The midnight rock festival history
The Midnight rock – a true Phoenix. After more than 25 years of working against the odds, numerous enthusiasts are now able to see the fruits of their labor. The Midnight rock is fully alive, and has grown to be among the biggest festival in the northern parts of the country.
The history behind the music festival goes all the way back to the “community house culture” in the eighties. The event began as a small music festival at the local community house in Lakselv.
As the popularity and interest about the event grew, then manager Øyvind Finne, chose to in 1984, move the whole event out of the community house and onto the beautiful site of the nature reserve at Brennelvneset approximately 3 km/1,8 miles outside of Lakselv town center.
Øyvind Finne (to the right in the photo) was the initiator behind the festival. Here photographed during one of the events in the eighties.
Since then, the Midnight Rock festival has remained an open air festival, in what we choose to call “the world’s most exotic festival surroundings”, at the inner bay of the Porsanger fjord – with the midnight sun as the main lighting effect.
The event became a well known event during the eighties, and big artists both national and international, performed at the festival. The festival gained a great reputation among both artists and the audience.
Among other highlights, an official visit from the then Soviet Union’s Norwegian ambassador to mark the participation of Russian artists is worth mentioning.
However – the Midnight Rock festival saw it’s catastrophic year In 1988, after a massive popup of similar festivals around Finnmark that resulted in all of them going down economically.
And so Brennelvneset laid quiet for a long time, until someone brave enough in 2001 was brave enough to pick up where it was left off. The event was brought back to life, although the choice of concept and bands/artists did not really attract enough visitors to make the wheels go around.
However, The Midnight Rock Festival returned as soon as 2003, now with a festival camp and a more thought through concept. The result was an increasing interest from the audience, and the festival both survived and continued to grow on a yearly basis. By 2008, the enthusiast behind the event, took the whole thing up a notch, and booked among others the band Europe from Sweden. The number of visitors told them that their bookings were appreciated, and they kept going with this trend and for 2009 they had bands like Deep Purple from the UK and Twisted Sister from the US. The final number of visitors after the 2009 event marked a milestone, with the festival reaching a record of over 10 000 visitors.
In 2010, the stakes were even higher, with bookings like the Swedish band Kent, and N.E.R.D from the US. The bookings turned out to be highly successful, noting a new record of 13 069 visitors. However, when the final accounting was ready it showed lower beer sales and a very different distribution of daypasses and weekendpasses than previous years, which resulted in a loss over a million NOK, and the enthusiasts behing the festival had to file for bankruptcy for the company Midnattsrocken AS.
Following the bankruptcy of 2010, brave enthusiastic business owners got together to save the festival because they saw it’s value for both Lakselv, Porsanger and Finnmark. After intense negotiations and hard planning, a company named Finnmark Festivalarrangør AS was established, having a share capital close to 800 000 NOK and a total of 42 business owners as shareholders. This company is now responsible for the full running of the whole festival, of course together with the volunteers and a number of the enthusiasts contributing to and carrying the events through the previous years.
The Midnight Rock Festival has now again become one of the biggest festivals in Northern Norway.