Youth-Music-Meeting Places

2000 - 2000

Mari Hildung

The project “Youth-Music-Meeting Places” is about important meeting places, stages and scenes for popular music in Tromsø from the end of the 1950s and up to 2000. The project includes collection, documentation, research and communication through exhibitions, multimedia and publications. The project has as a goal to communicate cultural-historical knowledge about the growth of an exciting and complex young music environment in Tromsø, and to focus on the importance of meeting places for exercising the youth culture.
The project is divided into two parts: About music environments in Tromsø as part of a youth culture in growth.

Project Manager: Marianne A. Olsen.Contemporary documentation, year 2000-2001, of two new music scenes and youth centres in Tromsø: “Tvibit” and “Driv.” Project Manager: Kari Myklebost. Photographer: Mari Hildung.

Why focus on youth culture?

In literature and the mass media, youth as a group are often depicted negatively and are associated with drugs, crime, bullying, eating disorders, etc. Of course, there are problems in some youth environments, and in some cases, the youths’ search for identity is expressed in a negative way. In the project “Youth-Music-Meeting Places”, however, the focus is directed towards youth and youth environments where innovation and cultural expression are produced and communicated as part of a cultural modernisation process.
Youth are in no way a homogenous group, but just as complex as the rest of society in general. It is thus impossible to find a field that encompasses the scope in the expression and meeting places of youth. We chose to focus on the non-organised music performances at the establishments in the city where they had a scene to offer.
Museums generally have little attraction for youth, partly because of themes that are not of current interest, and partly because the method of presentation does not excite them. Despite the fact that the majority of people in North Norway live in cities and have a modern lifestyle, the traditional pre-industrial form of life still dominates the museum presentation. Through the project “Youth-Music-Meeting Places”, we want to contribute so that the young people who live in urban communities also find the museum of current interest.

Tromsø -the youth town

There are several reasons why we believe it is important to focus on the youth precisely in Tromsø. During the entire post-war period, the city has been a particularly young city, with a fourth of the population between the ages of 16 and 29 years (as compared with a fifth in the rest of the country). In addition, a large number of students do not have a permanent residence address here in the city. Tromsø is also a city where the youth have made their mark during the entire post-war period, including through a large and varied music environment. At the turn of the millennium, the condition of the youth in Tromsø became an important political theme, simultaneously as the city both nationally and internationally is making its mark through producing a number of young talented musicians.

Contemporary Documentation 2000

In year 2000, Tromsø found itself in a special situation with two newly established scenes for the exercise of young culture – the new youth house, “Tvibit”, and the student centre “Driv”. Through interviews, photo documentation and audio recordings, we have followed these two houses through their first year of operation and have seen how the houses are run, who makes decisions, what types of activities and forms of expression are developed, and which groups are using these new meeting places. The documentation has been prepared in close collaboration with the users of the houses – those who perform their music there, those who are in charge of the behind-the-scene operations, and regular visitors.

Perspektivet Museum has through this project built up a virtually complete collection with music publications from young Tromsø musicians along with a number of unique demo cassettes and concert recordings. In addition, the museum has objects and a large photo collection with motifs from different youth environments and events from post-war Tromsø and up until today, showing meeting places, musicians, concerts, expressions of style and clothing styles. With this material as a background, the exhibition Tromsø Rocks! was opened in 2004.

The project “Youth-Music-Meeting Places” was a part of the national documentation project “Document 2000”, where 18 museums in Norway documented different aspects of the Norwegian society at the transition into a new millennium. The result of this documentation is evaluated and is available in The Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs’ Memorandum Series No. 56 – 2003, Odd Are Berkaak: Samtid: en lang historie.

En evalusering av museenes tusenårsprosjekt Dokument 2000. (The Present: A long history. An evaluation of the museum’s millennium project Document 2000).

The exhibition Tromsø Rocks!

In Tromsø, the local rock star Little Henrik entered the stage with cover songs by Elvis and provocative hip movements in 1958. Then the music got harder, the hair longer and the shoes more pointed. The Tromsø-band Pussycats entered the scene in the 1960s before hysterical fans and played themselves to the top of the national hit lists. The new music had seriously established itself in Tromsø.

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