Festival at the top of the world

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The norwegian festival Vinjerock is not your average summer event. At 1060 metres above sea level, at the end of a 100 km dead end road and with the untouched national park of Jotunheimen as backdrop it´s a one heck of a place to have a rock concert! Since the event includes a massive line-up of tents from Tentipi we sent our PR-manager Veronica Thorvaldsson to the spectacular national reserve of Jotunheimen in Norway to see what Tentipi means for Vinjerock and if the festival lives up to its’ good reputation.
It’s quite hard to realize that I’m here, up in the thunderous mountains of Jotunheimen. I’m here to take lots of photos, do interviews, and to of course enjoy the festival. After a day’s travel from my home town, Karlstad, Sweden I spend my first evening landing emotionally and physically – it’s like the ground is literally moving under my feet from driving mile after mile on winding roads through the dramatic mountain landscape.

The festival starts on a Thursday, I arrive a few days early to be able to cover the preparations. The first three days I spend taking pictures of how Vinjerock is taking form, from a large and empty space to an astonishing festival. Even though the rain is pouring down I make the best of the situation. When I’ve put on the cover on my camera and wellies on my feet, I’m on my way out documenting. I meet up with Jonny Bakaas who is in charge of Tentipi Norway, the distributor of Tentipi products in Norway. He and his crew are lifting up a Stratus 72 Nordic tipi with a crane, a machine that is crucial for them to fulfill their task.
We need tents that are big, can stay warm and that can sustain extreme weather, and of course that fit in the environment. And it’s not only the tents that we like; it’s also the Tentipi staff that is very competent
John Olav Hovde

Not an ordinary festival

"We have 22 tents left to erect, this is the first one so we have plenty of work here", says Jonny when he takes a short break.

The Stratus 72 is an enormous structure; one tent alone can host 72 people seated at tables and weighs several hundred kilos. I think about it for a while and figure out that the 23 tents together will cover a space of 2500 square meters! An area that soon will be filled with people and other stuff, fantastic!

"Vinjerock is the largest festival in Norway. It is not an ordinary festival like anyone else, the fact that it’s placed 1000 meters over the ocean says a lot", John Olav Hovde, the festival manager tells me when we meet up later on.

It has been raining all day so the gravel under my feet is wet and the clouds are hanging so low that they cover the snowy mountaintops. We have decided to sit in one of the large tents to get inspiration and to be able to talk undisturbed.

John Olav Hovde is in charge of the whole festival and the 600 people that works here. I catch a glimpse through the opening of the tent and see people running back and forth, struggling to finish their work in time.

"A lot can happen on a festival, both good and bad things that you need to be prepared for. But it seems that there isn’t much that can destroy the folks’ good mood here at Vinjerock", John Olav tells me.

"Last year the rain was just pouring down at a concert but nobody cared, everyone was dancing. It was a magical thing to see!"

No matter how magical dancing in the rain can be I’m happy to sit dry and warm in shelter. While I look around in the tent I ask them how it comes that they chose tents from Tentipi.

"We need tents that are big, can stay warm and that can sustain extreme weather, and of course that fit in the environment. And it’s not only the tents that we like; it’s also the Tentipi staff that is very competent. That is also very important", John Olav Hovde says.

The 23 Stratus 72 are going to be filled with bars, restaurants, shops, a library, a backstage area for the artists and an information desk. All the tents are connected to create a big room. I feel kind of woozy trying to visualize how it all is going to look, luckily there is a lot of fresh air here to clear my brain when the interview is over.

A hotel made of tents

Thursday arrive, the day with a capital D. Gates are opening! The festival is getting a very wet start, but nevertheless people are queuing all day long, Once some are let into the festival area, a bus arrives to fill up with more people.

The day offers only a small portion of activities and a lot of rain. But, as we all know, after rain comes sun, and suddenly the sun is shining so bright that it almost burns my skin. I’m walking up to the “Lavvotel”.

”Lavvo” is Norwegian for Nordic tipi, here they have made a hotel area of tipis. 20 tents from Tentipi, both the Safir 9 and Zirkon 15, to rent as hotel rooms. I’m told by one of the managers for the Lavvotel that Tentipi is the only brand they use , after an incident last year when a big storm came in and destroyed all the tents. Except the ones from Tentipi.

A fantastic combination

One morning at breakfast, I stumble into Ola Fredrik Klakegg, one of the 3000 visitors at Vinjerock. He says that the best thing with the festival is to combine the outdoors with all the fun that the festival offers. And also to cook good food. He is now preparing a breakfast and he says that they have stocked up with all sorts of good and healthy food.

"If it rains tonight we will just move inside the tent and make the food there, there is so much space and it’s super comfy!"

I use my time wisely here at Vinjerock and just when you know it I’m on my way up on a mountain, with a newfound friend to take pictures. As we walk we’re severely attacked by mosquitoes, there’s no way escaping. We wave our hands frenetically as we progress. After a while I turn around and suddenly forget about the irritating insects. From here it’s an amazing view! Miles and miles of snowy mountains and green valleys under a bright blue sky. Deep down there I see tents as small dots of grey, red, beige and the big tents like ice-cream cones surrounded by herds of ant-sized humans.
The best thing with this tent is when you wake up in the morning and wants coffee. I just pull the string to open the hat and start the gas cooker. I don’t even have to go out!
Thomas Hovstein

Activities around the clock

I want to be everywhere at the same time. The festival is packed with activities, like stand- up paddling, trekking, beer tasting, lectures, volleyball, concerts and so much more. But since I am only one person I have to decide for one thing at a time. Work’s first.

Saturday evening I meet up with Thomas Hovstein that owns an old version of Onyx 5. The sun is on its way down and reaches only the mountaintops and the snow shines so bright that it almost blinds the eye. Thomas tells me an inspiring story about last year’s Vinjerock. It was a terrible weather and the wind and the rain made several people homeless.

"At first we were only two people in my Nordic Tipi. But by the end of the festival we were a total of six. At first it was a bit strange, but soon we were good friends."

He offered them to hang up their wet clothes so they could heat themselves up and dry their clothes.

"The best thing with this tent is when you wake up in the morning and wants coffee. Then I just pull the string to open the hat and start the gas cooker. I don’t even have to go out!" Thomas Hovstein says.

The darkness has now spread through the valley like a soft mist and the concerts are in full speed. I have to pierce my way through all the people to get a good shot of the crowd. It is like a whole new world. The lights, the sound. When the concerts have ended the disco takes over underneath the eight connected Stratus 72’s. It is very steamy in there. This is the last night and everyone wants to make the most out of it. For me, it’s been a long week so I headed back to my tent. I do not know for how long I heard voices outside, but I’m pretty sure that I fell asleep long before it got quiet. If it ever did…
  • Adventure
  • Event

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