A look back in history book

Almost as usual – when the good ide`er be implemented – is dependent on people, a strong desire to succeed, and maybe some luck and chance. Many people and coincidences have contributed to the Grenland Brass Festival came on the map. One of the people in our context was Ketil Klingberg, founder and conductor at Grenland Brass – festival organizer corps.

He moved to Bergen to further educate themselves, and with his suitcase he had clarinet and conductor pin. The clarinet was mostly lie still, for having conducted various bands – both symphonic and brass bands – so he was bitten by the “brasillen”. Thus started the ball rolling. Ketil started Grenland Youth Brass Band in 1989, and after a few years so was ide`en about a festival. After a failed attempt in 1993, so it was all put on hold.

The next randomness was a failed choir festival. In 1996, as the Skien International Choir Festival held, and here there was an administration that had the capacity to serve an additional measure. Øyvind Klingberg – brass festival leader for many years – was also involved in choir festival, and thus the concept of a brass festival again picked up from the desk drawer. After a brief and positive dialogue with the municipal manager, so it was decided that we would try a new venture, and with the help of the hardworking members of Grenland Brass and other volunteer enthusiasts, started planning what became the first Grenland Brass Festival, and the the success of the first played note.

Finally Started

In 1997 the first Grenland Brass Festival organized by ten participating bands, and the leader of the program sheet stood there ia “When we have arrived at” åpningsfanfaren “, we are pleased that we took upon us this event, and so will the coming days will show whether it was right or wrong.” Among the participants in the first year were, inter alia Stavanger Brass Band, Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag and Sandefjord Brass Symposium, all brass bands that characterize Norwegian and international brass band movement today. We were well underway!

We will also cite the greeting in program magazine from that time music director in NMF – Karl Ole Midtbø:

“Grenland Brass Festival seems to be a particularly important innovation including arrangements for the band. The undersigned include invited to attend to discuss the simple yet extremely challenging topic – Band Movement in the year 2000!

In such an occasion, it could’ve simply be okay to talk about Grenland Brass Festival, or similar measures. For, in my opinion, it is a quality that is going to be very central in the years to come, namely the ability to innovate …. in all areas of our joint activities, music.

We have gradually rich experience in organizing competitions, but some of them have enough “stiffened slightly in shape.” Therefore we look forward with excitement to the implementation of the competition at this year’s festival. It will be particularly interesting to see how the musicians and the audience will experience the competition is divided into several types concert. An ingenious ide` if you ask me … ..særlig that you have entered a church concert. There is an incredible amount of great sacred music for brass band, so here I think audiences will get some amazing experiences. It’s not often you get the chance so many great experiences … .from so many talented bands … .on such a short time! ”

With blueprint in hand, so there is no question that the initial music director in NMF had many good and correct observations regarding Grenland Brass Festival`s future.

After the festival premiere in 1997 it was only superlatives to read the district’s local newspapers, including Telemark newspaper stated that “Brass Festival is here to stay,” and it was supposed to turn out to be right.

We had evidently clear that we hoped for at the festival in 1997, namely by participants on good experiences, for already a year after we had almost doubled participant mass. 19 brass band announced their arrival, and again the whole Norway elite in place. Our competitive terms had obviously caught on, and the local press was again roared: “Musically success Brass Festival” and “Sizzling brass party all weekend” were headlines that we appreciated.

In 1999, the first foreign brass band to visit, and it was Betlehemskyrkans Musikkår from Gothenburg who along with 16 other brass band made ​​up the premiums. Two participating bands less than the previous year had a little doubt in us, but very strong feedback from eg Nicholas Childs who conducted Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag on this occasion, strengthened our belief in what we were doing.

“The concept Grenland Brass Festival is simply genius, – the festival is unique in an international context. A proper marathon “!

The British journal British Bandsman had the following discussion of Grenland Brass Festival: “This festival really adds new dimensions to the term” brass band contesting “. Instead of one contest, you have three! The organizers of Grenland Brass Festival want to let the English audience get a glimpse of the rich musical history of the brass band, and there would They choose “old” test-pieces. ”

For reinsurance, we can add that this traditional / contemporary music for brass band contests are always a topic of discussion. Today’s competitions are often characterized by new modern music and not necessarily anything wrong with that, but why do the musical profile that greatly affects Grenland Brass Festival to be an important contribution to preserving the music written by “the old classics.

After three years of participation of 16-19 brass band, so we were determined that it was here deltagerpotensiealet lay at the festival. So it was very gratifying when we can celebrate our little 5-year anniversary with all 23 bands on the grid, and for the first time we had a Danish Brass Band visit – Nordvestjysk Brass Band. Since then, the band mostly been a fixture with us.

Grenland Brass Festival receives

For 5-year anniversary, the festival was awarded the GS-bank initiative award, and in its citation that read:

“You get this award not only because of you for many years has organized Grenland Brass Festival – a festival that brings together the elite of the country brass musicians at glitzy concerts here in Skien. You get it not just because you are in an outstanding manner set Skien in Norway festival map. But not least because you through great effort has formed a model for other youth corps and truly awakened youth interest in quality music. ”

Fine words, and it is also part of the story is that the time GS – Bank – now Sparebanken1Telemark – has been the main sponsor of the festival from day one, and still is.

The trend continued in 2002, when all 29 brass bands participated, and in the period 2003-05 as we consolidated the position with respectively 23 and twice 24 participants.

Worth noting is that the festival has also been a contributor to world premiere and commissioned. It happened the first time in 2004, where “gold harp” – written by Henrik Odegaard was performed with Telemark Brass Ensemble and Sondre Bratland.

In 2005 we had an exciting collaboration with NMF, where we premiered the work “Knut Buen words and tones.” Besides Knut Buen – as obvious soloist – attended a choir and the Royal Norwegian Navy Band. The concert was fantastic reviews.

In 2006 it was time to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and the anniversary year, for the first time before emført commissioned original written for brass band, and it was the Norwegian composer Sigurd Jansen got the assignment. The piece was titled “Shining Brass” and was performed for the first time during the prize giving ceremony in Ibsenhuset with one of our visiting brass band from the Netherlands – the brass band Waldsang.

This year was also a milepell with regard to further efforts. After ten years of successful events, so we took the plunge and became “international”. After years of Nordic participation, then gave this year’s visit from the Netherlands a new puff ahead as organizer and also the belief that we would eventually succeed in our aim to become an international meeting point for brass band music.


We change logo

At the event in 2007 we changed the logo – the word “International”. At the same time started an intensive international marketing, where we first scope succeed in making qualitative international sponsors in place. With sponsors such as York and Besson we come into heat among the great, and when we also secured a visit by one of the brass band world’s most merited band – YBS Band from England, so the share price was staked out and a new dimension to the festival was in place. Mention should also be that in 2007 there were commissioned, written by the Norwegian composer undisputed for Brass Band – Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen. Administration “Chant” was used as a test piece for 1.divisjon in Skien Church.

That we first got a Danish winner of the top division was also a step in the international direction.



2008 should be a milestone for Grenland International Brass Festival. It gave us the big “kick” was of a political nature. We found worthy to receive a general festival support from the Norwegian Council. It is to our knowledge the first time a band in Norway receive such support, and a better appreciation for the work that we have done it is not possible to get. Norwegian Council’ve been providing contributions to the festival on previous occasions, but not at such a level that on this occasion. Now it’s just up to the management to build on ground that is laid, and it shall be, inter alia, by further developing cooperation with the County and municipalities.

Otherwise, the festival was marked by many wonderful experiences where we first had a British Top Section band on the participant list. Leyland Band marked its presence with strong performances, both as concert contributor and competitor. That we eventually anyway got a Swedish elite division winner, says a bit about the quality and especially about internationalization. Mention should also be this year’s festival composer Svein Henrik Giske – one of the new Norwegian composers that characterize the environment – wrote the work “Three Gentle Giants” to the 2nd Division, and “Augmented Dance” to the 3rd Division. Both exciting pieces that will surely be repertoirmusikk in the future.

Why do we succeed?

This question keeps popping up, and we think the answer is simple. The philosophy behind the festival is simple – quality at all levels – not least the musical. The festival’s mainstay is competition for brass bands in four divisions, with intensive competition elements that are participating bands to have to provide the maximum. Brass bands never fail, and participants at all the festivals served wonderful musical experiences to the audience. These musical accomplishments have also inspired us working with the festival to do our best to develop the festival year after year.

Quality is also a key word in the selection of program for parties concerts and “Into the Night” – events. Here we have used talented artists and bands from home and abroad, and we are confident that both participants and other spectators have many fond memories of these concerts.

All festivals need support from government and from the private sector. We thank you for the support you have given us and hope you also in the future will be one of our supporters – many thanks for your help!

Will also take this opportunity to thank you for the invaluable work effort that all volunteer assistants perform large and small tasks before, during and after the festival period. Without you had not been a brass festival.

We look forward to a future with – feel full scale!

Finally, it remains only a wish that all warm welcome to all future international brass festivals in Grenland.