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An American Goes to Bergenfest – Interview with Shelby Dennis

We’re beyond thrilled to announce that Shelby Dennis, from Maryland, will be going on her first trip abroad to attend the music festival Bergenfest in Norway and will be representing Nordic Spotlight at the festival! She’ll share her experience via our social media channels, so be sure to connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss a thing. The festival runs June 14-17, 2017 (and she has lots of other activities planned) so if your passport is valid and you fancy a last minute adventure in Norway, get your Bergenfest tickets and packages right now.

In anticipation of Shelby’s trip, we asked her a few questions about her travel itinerary, the performances she’s most looking forward to, what other Nordic music festivals she wants to go to, and more. Read on!

Shelby Dennis is travelling abroad to attend Bergenfest in Norway

Shelby Dennis, from Maryland, is traveling abroad for the first time to attend Bergenfest in Norway

 

Tells us a little about yourself and why you like Nordic music.

I’m a 24-year-old accountant living in Maryland, and about to go on my first ever trip to another continent! Why I like Nordic music – it started from having heard some of Bjork‘s music for the first time and I just felt so fascinated by how different and dynamic her music was. From there, it was a natural transition to start seeking out music that was kind of in the same vein, by artists like Samaris and Sigur Rós. I feel like Nordic music has a quality to it that is so rare to find elsewhere – this duality of very personal, delicate music coming out of a harsh, cold climate. It seems more subtle and detail-driven, and I am really drawn to media that gives me a little bit of something that is unexpected. Since then, I’ve definitely branched out and started listening to more genres within the scope of Nordic music, but that’s how it began.

What made you decide to travel abroad to attend Bergenfest? How long is your stay?

My boyfriend lives in Bergen – he has visited me a few times here in the US, and now it’s my turn to make the trip. I thought it would be cool to try to coordinate the visit with the weekend of Bergenfest since it’s been on my bucket list for a few years now to attend a Nordic music festival. This experience will be a lot of firsts for me – the first big vacation I’ll have planned myself, the first time I’ll travel to Europe, the first time I’ll fly on a plane by myself (and for something like 10 hours at that!) It’s 12 days that I’ll be away from home, including the travel days.

What are the 5 shows by Nordic acts that you’re most looking forward to at Bergenfest and why?

Number one on my list is Gabrielle! I had been listening to Norwegian artists for quite a while when I came across her music, but that was the first exposure I’d ever had to the Norwegian language itself. It was right after her song “Mellom Skyene” was released. I have always been super interested in foreign languages, and that experience had kind of coincided with my passive dabbling in learning Norwegian. Hearing Norwegian music, sung in Norwegian, for the first time helped push me to start spending more time and dedication to the language, of which a lot of amazing things have come so far! So I feel really excited to see her perform live. Not to mention she seems to put on really energetic shows.

Aurora – I was fortunate enough to get to see her perform in Washington DC on the night of my birthday this past year! The entire set was such a pleasant exchange of emotion between her and the audience that just exuberated warmth, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing that again. It’s a rare feeling to share a genuine connection between performer and fans like that, especially in bigger venues, and I have no doubts that she will be able to pull off just the same in a festival environment.

Karpe Diem is a definite must. They seem to have such elaborate performances. I also plan to catch Zara Larsson. Other Norwegian acts that I’m not as familiar with, but would like to see: Stein Torleif Bjella, Store P, Strange Hellos, and Kjartan Lauritzen.

Are there other music festivals in Nordic countries that you want to go to?

Definitely! To be able to go to Iceland Airwaves at some point is my dream. I’ve also heard about a lot of good music passing through By:Larm and Øyafestivalen.

What’s your plan for getting to and from your home in Maryland to the festival grounds in Bergen, Norway?

I’ll be flying out of the Dulles International Airport which is about a 2-hour drive from where I live in southern Maryland. SAS has flights from Dulles to the airport in Flesland, Bergen, with a connecting flight in Copenhagen. I’ll only have 50 minutes in between arriving in Denmark and leaving to Norway, which is almost a shame, because I’d like to be able to wander around a little bit, even if only in the airport. But that just gives me a reason to go on a separate excursion one day!

Are you going to Bergenfest solo or with a companion?

I’m going with my boyfriend. I feel like I have gained a decent handle on the Norwegian language in the past two years of studying it – but it won’t hurt to have a native-speaker as my backup translator 😉

What are your plans to experience Bergen and Norway outside of Bergenfest?

I plan to visit the Bergen Aquarium, go shopping in Bryggen, visit Gamlehaugen, and climb up the Løvstakken and Fløyen mountains, to name a few of the things on my list so far. I’m going to purchase a Bergenskortet which gives free admission to a bunch of museums in the city and discounts on some other activities. I’m also really looking forward to getting to taste Norwegian cuisine for the first time – brunost, rømmegrøt, fresh salmon and reindeer if I have the chance. At some point I’d like to go skiing and swim in the fjords afterward, but not sure if I will end up doing that this time around!

Be sure to follow Shelby on her first Nordic adventure abroad by following Nordic Spotlight on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, where she’ll be sharing her experience traveling to Bergen, Norway from the U.S.A. for Bergenfest next month. Bon voyage, Shelby!

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