Witnessing a festival open its doors for the first time is a wonderful thing, and something I had not experienced until recently.
Expectations are based purely on the bands, the location, and the way the message or underlying concept of the festival is communicated to potential visitors. This gives you the feeling that everyone present is personally invested in the event almost as much as those who came up with the idea in the first place. To make this claim, however, would detract from what the team behind VIVID. have put together.
Over the course of two days, in the idyllic Norwegian coastal town of Kristiansand, people came to witness the intersection between visual art and music. The festival took place in a theater, with a small exhibition displaying artists´ interpretations of each band´s music and each performance taking place in front of a huge projector screen playing selected video clips.
The idea lends itself extremely well to a genre as ethereal as post-rock. Just as intended by the festival´s organizers, each band took a different approach to the visual accompaniment for their music. Oh Hiroshima performed before a starlit backdrop, ending their performance with a cadence mirroring the supernova taking place behind them. Opening up the second day, German post-metal outfit Watered let a grainy clip of a woodland creek accentuate the foreboding and bleak nature of their sound.
While all the bands involved delivered convincing and enjoyable performances, none could match the tremendous Tides From Nebula, who brought the entire house down with one of the splendid (and enormously loud) live performances they have become famous for.
Apart from the music, though, there was a level of closeness between the bands and the visitors that few other festivals are likely to achieve. It felt like being on a little post-rock island where everyone simply got to know each other as a matter of course. In a world full of overcommercialized and thoughtless drivel posing as music (and festivals that are just as bad), we need more stuff like this. VIVID. represents the post-rock ethos more than any other festival I´ve been to — humble and tentative, yet thoroughly rewarding to anyone willing to make the commitment. After all, the festival´s recipe for success was a far cry from the trimmings more expensive festivals advertise themselves with: Sit back, enjoy a beer (enjoy it a lot, it´s expensive in Norway), and give yourself up to the music.
Definitely worth a visit.