8 reasons why Riddu Riđđu is Norway's most important festival

Russia, love and networking. Here are eight reasons why Arne Berg of "Jungeltelegrafen" thinks Riddu Riđđu is the most importan festival in Norway.

Åpningsseremoni Riddu Riddu 2015
Foto: Elise Holdal / NRK

  • Watch everything happening at the Riddu Riđđu festival here: www.nrk.no/riddu

1.Mari Boine

Mari Boine
Foto: Johan Ante Utsi / NRK

When I told Mari Boine that I would be going to Riddu Riđđu in 2006, she replied: "That was about time!"

The next year I told her that NRK were going there with a TV team to make a documentary, she replied: "That was about time!"

This tells me that the reason why the Norwegian artist that is best known globally has played the Riddu Riđđu festival time after time, is that this is the festival that is most important to her.

2.Being serious about Sami identity.

Foto: Torill Ustad Stav / NRK

These two institutions, Mari Boine and Riddu Riđđu, are among the main reasons why you cannot any more make fun of Samis and Sami culture like you could from standup/cabaret stages and in the radio a few years ago.

3.The province leads the development.

Åpning riddu riddu 2012-2
Foto: Torill Ustad Stav / NRK

It is easy to think that what happens in the Capital is most important, and this may well be the reason that Riddu Riđđu remains a well kept secret to many even after 25 years.

That does not, however, make this a truth! Innovation is created by enthusiasts, not by institutions. Small festivals like Riddu Riđđu and the Træna Festival dare to be more adventurous than the big festivals.

Riddu invites artists from Greenland and Northern Russia, while the Træne Festival manages, every year, to sell out a festival that is situated a two and a half hour boat trip out into the open sea.

4.The music.

Riddu 2012 Niko Valkeapàà
Foto: Ørjan Bertelsen / Riddu Riddu

Numerous artists have been building competence and self-reliance on the Riddu stage. Artists like Adjagas, SlinCraze, Georg Buljo and Niko Valkepää got their chance to try out their artistic abilities in front of a big audience here. Now, talent is erupting in Sami music, and that is hardly a coincidence.

5.The Russians are coming.

Årets Nordlige folk på Riddu: Nenetserne
Foto: Rune Nordgård Andreassen

Music from Russia, and especially from indigenous peoples in eastern provinces like Tuva and Buryatia, has always been at the core of the Riddu identity. This cultural interchange between peoples and nations is something Riddu Riđđu has been the only exponent for among Norwegian festivals.

6.The youth camp.

Foto: Nils Mehren / NRK

It is now 16 years since the first meetings of youth form Northern territories at Riddu Riđđu. The so called Youth Gathering is a meeting place for youth from Siberia, Greenland, Canada, Japan – in fact from all over Northern hemisphere.
Many of these are staying in touch afterwards, and many lifelong friendships and relationships have been created in the shade of the hay piles at Riddu Riđđu. There has even been rumors of lasting connections of an amorous caracters. Festivals tend to encourage these.


Elle Sofe Henriksen sammen med urfolk
Foto: Lena Stenberg / Riddu Riđđu pressebilde

When young people return to their local communities enriched by the international companionship they have experienced at Riddu Riđđu, they will have a unique network to support them for the rest of their lives.
This will manifesting itself through musical touring possibilities, holiday destinations, wedding invitations -, but also as a political force in a yet undecided future for the Northern territories. Riddu Riđđu will be a leading star and a source of inspiration for those who will be creating this future.


Riddu Riđđu i Moskva
Foto: Arild Sandsvik / NRK

Relations between Norway and Russia are chilling. In this situation, the cultural exchange across borders created by Riddu Riđđu is more important than ever.
This year, NRK is going live from the Riddu Riđđu Festival via live streaming. Follow the events throughout the week-end at nrk.no/riddu.


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