Report written by Marianne Mata Hari Saietz and The Facebookies. Photos: The Facebookies.
A video-clip from “Skogheim flytter inn” where Alexander talks about the Facebookies and the Farm-meeting. Broadcasted on Tv2 Norway- 28.02.12
This is a report about a fairytale, that happened long ago in July 2011. No reports have been published about the Farm-meeting until now but in the TV-program “Skogheim moves in” (28.2.2012), Alexander told about his meeting with 80 Facebookies from 30 countries at a private farm after the Giske-concert. Since this piece of information could make people curious or confused, we decided to write a short report and tell some more facts about it.
We, who attended, had not planned to keep the meeting secret but we agreed that this was a private dinner-party at a private home, and it wouldn´t be right to publish a lot of photos or share details about the guests who were invited to have a good time in good company among friends. However – now that Alexander has told a bit about the Farm-meeting in a TV- broadcast, it seems right to give a short report and tell a little more about it.
First, I have to correct a few of the informations Alexander gave in the TV-program: We were not 80 people gathered at the farm, but 40-50. We did not come from 30 countries, but from, around 15. The party did not take place after the concert at Giske-festival, but on the evening before the concert, July 29th. It is not strange at all, with the life he is living if Alexander has difficulties, remembering all numbers and dates correctly. He might, in the moment, have mixed up the farm-dinner with the meet & greet in Tønsberg in july 2010, where we were around 80 people from 30 different countries.
Back to the farm and july 29th 2011: It all started with the event-post in the early summer at the Official Facebookpage, telling that Alexander would perform at the Giske–Summerfestival on July 30th. Some people started talking in the event-post-thread, suggesting that this event could make a good occasion for a Facebookies summer-meeting like the ones we had before – in Tønsberg , summer 2010 and in Prague, spring 2010. The idea was popular and many people joined the event-post about Giske and marked that they would try to attend.
It is possible to sleep in tents at the festival but soon, another option showed up. One of the norwegian Facebookies had, with her family, a “summerhouse” in the area – a big farm with room for 40 people or more with a barn and a big garden. She – and a small group of helpers – started to invite the people, who had marked on the event-post that they wished to come to the Giske-concert. They all got the offer of staying at the farm for a couple of days, go to the Giske- festival together, and have a good time with their friends from many countries.
Many people accepted the offer with joy and some of them asked if they could invite some of their friends to the farm too. The organizing group coordinated and planned the farm-camp and at some point they had to stop inviting more people, to avoid that the event got crowded instead of cozy. At that point around 45 people were invited to stay at the farm.
I had a problem with the plans. I wished to go to the Giske-Festival but I would bring my husband and 2 teenage-daughters with me. We had planned to rent a car and travel around in Norway as our summer-vacation and the concert at Giske would only be a small part of our trip together. My husband and daughters like Alexanders music but they are absolutely not “fans”, and the idea of staying at the farm with 40 people they did not know did not appeal to them. So I had to find another solution and I looked at hostels in Ålesund ( Giske ), when a norwegian friend saved me by offering that I could stay with my family at her house in Ålesund, and from there I could visit the farm as much as I wished during our stay.
A new event-post appeared at the Facebook-page: Alexander would give a mini-concert in Ullsteinvik near Giske on July 29th at 16.00. This was great news. The people who came for the concert at Giske would also be able to go to a mini-concert the day before. An unexpected bonus!
But a new problem occured: My oldest daughter would come home from Berlin on July 29th. I felt that was too late if I wanted to be at the Giske-festival on July 30th and regarding the miniconcert, it was much too late. So I bought plane-tickets for Ålesund for me and my youngest daughter on July 25th and tickets for my husband and oldest daughter on July 29th. I would rent a car in Ålesund and so, I could easily pick them up at the airport on the 29th.Their plane would arrive in good time before the mini-concert. Now that all practical stuff was in order and all tickets were bought, I could start to relax and look forward.
It was only a week or so before our departure, when all the people who were going to Giske suddenly got a very big surprise. The group who organized all the stuff regarding the farm had secretly talked to Alexander and Kjell Arild and invited them to come for dinner with all of us at the farm on the evening before the Summerfestival, the 29th of July. Kjell Arild answered that he was not going to Giske but Alexander would like to come and bring Maria with him. The news spread great joy and excitement among the people who were coming to the farm but everybody agreed, that we could not tell anyone else that Alexander and Maria would visit the farm. We did not want public attention or uninvited guests. We wanted it to be a nice, relaxed and cozy event where Alexander and Maria could relax and feel welcome among friends.
Then, the big schock came on July 22nd – only 3 days before my departure to Norway. The terrible crimes, that took place in Oslo and on Utøya sent schockwaves through the whole world and of course – through Alexanders fans. It was sadness and horror and the terrible feeling of meaninglessness. We knew Alexander would be affected a lot – like all other norwegians. There was even some info, that the organizers of the Giske–festival were thinking of cancelling the festival, but luckily they decided to run the festival as planned, but make room for a memorial – ceremony in the program. Alexander made some really great postings on his wall in those days and that helped us all to feel better.
In the last moment we were told, that he might not be able to come to the farm-dinner on the 29th, because he was asked to play at one of the funerals of the young people from Utøya. But the info was corrected and we were told, he would come to Ålesund on the 29th as planned.
Alexander had planned a mini-concert at Ulsteinvik-shopping-mall on July 29th at 16.00 and he would arrive with Maria on a plane from Oslo the same day. Now it turned out, that their plane would arrive so late, that there was very little time to get to Ullsteinvik in time for the concert. This practical problem was also solved: My friend, who had offered us to stay in her house, would pick Alexander and Maria up at the airport. I would go there too, because my husband and oldest daughter were arriving at the same time, with a plane from Copenhagen. My friend would take Alexander and Maria in her car and drive fast to Ulsteinvik. I would stay and wait for Alexander and Marias luggage, put it in my car together with husband and kids and drive fast to Ulsteinvik. I was not worried, if I would miss a minute or two of the mini-concert. Afterall I have been to many of his concerts.
I will never forget, when we met Alexander and Maria at the Ålesund airport. After hugs and greetings, I asked him ” How does you luggage look like”? He answered: ” The black suitcase, you know. The one, that I always carry around”. I looked at him like “what”? but I managed to get some more precise description out of our dear Fiddler, before he gave me a “High Five” and left in a hurry with Maria and my friend. The plan worked sucessfully and Alexander arrived in Ulsteinvik 20 minutes before his concert started, while me, my family and his luggage arrived 10 minutes later.
It was here, in the shopping-mall, that I met all my friends from many countries. Some of them, I had seen not so long ago. Some of them, I had not seen since several years. And some of them were new friends to me. It was so great to see them all. The miniconcert was great. I don´t remember which songs, he played, but he was great and the audience were happy. Afterwards, he did signing in a book-shop and the line was very long so it lasted some time.
Then, we all filled up our cars with people and drove to the farm. When we arrived, delicious waffles were served in the garden with coffee, tea and lemonade. We were also served a very special dish, brought from Ukraine by Julia. Salo is a kind of lard, that you eat in thin slices on dark bread with vodka. Alexander knew what it was, and ate it with big delight. He persuaded Maria to taste some too, but she did not seem to love it – and he laughed by her face-expression.
After having eaten, we mingled in the garden. Alexander played a little football and showed us some tricks. One of his tricks was, apparently, to kick the ball down a steep slope with bushes….A dutch facebookie fetched it for him.
There was great atmosphere. I think, there were people from the following countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, England, Wales, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Switzerland and Turkey. I might have forgotten some. I hope, I will be forgiven.
Alexander and Maria got a lot of attention but many Facebookies were also so happy to see eachother, that they just hugged and laughed and talked to eachother, which gave Alexander some time and the chance to eat a lot of waffles with brown norwegian cheese and jam. People mingled in the garden and inside the house. My youngest daughter played some songs on guitar.
A lot of people worked in the kitchen to prepare the food for dinner and dessert. The table had been set in the cozy barn and beautifully decorated with wild flowers on white cloths. Lamb and chicken was being grilled on a barbecue outside the barn and there were so many delicious dishes and salads. It was obvious, that the Farm-bookies had been working all day and the day before to prepare this party for us.
We had dinner and a very good time. Alexander and Maria sat together but they talked to everybody around them and listened to everybody. After dinner there were some presents given and a lot of funny moments. It was a funny moment, when Alexander was asked to come out on the floor to receive a photo-book and he looked around, realized it would be difficult and then, simply crawled under the table and out. A lot of people had brought special presents from their home-countries, but we had all tried to remember, not to give him too heavy stuff, since he was going to travel around after Giske.
After dinner, we all helped to clear the tables and carry stuff back to the kitchen and then, we all ended up in garden again. Desserts had been prepared and kitchen taken care of. Everything was so well organized and there was no stress at all, despite the fact that we were 40-50 people present.
Outside in the garden, someone asked Alexander, if he would like to play a little on his violin together with her. She plays guitar very good and she had dreamed for a long time, about trying to play some songs with him. He agreed. He went for his violin and meanwhile, some new song-books suddenly appeared. Some brillant facebookies had prepared a new song-book, especially for this event. There were some of Alexanders song, but also some by Beatles and others. It is this songbook, he showed to “Skogheim” when he talked about the Facebookies in the TV-program.
So the funniest concert started. Alexander played violin, a facebookie played guitar. More than 40 people from different countries sang along on Alexanders songs, including the ones in swedish, which only few of us understands. It sounded really good. My oldest daughter sat next to Maria and told, she has a really nice voice.
After a while, we had desserts. There was Tiramisu and cheesecakes and candy from Greece and other delicious stuff. We sang all the songs in the songbook. Alexander played with others and he played alone. He played Misirlou and some classical pieces. Everybody was spellbound. He played until it got dark – almost too dark to see. Then, it was time for him and Maria to get back to Ålesund, where they would stay at a friends house.
It was sad to end the evening, but we all knew, we would soon see him and Maria again – the next day at the Summerfest in Giske.
And so, the next day at 1 pm, we were all in place in front of the stage at Giske-Summerfestival. The festival was so nice – on a small island with different stages, a lot of tents and great nature. The atmosphere was really nice and very peaceful, but you could also feel, that the sadness over the events on July 22nd was present.
Alexander gave a great concert and while he played, we received a call from Kjell Arild. He told, Alexander would do signing and sell CDs in a tent near the stage but there was not enough people to help him and Kjell Arild wanted to ask if some of us could go there and help him out, keeping the people in line and such. Of course, there were more than enough, who volunteered and so, the signing and CD-sale went very well and organized.
After the signing, we all went to watch the memorial – ceremony from the main stage. There were speeches and songs and poems being read. Most of the audience had signs with big hearts, that they held up together and it looked fantastic. When a known norwegian actor read aloud the poem ” For the youth” by Nordahl Grieg, I was so touched, tears rolled down my cheek. But it was a comforting moment. A very big warm feeling to be there – in Norway and to be part of this moment of memorial and hope. At the end, all the artists came on stage and sang the song “Sing”, by Fran Healy, a lot of heart-shaped ballons were released and they spread and reached the sky as a big cloud of hope and peace. There is a huge importance in making ceremonies at the big events in our lives and I am still grateful, that I had the chance to be part of this.
The next day, me and my family and some of my friends went on a trip a bit south-east of Ålesund to the start of the Geiranger-fjord, and there, we said goodbye to our friends and went on with a ferry to go further into the Geiranger- fjord on our norwegian adventure.
This was my report about some days of July 2011. It was really a fairytale
Thanks for making this fairytale happen Alexander, Maria, Kjell Arild, Giske Sommerfest and all the Facebookies:-)