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The Standing Committee on Cultural Affairs in Svalbard :: References of 18.12.97

It is hereby confirmed that Åge Utnes has been employed as manager of materials for The standing committee on cultural affairs in Svalbard from 10.06.96 to 30.11.97. It is a part-time position with approximately 20 hours a month, in addition to an average of 40 extra hours each month during his employment.

His tasks have been to keep in repair and supply sound equipment, keeping order in stockrooms, and rigging and doing sound engineering at cultural events. Utnes has gone through and supplied our sound system completely. The equipment is now in a reliable condition. Utnes was also technical chief during the Sun Week 97, an annual festival including several events every day. Åge Utnes has met requirements from professional artists on a national and an international level, as well as from local artists.

The position as manager of materials is terminated following a structural reform, and responsibilty for the sound equipment is transferred to another section. In this phase Utnes has held a work shop in sound theory, rigging and engineering for users of the equipment. Utnes has worked systematically, thoroughly and independently.

For these reasons we give him our best recommendations.

T. K., secretary


It was nice to do sound engineering again, after a few years away from it. And I was pleased to discover that knowledge and routines about rigging, sound engineering and maintenance still were in place. For one and a half years I did quite a lot of soundrelated-work up there—anything from karaokish shows, mini-gospel at the church, drunken brawls, most of the Sun Week 97, readings at the library, a friendship handball match between Norway and Russia, and doing sound on Eastern European equipment in Barentsburg. Naturally there are not many musicans in Longyearbyen, but they may have been more active than in comparable places on the main land. (Special thanks to the band "Sprekk i belgen" and the people in charge of cultural events in Barentsburg!)

Another aspect of this job inspired me to study Cultural Administration at the Telemark University College. Here is a couple of examples to illustrate the difference between planning and carrying through events.

a) The Sun Week is an annual festival celebrating the Sun's return to the Longyear Valley after four months absence. The week includes many events for all groups and ages, and most of the public places are in use. Ten days prior to the week I was asked to comment upon the plans. Famous artists were to be flown in and the organising committee could not meet or understand the technical requirements of managements and artists. I soon realised that the committee had drawn up a programme which was not possible with excisting, local resources. I made the committee aware of the magnitude of the task they had undertaken and what was needed to complete the job. I was immediately made responsible for carrying out the technical arrangements and was mandated to fill in the missing parts of the puzzle. Two hundred hectic work hours later we could celebrate a successful Sun Week 97.

b) The 17. May, our national holiday, is celebrated in much the same way as on the main land, though the climate may contribute a bit too much to outdoor processions and speeches. In 1997 the committee had planned speaches at the monument at Skjæringa, prior to a whole night's entertainment with the neighbouring russians at the hall at the House. The comittee had a hard time understanding that one needs at least 25 hours of work to prepare two events lasting only three hours at different places; time to set up equipment, run tests and do the sound engineering for artists with varied previous stage experience, and to rig down afterwards.

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Quite soon I realized that repairs and main­tenance had not been done according to (or met any known) standards for some time. Few units were in working order and the equip­ment had endured many temporary and higly creative repairs. I had to work my way through the PA-system from the bottom up, learning, repairing and replacing weak links in the sound-chain.


From then on I've thought that experienced planning might be an advantage.

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