Creating a truly unique aural experience, the world’s only Ice Music Festival will return for a trailblazing 13th year on February 2nd & 3rd 2018. Constructed and formed exclusively from naturally harvested ice and snow, the Festival is a tribute to art, the environment and one’s of the world’s most vital resources – water. Frozen water. Conceived and developed in 2006 by ice music pioneer Terje Isungset and Pål K Medhus, the Ice Music Festival is an annual celebration of collaborative music and expression performed by specially invited artists, curated by Terje.
Icy harps and frosty saxophones, the sound of frozen nature is the real star of the show. Brittle percussive sounds traveling like echoes of cavernous water droplets through cold air. Deep glassy vibrations coming from thick sheets of ice struck by mallets. Wild howls amplified through giant see-through horns the size of a man. For twelve years now, the annual festival has been putting on concerts with miked-up instruments made from ice and snow, played outside at sub-zero temperatures.
The festival’s origins date back to Norwegian percussionist and drummer Terje Isungset, who pioneered the idea of ice music when he was commissioned by a festival to play by a frozen waterfall. From there, an annual festival in Geilo followed, with Isungset and co-founder Pål Medhus inviting a number of artists to participate every year. According to the festival’s media manager and official photographer Emile Holba, the instruments are completely constructed out of ice, save for some elements such as the strings that may be needed in order for an ice guitar to function.
The festival continually tries to innovate from year to year, crafting new instruments and experiences as they go along. According to Holba, this year features a number of highlights, such as an ice village built by the Bergen Academy of Art & Design. Another highlight is a talk by Kerim H. Nisancioglu, professor of climate dynamics at the University of Bergen. On the topic of instruments, the ice saxophone that Polish sax player Grzech Piotrowski will attempt to play ranks among the more unusual ones this year. Also featured for the festival’s Finnish Moods concert is an ice version of the Kantele, played by Kantele master kantele Minna Raskinen from Finland. There are also challenges at the other end of the temperature scale, as instruments become too fragile at minus 28 degrees celsius and tend to break. However, Holba says that up to that point lower temperatures equal better sound.
So seek out your warmest clothing, pack your bags and join us in Finse for 2 nights of wondrous music.