Varnes Lighthouse


early this summer, I played one of the most spectacular «venues» I have ever been at. It wasn’t an opera house, not a festival, not an iconic club. It was at an old, remote lighthouse close to my home called Varnes Fyr (Varnes Lighthouse). This post premieres three beautiful, new live videos produced by filmfolket.

Only accessable by a 1 km walking path, this was for sure something else for the audience as well. The occasion was the opening of the new bike path «Vita Velo», which takes you across the Lista peninsula with a beautiful scenery. This Sunday there were events all over Lista, and I had the honour of wrapping up everything with a show at the end of the path. 

Since the weather around here can be quite unstable, and hard winds from the North Sea pretty much can occur at any time, the last couple of weeks before the show were kind of exciting, as we all checked the weather forecast regularly. Musical instruments and audio gear are not best friends with rain and moist, especially when there’s no stage or roof. But hopefully, the one day gap from rain and hard winds that the forecast predicted, happened!

My favourite cello player Katrine Schiøtt traveled all the way from a festival gig at Senja in Northern Norway to join me. We started the day off with an early rehearsal in my studio, before packing everything and heading towards the dock where we met the sound crew. Pål and Inge from Skjærgårdstjenesten (The Archipelago Service) were our transport, stage hands and local guides for the day, picking us up in their sturdy boat. With gear and supplies onboard, we headed for Varnes in bright sunlight, and fortunately the ocean and the wind was kind and let us dock close to the lighthouse. Then 300 kg of gear had to be carried up the mountainside on a rather discussable path of stairs and concrete. We struggled for a while, especially with my Fender Rhodes, but after about an hour everything was on shore and ready. 

We loaded in the gear with the weather on our side, but as we were set up for sound check, some quite foggy and cloudy weather came in from the sea together with a cold wind. We were now past the point where we could go for plan B (to move the concert to an indoor location far away), so we just had to hang in there and hope for the weather to turn. The next few hours the sun was on an off. Together with fog the air turned extremely humid, which doesn’t go particularly well with wooden instruments like a cello. The hairs on Katrine’s cello bow stretched from the moist, and couldn’t be tightened, so we had to abort the soundcheck for a while and seek dryer air in our backstage, a small shed nearby. Fortunately the bow dried up enough as we got closer to the show start. 

30 minutes before the show, the sky cleared up and the wind eased, and we played along with the sea, the weather and the landscape. A lot of my songs are inspired by the nature and ocean around Lista and this particular area, and it felt very natural to play them here, surrounded by the elements.

This was the setlist:

Lars Jakob RudjordComment