The idea to implement an Extreme Sports Festival in Voss takes shape in the winter of 1998. Both Voss Rafting Centre and Voss Paragliding Club plan to host Norwegian cups in 1998. They decide to cooperate and make a festival out of it, instead of organising two separate competitions. The Skydiving Club and the Kayak Club have no specific plans, but it doesn´t take much persuasion to get them on board. They get a sponsorship agreement with Ringnes/PepsiMax, and voila, they have a name: «Pepsi Max Week».
The first event is a mixed success. Skydive Voss´s plane is not allowed to land in Bømoen, but Egil Bye takes charge, and makes sure that 100 skydivers get wind under their wings. The Norwegian Championship in rafting, Norwegian Cup in paragliding and the kayak competitions also suffer from lack of structure. But the athletes are still happy, and they want to come back!
To strengthen the organisation, Irene Hessling is hired as the project leader. A big step in the right direction! First and foremost, this is the year in which the athletes become unified, and solidarity between the sports is in focus.
Anders Flatlandsmo and Dag Jørgensen take over as project leaders and establish a new name for the event, Ekstremsportveko. The event is formalised by establishing the foundation, Ekstreme Voss. The concept Try It is implemented successfully, and Today´s Video becomes a gathering point for the festival. Ringnes does not extend the contract, so emphasis is put on other ways of raising income, but it seems that the will to pay, is not the strongest point amongst the audience. Skating, big jump and wakeboard become a part of the programme.
The staff is expanded with Astrid Lødemel coming in as the manager of marketing. With good help from the brothers, Erik and Børre Hegbom, Veko signs an important contract with Nike in Amsterdam. Ekstremsportveko is now introduced as Ekstremsportveko by Nike ACG . Baste Eriksen becomes Veko´s designer and Henning Hegbom takes the job as a sports coordinator. The festival tent is being used for the first time, which turns the festival programme up many notches. The sports programme is a success and new sports, including climbing, joins the official programme. Several international athletes visit Voss for the first time, and Veko receives fantastic feedback from them.
The event has now grown so large, that more key-staff are necessary. Gjert Birkeland, Kelly Arnesen and Sigurd Stalheim now work busily in the festival office during Veko, and Vidar Skeie takes the job as booking coordinator. More than 1000 athletes participate at Veko, who agree that the event is again a success, but the accounts say something else– Ekstremsportveko is threatened by bankruptcy.
Kaia Finne takes over as the project leader. The focus is put on the economy and professionalism of the staff. For the first time, public funding is a part of the budget. With Nike as a publicity engine, there are now 110 accredited journalists visiting the event. From now on Ekstremsportveko is to concentrate on in-house TV-production.
Nike finishes further collaboration, and the sponsorship strategy is now to have equal partners. Bula, Berghaus, Olden and Fri Flyt are new sponsors – Fri Flyt as an important channel for niche marketing. The main focus this year is to guarantee future helicopter permits to Nebbet and the collaboration with Ekstreme Voss Booking. NRK makes a documentary about Veko, which is warmly received. Hanggliding comes in as an own discipline and The Wailers concert in the festival tent tops the festival programme.
Ekstremsportveko has become a serious concept within the tourism industry. It is obvious that Veko has effects further afield than just Norway and extreme sports. The building of a profile and the marketing of Voss, western Norway and Norway have become important. More time is being spent discussing the subject of Voss as a destination for visitors. New collaborations include Vossameny, and several Norwegian TV-stations, which means daily live broadcasts. New disciplines are being tested out, like longboard, freeride and multisport. Salomon takes over as a sponsor for technical clothes. Mastodon, deLillos and Timbuktu set the standards in the evenings.
For the first time in history, rafting, skydiving and biking are broadcasted «live» on Norwegian television. The festival is seen as a centre of high competence, and the Ministry of Justice visits Voss to check it out. Helly Hansen and LG/Telekiosken joins as sponsors, and the music festival finally gets support from the Arts Council of Norway. This is celebrated with bands like George Clinton and Seigmen. Ekstremsportveko, with Baste Eriksen in the fore, wins the Explore prize for best market communication in Fjord Norway. For the first time the festival is held in fantastic weather!
Margrethe Alm is hired as a trainee fulltime, as the festival has been short-staffed for so long. In addition to the partners of 2006, Nissan joins as a new sponsor. The collaboration between the festivals in Voss is formalised by creating Festival Voss. Voluntary work is still a focal point, and the festival is honoured with Ildsjelprisen (The Initiative Prize). We were lucky to celebrate our 10th anniversary with sunshine and a fantastic sports and culture programme. Highlights such as Horace Andy & Dub Asante, Beenie Man, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes and Svenske Akademien made a great atmosphere in the festival tent!
Margrethe Alm takes over as the head of Ekstremsportveko and Vivi Sponland is headhunted for the project. For the first time in the history there are two people working in the administration full time. Vinterveko was held the last weekend in March and Rub a Dubs made the atmosphere electric! Helly Hansen does not extend their contract and One Call joins as a new sponsor. Historical stunts were performed: skydivers and skiers met at Vikafjell and all the air sports that are represented at Veko made a stunning show in Gudvangen! Vidar Lund is hired as the booking manager for Ekstremsportveko 2008.
2009 is the year when Voss turns tropical. The sun is shining every day during the whole festival and all competitions, except the kiting competition, are held as planned. The new multisport competition "Horgi Ned" (Lønahorgi Down), which is an untraditional version of a triathlon, is well received among athletes and media. LG Electronics does not extend their contract, and One Call, Fri Flyt, Bula, Nissan and Olden are the main sponsors for the event. Gaute Haaversen takes the job as a booking manager and Q-Tip, Datarock and The Aggrolites make happy people even happier.
This year Ekstremsportveko reaches new hights in number of athletes and festival participants. Lack of snow and a land slide at Nebbet creates some challenges for the organizing committee prior to the event. However, challenges are made to be solved and solutions are made for both BASE jumping and the river activities. Vivi Sponland decides to move on to new challenges after this year´s event, and people gather in the festival tent to cheerish her remarkable job in the Veko administration. Olden does not extend their contract and Nissan, Fri Flyt, Bula and One Call are the main sponsors for the event. We reunite with Dumdum Boys and the atmosphere in the festival is electric. The skilled and lovely Pernille Olafsen takes over Vivi´s job.
2011 is the year when Voss turns into a gigantic shower. A huge low pressure system is lingering above the western part of Norway, with its centre right above our festival tent. The rain creates some grey hair for the organizing committee, but they manage to make a plan B and C for most of the competitions. Although many of the competitions don´t go as planned, the athletes are extremely positive! Thank you guys! The sun decides to break through on the last day, and Ekstremsportveko 2011 finishes with a spectacular air show at Prestegardslandet! The Today’s Video team does a remarkable job, and the music festival with bands such as Bigbang, Real Ones, Kvelertak, Swollen Members and Fat Freddy’s Drop, together with our popular lounge, makes the Festival Tent pumping. One Call and Bula sponsor the festival and brings joy to the people by having One Call Challenge and Bula Beanie Boogie Party! The collaboration with Amnesty International, Kolibricarf (Children at risk foundation), Voss Kunstlag and the graffiti artists Your Mamas Favourite is very successful. At least the rain cleared one thing; Ekstremsportveko got the crowed no matter what weather it is! Thank you!
2012 was the year Ekstremsportveko celebrated its 15 years of existence and to everybody’s sorrow, it had its first fatal accident. It has been a special edition of the festival, as it started off with a kayaker missing in the river the day before the opening of Ekstremsportveko and on Wednesday the 27th of June, the professional skydiver, Jonathan Tagle, died in an accident mountain flying with his friends. We will always remember the lost ones and encourage everyone to play safe. Said that, Ekstremsportveko 2012 with its sad happenings gave the week a special atmosphere filled with caring, love and celebration of life. After last year’s rainy week, the sun was shining almost the whole week this year, and the snow still covered the mountains! This led to a successful Horgi Ned competition and the Freeride was back on track! New stuff on the program was skateboarding and flying in the wind tunnel. The festival program offered a vast variety of things to do for kids, teens and adults to everybody’s joy. Bula, Kari Traa and One Call are still sponsoring Ekstremsportveko. Once again the music festival of Ekstremsportveko hit hard, and legends like Raga Rockers, De La Soul and Wu Legends made the tent hot and steamy! After 5 dedicating years, the big boss, Margrethe Alm, took her last Veko dance on stage, in front of a cheering crowd leaving the challenge of running Ekstremsportveko to the new boss, Sofie Torlei Olsen.
2013 is the year Ekstremsportveko launches three new competitions; Voss Vallhalla, Agalaus MTB Chinese Downhill and Adrian Tell´s Dirt Jump down by the Festival Tent. All three where successfully pulled through and expectantly they will be a part of Veko again next year. One Call, Bula and Kari Traa continues their sponsorships, and Kari Traa Urban Training hosted their own Boot Camp at Veko. With a warm spring, the snow conditions were challenging, and Horgi Ned had to be hosted as a duathlon. The Freeride crew on the other hand had found a perfect face to arrange the competition. With two kickers followed by a rodeo ride, the competition was a success! Some of the most eager spectators this year were the elderly who joined our Extreme Elderly Bus. Three days during Veko, two dedicated guides brought elderly people from Voss, Vik and Aurland to different sports arenas, followed by a pit stop in the Festival Tent to eat freshly made waffles. Today’s Video managed to go over the top once again. With a crew of 20 people, they caught everyone’s attention in the Festival Tent at night with catchy music, delightful pictures and spectacular stunts. One deed to remember is One Call´s remarkable wingsuite and skydiving stunt. On the festival side, the headlines were Gentleman, Motorpsycho and Sirkus Eliassen and the Lounge were sweatier then ever! Veko 2013 was definitely a year to remember with well-organized competitions, great atmosphere in the tent, and sunshine most of the time!