“For years now, the press have been claiming that the Tønder Festival attracts an audience of oldsters. It’s just not true. Tønder has an ideal audience, and it is a very mixed audience. I don’t know of a more balanced festival audience, as regards gender, age, social class, or whatever, than Tønder’s. These people care for the fundamental music, the music that all other music draws on. That is Tønder’s music. It has its highs and lows, but it will always be with us. Any rock musician worth his salt knows his roots. Where would Dylan and Springsteen be, if they didn’t drink regularly at the source?”

(Niels Hausgaard, songwriter, entertainer, interview 2013)

“Both festival veterans and the many new festival-goers welcomed the changes in 2012, the new names, the new style Festival site. Change must come, and we are seeing a renewed surge of interest in the folk and roots music that Tønder Festival has always presented. We take the pulse of the times and present brand new as well as more established artists. But we offer something that no-one else can: our very own festival style, an atmosphere that pulses with music in every corner, where people can rub shoulders with the roots of the music and with its top musicians.

(Carsten Panduro, former Tønder Festival artistic director, 2013)

“I have always felt this was a festival with a rare warmth, where everything is looser and more relaxed than other places. It’s something you can’t work out beforehand. It’s interesting – and the best, living proof that this festival is thriving and has a well-defined direction. This is not just about keeping something old alive. I can also feel it when I meet the new generation of international songwriters who appear here: Tønder is a festival that has a wide embrace for its musicians and its audience and therefore has become a modern festival.”

(Poul Krebs, songwriter, singer and guitarist, 2014)

(Photo opposite: Anni Hesselholt)

“It’s 20 years since I first played Tønder Festival. The first years, I played at Hagge’s on a Saturday forenoon with my dad’s band. Tønder Festival is one of the highlights of the year for me, because Tønder Festival treats its musicians so well, and because there are always surprises. One special bonus is meeting other musicians backstage. One of the great things about Tønder is that the musicians hang out. It’s a special Tønder thing. You don’t go back to the hotel, you hang out until the break of dawn because you don’t want to miss anything. All these magical meetings with musicians from all over the world happen after hours. I have had wild musical experiences, suddenly finding myself playing with some of my life’s musical heroes. Tønder Festival is an important part of Denmark’s cultural history – and they have made some successful changes these past few years.”

(Nikolaj Busk, musician, Dreamers’ Circus, 2014)

“Tønder Festival 2013 was one long hit for me. It was my second time, and my only regret is that I didn’t discover Tønder Festival earlier. The great thing about Tønder is that it’s all about the music. There’s not a thousand theme bars, the focus is on the music. You can get shots if you want them, naturally! The standard is impressively high. I often thought, “Why have I not heard of this band before? They are really good! I heard a bunch of irritating Irish 20 year-olds playing their hearts out – they were brilliant. I had somehow got the idea that Tønder Festival was for mums and dads who went along for a pint and some Irish folk music. So I got the shock of my life – a total eye-opener – when I finally got there. If they take care not to book the same bands as all the other festivals, Tønder Festival will stay a folk festival and retain its special identity.”

(Huxi Bach, entertainer, songwriter, 2014)

“Acoustic music is having a renaissance. After a period when electronic music dominated the mainstream, some musicians are heading in the other direction. There are also new names who, inspired by the electronic music mindset, are translating it in an acoustic universe.”

(Alex Nyborg Madsen, host of Madsen P4, DR Radio Denmark, interview 2012)

Photo opposite: Alex Nyborg Madsen and Søren Rebbe, Tønder 2014 (Photographer: Jens Th)

“Tønder Festival is special in that the musicians are one big family. We play together on and off stage, mixing it, learning new tunes and new techniques.”

(Duncan Chisholm, Wolfstone (Scotland), to Jyllands-Posten August 2004)

“In Canada, Tønder Festival is known as the festival to play in Europe. There is prestige in playing at Tønder, for they have a reputation for consistently finding and booking the best artists.”

(Bob Jensen, owner of Canadian booking bureau JMI, to Folk & Music Magazine, 2005)

“Tønder Festival taught me maturity both as a musician and personally. Playing in front of a critical audience, many concert organisers and with professional sound technicians meant a lot for my career. The same is true for young musicians today: playing at Tønder Festival is an education for them.”

(Harald Haugaard, violinist, to Jyllands-Posten, August 2004)

“This has been one of the best musical experiences of my life. We have played for full marquees before, and it is always a great buzz to have a big crowd approve your music. But the special Tønder buzz is the total attentiveness. Everyone is seated, facing the stage, and there is no chatter.”

(Kaspar Kaae, singer, guitarist and songwriter)

(From  the band Cody, who appeared at Tønder Festival 2012. From an interview in Danish musicians’ union magazine MUSIKEREN 2012)



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