Notodden Blues Festival celebrates 25th anniversary

Both B.B King and Johnny "Guitar" Watson are on the organizers' top ten list when he looks back at 25 years of blues at the Notodden Blues Festival. This year's performers ZZ Top and Paul Rodgers may become all-time favorites too.

Still, he admits that the list may change after this year's festival, which kicks off Friday. He says to NRK that ZZ Top is one example that sometimes it takes years to get the biggest artists.

"We have a large group of volunteers, and if you ask me those are the ones that should be on the top-ten list," says festival chief Tom Gustavsen. He explains that in addition to help from the locals, volunteers travel to Notodden from several other places in Norway as well as abroad. In total, they put in approximately 30,000 hours of volunteer work.

"This is what makes the festival. It simply wouldn't work without them," says Gustavsen.

The festival reports that they have sold enough tickets this year to be close to an audience record. Last year 18,000 people bought tickets, and it is estimated that 31 400 attended all of the festival's official events.

"I sleep well at night. The weather gods predict good weather. This will be the party of a lifetime. `This is the year,¥ as we have written on the posters," Gustavsen concludes.

The Notodden Blues Festival is on from August 2-5.


Julie Ryland


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