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A maritime adventure in the heart of Bergen

TEXT: SYNNE JOHNSSON | PHOTOS: VALERY VASILEVSKIY

Beneath idyllic mountains, on the Hanseatic harbour in Bergen, Norway, The Tall Ships Races invites you to take part in Europe’s biggest free event, where people can experience 70 of the world’s most beautiful sailing ships, local food and live music.

The ships that will dock by the UNESCO-listed Hanseatic harbour in July, will be from all over the world – from five different continents. 2019 will be the fifth year The Tall Ships Races comes to Bergen, and project manager Morten Dahl Sebjørnsen is convinced that this will be the best one yet.

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There will be ships from all over the world in the dock in Bergen

“Bergen has arranged this four times already, so we know what works and what doesn’t. It is a great city and the locals are welcoming and lively. I am convinced that this will be the best Tall Ships Races Bergen has ever seen,” he says.

The Tall Ships Races is a sailing regatta and has been arranged every year since 1956 at different locations around Europe. The purpose of the event is to promote sail training for young people across genders, religions and ethnicities. On board the ships that will be in dock, there will be 2,500 crew members between the ages of 15 and 26.

An event for the entire family

The festival will take place in Bergen on 21-24 July, and those days will be full of life and different events for people of all ages. Every day, the ships will have time slots where people can go on board to have a look, completely free of charge. There will also be a market with local food and handicrafts for people to buy.

“The main area will be between the dock and the Hanseatic harbour, which is such an idyllic and historic location,” says Sebjørnsen. “When the ships come in on 21 July, there will be an opening ceremony on the main stage at the old wharf, ‘Bryggen’. This stage will be filled with live music and entertainment throughout the entire event. By the quayside, there will also be market stalls with close to 100 vendors.”

The market and main area will be heavily influenced by tradition and the maritime history of Bergen. Different maritime organisations and companies, like the Maritime Museum in Bergen, will take part to inform about Bergen’s long history as a maritime city.

Only a five-minute walk from the ships and the harbour, there will be a festival area at Bergen’s main concert venue, Koengen. During the day, this area will be specially organised for children. Tall Ships Yngel, a part of the festival area, will focus on letting children experience the fun and excitement when the ships come into the harbour. A maritime village, pirate show, fun fair, inflatables and concerts with Melodi Grand Prix Junior artists are only some of the activities on offer.

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An affordable festival experience

In the evening, Koengen will go from family field to festival, on every day of The Tall Ships Races. From 5pm to 7pm, up-and-coming, young bands will take to the stage and play, completely free, for the audience. “With the festival, we really want to reach out to the young people of Bergen. We want to involve people of all ages, and we wish for everyone to take part in this event,” says Sebjørnsen. “We have some great artists that I think will really lift The Tall Ships Races in Bergen. Now we just have to hope for the sun to come out!”

From 8pm onwards, more established names will take the baton. Artists like Kjartan Lauritzen, Boy Pablo, LeMaitre, Kakkmaddafakka, Myra, Halie, Jez_ebel and more will take part, and promise the best possible experience for the people of Bergen and all other visitors.

There will be a ‘tivoli’ and a barbecue to guarantee the perfect festival feeling. Prices are held at a reasonable level, making it an excellent activity for high-school pupils, students and everyone else who likes a lively atmosphere at an affordable price.

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However, the event is not only for spectators. Most of the crew members on board the ships are teenagers and young adults, and the event planners have made sure that they will have a great time also. With sports tournaments and a crew parade, as well as an allocated space for them at the festival area, they get to celebrate and enjoy their time in Bergen to the fullest.

“Bergen is a very welcoming place, which is one of the things that makes it so special to organise this event here. We want to show the crew members this, by letting them take part in the event alongside the locals,” Sebjørnsen explains. “It is a unique location, with the event taking place between the Hanseatic harbour and the 70 traditional ships by the dock. I am really looking forward to it and, as I said: this will be the best The Tall Ships Races in Bergen ever!”

Web: tallshipsbergen.no

Facebook: The Tall Ships Races Bergen 2019

Instagram: @tsrb2019

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The crew parade in Bergen 2014. Photo: Eivind Senneset

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