I left the hostel I noticed that most people here didn’t use umbrellas. They just walk around like nothing’s going on. Hardcore.
The only person in Bergen with an umbrella...probably a tourist.
Another thing I noticed was how quiet the morning commutes were. In New York, people are constantly on their smart phones, making deals or whatever, and just obnoxiously chatting away. This does not exist in Bergen. It was quiet…too quiet…
After breakfast, which was an “affordable” snack at 7-11, I decided to walk around and see some of the city. I felt like I was walking in a ghost town, with the misting rain and beautiful scenery. This was especially true at Bryggen, Bergen’s old section, which I spied from across the bay. The row of small and colorful houses on the water was ridiculously surreal.
Bergen's historic district Bryggen
A little after noon, I received a call from a writer at the local newspaper, Bergensavisen (also known as BA). It turned out that the festival press organizer, Martin Kvam, tipped them off to Guitar World’s attendance, and the paper decided it would be interesting to interview me. I honestly didn’t know what to make of this, but I figured there must be at least a few guitar fanatics in Norway, so I went with it.
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