Every year youth from all across the country gather to show various artistic expression at UKM, the Norwegian Youth Festivals of Art. This is a huge festival made to stimulate young people’s creativity and make their cultural activity visible. UKM arrange festivals all over Norway where young artists between the ages of 13 and 20 can perform and express their artistic vision in front of an audience and each other. During the festivals, participants also attend workshops, where they can explore their interests and be inspired by the works of other artists. UKM is open to all artistic genres and methods of cultural expression like music, dance, theatre, circus, video, visual and digital art, photography, stage-technicians and journalists. UKM have 400 local and 19 regional festivals every year spread throughout the country. Through a selection at the local and regional festivals, around 24.000 participants become around 500, selected by a jury to represent the diversity and quality of each region. They gather in the national festival in the city of Trondheim for four days in June, giving a lot of performances and putting their mark on the city’s cultural and social arenas.
For me this event opened so many doors to explore myself as a young artist. In 1996 i found my self on a huge stage for the very first time. It was dark, the stage was filled with white smoke and I was alone with my hardanger fiddle in front of the audience. From that time a whole lot of things became very clear for me, and all the support that I felt really gave me something very important to make further dreams grow. I attended UKM three times and was lucky to be chosen by the jury to go to the national festival in Trondheim all three times.
Tonight I was in the jury for the second time and I´m extremely impressed by how the young express their creativity and their courage to communicate their art to the public. One of the great things about UKM is that it´s not a regular talent show but an arena to develope and to express art. As a jury member I´m happy to send some really wonderful youth further to the next UKM festival, but I´m also happy to know how many creative young people we have in our region who will participate to build our culture stronger and wider.