The Barents Spektakel

The Barents Spektakel is Norway’s most border-crossing festival!

The festival is a cultural-political cocktail with contemporary art and music, theatre and performance, literature and architecture and seminars and debates as its ingredients – all spiced with current issues related to the Barents Region and the High North in general. The festival first started in 2004 and in February 2018 will transform Kirkenes into a Barents Metropolis for the 14th time.

Trade Low – Score High

The theme for Barents Spektakel 2018 focuses on the tension between football and politics.

Russia is the host nation for the FIFA World Cup in 2018 – a decision that has raised a lot of international attention. During Barents Spectacle 2018, we focus on the world of football, a world filled with social and political dimensions.

Football is definitely a spectacle! It is a game driven by its own creative nature along with the ideal of ‘fair play’. It is a game that is democratic in spirit and an equalizer through competition – when running on the pitch, everyone is equal! Recently however, the logic and governance of football has been challenged as it is more and more inscribed into its own current political economy.

Football mundials are often called “bread and circuses” and can be seen as a useful method of distracting the masses from current problems and injustices. The 2013 protests in Brazil against political and economic injustice along with the latest FIFA scandals that imply vote buying by Russia and Qatar for the tournaments of 2018 and 2022 have turned the media discourse to corrupt business practices in elite football. The equalizing participation and a sheer collective excitement for billions of viewers and spectators is capitalised into billions of dollars in profit for elite football stakeholders such as FIFA and UEFA Champion’s League to name a few.

Many ask questions about what football will be in the 21st century and call for a revision of costs and benefits of hosting world cups – along with revolutionary and systemic transformations of the big money game.

During the 2018 Barents Spektakel we will dance, sing, play and talk football. The sport will become the method of engaging and activating the festival audience to address important regional issues.