Last year I wondered if the H. C. Andersen Festival here in Odense, Denmark, would be a one-off, as it was sponsored by local businessmen and had a lot of “teething problems”. Now I know that it wasn’t, as this year the festival returned from August 17th to August 24th, even with an “s” in the end (Festivals), but unfortunately the problems returned, too.
At the moment the entire Odense City centre is being turned into a huge pedestrian zone, so there is just one bus route left through town, and it only operates between 11 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. but not during weekends. This way you can’t go to town during evenings and weekends unless you are able to walk long distances, and I for one am not. During the festival, this bus route was even closed, so you couldn’t get there at all, and personally I had to rely on friends, taxis and long-distance coaches just to get near some of the events. Most of them, especially the ones during evenings I just had to skip.
1. The big light show at the town hall facade made by "We Create Magic"
2. Theatre Gyda's Pink People street theatre performances
3. Italian acrobats eVènti Verticali’s performance on high walls
I’d seen all three of these last year and been VERY impressed by them, so I couldn’t wait to go again, but even before I got out of the door, I had to cancel my attendance to the eVènti Verticali performance. No one could take me and as the show was rather late in the evening, I would not be able to get back on my own. I was SO disappointed, as I’d waited a year to see the talented Andrea and Luca Piallini brothers, so please, please, if you return in 2015, get a slot during daytime!!! Anyway, I had to pick a new number 3 and I chose the 3D street art by Dutch artist Leon Keer.
The last couple of events I can’t rate that high. One was the censored art exhibition in the Art Exhibition Building that was just as awful as last year. The other was the art street with only very little art including the exhibition in Gallery Rasmus that showed paintings from last year’s exhibition among other things. 3 out of 5 stars to the art street, but only 2 to the censored art exhibition.
I would like to point out that there was a lot of shows and performances I would have loved to see, but they were all during the evening, so I couldn’t go. I’ve heard amazing things about “The Nightingale” shadow show, “The Little Mermaid” international artists show. The outdoor theatre play “Ole Lukoeje” (“Mr. Sandman”) and the ballet “My home is the Universe”, but unfortunately there was no way I could get to them. All in all there were not as many different shows and events like last year, though, as last year there were 270, this year there were about 60, which were repeated over and over again several times a day, each day. On the other hand, most of the events this year had something to do with Hans Christian Andersen. They hadn’t last year. To sum up: I didn’t find the festival(s) as interesting as last year, but it was okay except for the lack of public transportation. So dear festival makers and public transportation planners, please get together and sort this out before next year!