Music from Norway | By John Kelman
"Why and how has the Norwegian scene managed to build such a reputation, not just on its own turf but around the world? There are a number of answers to that question, but first and foremost is a commitment to the arts that began more than 40 years ago and which has, unlike so many other countries, remained a priority ever since. When Sverre Lunde, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke at the 2013 Punkt Festival in Kristiansand – announcing that, after nine years, the Ministry would be providing some well-deserved (and much needed) financial support to the festival, and that Punkt was now considered amongst the country’s elite events – what was, perhaps, an even more compelling statement was that the country’s goal has been to devote a full one percent of its budget to culture. That means that last year, in 2012, ten billion Norwegian Kroners – nearly 1.7 billion US dollars – was devoted to the arts. As a Canadian in a bilingual country, there’s a French word to describe this: incroyable!"