Threshold Festival's Scouse Scandinavian Connection

With Threshold announcing further line up details this week, we revisit Jimmy Coultas' exploration of the connections between it and Norway and Scandinavia as whole, drawing a connection to the Nordic influence across Liverpool.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 14th Jan 2015

Image: Michael Kirkham Photography

When you enter a town, village or city, you occasionally get greeted by a sign that indicates a connection to a counterpart elsewhere in the world, something known as twinning. The tenuous connections scramble around for a variety of reasons, from shared economical benefit to just a nice way of advertising themselves to a far flung destination, but rarely are they organic juxtapositions.

One geographical marriage that is thoroughly natural though is Liverpool and the country of Norway. Although it might not be immediately obvious, the heritage between the Norse dwellers and their Liverpudlian counterparts run deep, as does a general affiliation with Scandinavia as a whole with the most historically resonant port in England. 

The word Scouse is originally from Norway (the stew being introduced by sailors form the region in the eighteenth century), and a more modern and slightly mischievous link would point to the proliferation of football fans flooding into Liverpool from the country for the red shirt wearing club's home games. One area where this link is cemented greatly though, with clear vindication, would be the Threshold Festival.

The event is at its very backbone a marriage of Liverpool and Norway – literally. Chris and Kaya Herstad Carney (main picture) represent those respective locations and tied the knot a few years back, the couple making up two thirds of the team behind the festival.

The Scandinavian connection swells when the revelation comes that it was first commissioned by the Icleander Ingi Thor of Iceland, and over the years has featured Nordic artists such as Kalandra, Esoteric, Gender and People of K.

The city's glorious Nordic Church has been utilised as a venue for the festival on several occasion, as well as the screening of several documentaries including the Serious Feathers documentary Iceland Beyond Sigur Ros (watch above). Even the word Threshold, beginning with th, is Nordic in origin. Probably a little too much information both deliberate and coincidental to fit on a road sign.

What these connections simply highlight though is the core values which form the heartbeat of the Threshold Festival; that of a convergence of cultures. As much as it's a celebration of the grassroots scene and heritage in Liverpool, its a highlighting how crucial the interpolation of differing regional, national and international influences.

Liverpool's long standing influx of students and migrant workers, over the course of centuries, has helped shape the city's identity, everything from the presence of one of the biggest chines communities in the UK to the distinctly different regional dialect from its neighbours

Consequently this has rubbed off immeasurably on the music scene - we don't need to repeat what happened when some roguishly good looking teenagers got their hands on blues and rock n roll records from the states in the early sixties.

Threshold has ensnared this feeling brilliantly, and helped curate a festival that doffs its cap to what makes the city so great. At a time when Viking culture is being re-evaluated by the BBC and the National Museum, they'll be pointing to a more modern but equally as long standing effect between our nation and our Northern neighbours. Immerse yourself within it all.

 

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