Littfest 2015 in the rear-view mirror

Littfest sees an audience increase for the fifth year in a row!

As the commotion of Littfest 2015 settles down, the overall picture of this years events starts to appear. For the fifth year in a row the attendance figures of Littfest increased in comparison to previous years. This is especially remarkable since Umeå was European Capital of Culture 2014, meaning that last year saw a peak in funding not available for the festival this year.

In spite of fewer events on the programme the increase in audience ended up at close to 30%, indicating that the audience engaged and interacted with the festival - that is, went to more events per person - in an even higher degree than previous years. The total number of visits (not visitors) landed at about 14 350, compared to 10 500 in 2014.

Littfest audience preparing for one of the major events in Idun. This time Jeanette Winterson will take the stage in front of a full house - more than 1000 people.Littfest audience preparing for one of the major events in Idun. This time Jeanette Winterson will take the stage in front of a full house - more than 1000 people. | © Littfest

About 3000 tickets were sold for Friday through Saturday. Children, adolescents, exhibitors, press and participants had free admittance and are thus not included in the ticket sales. The daytime programme on Thursday was free for everyone, no tickets needed. As for the Versopolis event at café Pilgatan, the poets read for a full house of 150 people at the opening social. As a whole, about 200 people are estimated to have attended the party throughout the evening.

When introducing the Versopolis poets on the Saturday event, Littfest coordinator Erik Jonsson said about picking poets to invite that: “All of them have a very unique voice, a very distinctive tone. We tried to pick poets who we think can contribute something to the climate of literature in Sweden. We also tried to pick five poets who are rather different from one another, so that you, the audience, will find at least one poet to your liking - and I’m almost convinced that you will.”

And it seems that Jonsson knows his audience rather well. Erik Persson, freelance writer and activist, noted that “I don’t picture myself as a person who likes poetry, but I’ve had to reevaluate that stance. I liked all of the Versopolis poets, particularly Katja Perat.”

Audience member Saga Karlsson, who also took part of the social at Pilgatan, said that “The Versopolis readings were really good.” However, she found another favourite: “I especially liked Ana Brnardic.”

Ana Brnardic herself had nothing but good things to say about Littfest. When asked for a comment she wrote: “Littfest is my favorite festival of all festivals I've ever been. Erik and Patrik did an amazing job perfectly organizing the whole gigantic project - I don't know how they have managed to be always around for each of us, authors, in the same time handling all strings of the Littfest animal. Within the Versopolis project I had the nicest experience collaborating with Đorđe Žarković, who has translated my poems into Swedish. Thank you!”

A major part of the Littfest events are available on YouTube. The Versopolis poets reading can be found here.