Norwegian music industry’s export facilitator and promotional organisation.

Industry Talk: Runa Strindin

By Johanna Alem Posted: 15. Feb, 2018

Runa Lunde Strindin. Photo by: Guro Torget

Runa Lunde Strindin is the founder, owner and artistic director of the Midgardsblot Festival, and has been working as a promoter and festival producer for 10 years.

Midgardsblot is an open air festival near Horten, Vestfold at the historic grounds of the Borre Park. The park has several massive Viking grave mounds and the great hall at Borre, Gildehallen, is a unique reconstruction of a grand Viking hall. Midgardsblot is an innovative festival expanding the traditional concept of music festivals, by offering the audience enriched cultural experiences, lectures, panel discussions and exhibitions in addition to world leading artists within metal, folk music, viking music, dark ambient and other related genres.

What has been your focus lately?
Midgardsblot is now in it’s fourth year and we are still in a developing phase. My focus is to create a unique festival offering our guests experiences that makes them want to come back every year. My ultimate goal is to earn their trust and sell out before we announce the complete program. So I’m still working a lot on finding the perfect mix of musical genres, seminars and cultural experiences to establish a solid profile in our line-up and program so people know what to expect.

The most important piece of advice you have ever received?
I’m so lucky that I had parents who raised me to not care so much about what others might think of you and they themselves lived by that rule. That made me self-confident so I could be open to others and not feel threathened by others success. We’re all different, we can all learn from each other and we should celebrate that.

Your best industry-tip?
Dare to be open and share your ideas, invite people to participate and contribute. If you keep all your ideas to yourself it will stop developing and die eventually. Many can have the same genious idea but it’s the one that can implement it in the best possible way that will own it in the end. For that, you’ll need to collaborate with the best people and to attract them you’ll need to share and invite them in.

What’s your golden moment to share with the rest of us?
I produced the Eidsivablot concerts in Eidsvoll, at our constitutional building for the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution back in 2014. I commissioned Enslaved and Wardruna to write the piece «Skuggsjá» to premiere there.

During the period I worked on the Eidsivablot project, I became a mother and I was very indecisive of whether I should continue working as a festival producer or not, thinking it’s too risky financially, and too hard to combine with family life. At the premiere of «Skuggsjá», I took a time-out and stood all alone on the top of the hill by the constitutional building gazing down at the stage and the crowd. The intro of the piece was building up and when those first riffs and vocals came on, the crowd exploded down there and something just clicked in me. Any doubt I ever had was just blown away – I knew that this is what I’m supposed to do! So I developed Eidsivablot into Midgardsblot in 2015 which was a huge success, and I understood that we had created something very unique that people from all over the world had been missing.

Why Norway, why now?
Festivalgoers seek genuine experiences and authenticity beyond the musical program these days where the same bands play all over the world. Most music festivals in Norway are still run by the innovators who started it, and though many of them has developed into smaller corporations they still have succeeded to keep the heart and soul of the festival in it. For Midgardsblot we have combined Norway’s two largest cultural exports ever; extreme metal and Vikings, nearly 70% of our tickets are sold abroad. Our guests wants a genuine cultural experience and not the Disney version of the Viking age. Norwegian music, arts and cultural history combined with beautiful nature makes Norway one of the hottest things out there right now!

Who in the Norwegian music industry deserves a high five?
A huge high five to all of us who started from scratch in this crazy industry; artists, labels, managers, agents and promoters, risking it all, never giving up despite rough times and following our dreams so we can create those magical musical experiences that enriches so many people’s lives.


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