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 the 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 join 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 Svenska 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 heights in numbers of athletes and festival participants. Lack of snow and a landslide 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 cherish 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 bring 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 crowd 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!
2014 was the 17th edition of Ekstremsportveko, and it got as close to perfect as it gets. The weather conditions this week made Voss the perfect playground for national and international athletes and made it possible to hold almost all the competitions as planned. We had an extensive program this year, packed with a variety of sports, activities and music offering fun things to do for everyone at all ages. We started off with an amazing opening show at Prestegardslandet where skydivers, paragliders and speed riders impressed the crowd. During this show, 94-year-old Bjarne Stavenes set a record for the eldest tandem skydiver in Norway. The snow conditions at Vikafjellet were great this year which brought the skiing part back in the Horgi Ned competition and made the Freeride competition a success. This year we also launched two new competitions; VossaTri and Ta sjansen I Vangsen, both were successfully pulled through. Another competition that proved to be very popular was a jump and dive competition at Flatlandsmo Camping. Erik Øvreeide and Toni George were crowned with the title The honourable citizen of Voss. This is a title that falls upon the woman and man who participates in the widest variety of sports. The headliners Karpe Diem, Haffmaestro, Store P, Raggabalder and Lee Scratch Perry created a great atmosphere in the Festival tent and gave the crowd fantastic live shows. 2014 was also the last year of our little Bozz, Pernille Olafsen. After four dedicated years, she got a well-deserved farewell party, handing over her job to our new little Bozz, Joar Wæhle.
2015 and the 18th edition of Ekstremsportveko ended up being yet another fantastic week in Voss. With a record number of athletes participating (1472 athletes from 42 nations), the week was action packed from start until the end. 18 official sports on the program, more than 150 singular events taking place, over 700 volunteers and five amazing bands giving us goosebumps, the week became one to remember. The opening show took new heights with the professional swooping team from Skydive Dubai, speedriders playing on the water with water skies, paragliders jumping out of helicopters, and not to mention the thrilling airshow Melissa Pemberton and her husband Rex (in a wingsuit) pulled off. This year we were never threatened by not having enough snow to pull our ski competitions off, there was actually a bit too much of it! For the third time in history, Horgi Ned was held from the top of Lønahorgi with a record long ski part. 2015 was also the year when the festival tent literally was on fire, thanks to the amazing artist line-up. Timbuktu, OnklP & De Fjerne Slektningene and Turboneger made our crowds go absolutely wild, ensuring the last party at Veko was one to remember.
The 19th edition of Ekstremsportveko turned out to be a wet experience. A lot of changes and adjustments had to be done, but Veko managed to host competitions in all 22 official disciplines. With a record number of over 200 single events taking place during seven days, Veko still had a lot to offer the athletes and visitors. More than a thousand kids, teenagers and engaged beginners participated in one or more of the many activities Veko offered. Despite the bad weather, the Veko mood was still to be found. Especially at a nigh time with the amazing Today’s Video pulling off yet another stunning show. Another record number of over 800 volunteers helped Veko run smoothly, and we are proud to say that the volunteers are the heart of this event. At daytime, we saw a few new events taking place, such as our obstacle race, “Vossakrigar”, which turned into a huge success. BASE also had a new twist, with teams of two pairing up, edit a video from their jumps, allowing the audience in the tent award the winner by making the loudest noise. Big Bang, Oslo Ess and The Cuban Brothers ensured the great atmosphere in the tent, creating great music experience and an electric vibe. Veko 2016 will perhaps be remembered as a wet one, but we are moving forward and are going all in for our 20th anniversary in 2017!
The year of fake news. But one thing was for sure 20 years Ekstremsportveko. That called for a celebration. We all put our party hats on in February to get into the mood, then we got in touch with the local folk museum to profile Ekstremsportveko in their exhibition facilities. It was great. People from all over streamed in to see what Veko was all about and how far the sports and the festival have come since the beginning. The opening of the exhibition was hosted by the founding fathers and some other important people showed up in their bunad’s. The team had some leftover fireworks lying around from new years eve and realised it’s no use to wait for the dark in summer. ha, how stupid was that. The opening show had a huge crane standing around. The crowd below looked up to the basket witnessing BASE jumpers head towards the ground and the parashoots open just in time. Rumours say that faint-hearted pensioners had to seek medical attention after that opening show. The year has been tougher on the financial side of Ekstremsportveko. For the second time in a row, the festival had a loss. Some honourable mentions towards the weather: it first was shit, at the end sunny. Some honourable mentions towards the bands: The crowd loved Bob Hund and Grandmaster Flash turned the tables throughout of music history. He mixed together three hits out of one decade and worked his way to the contemporary sounds.
This summer was hot. Ahh, we are talking about the weather again. But this was exceptional, no snow and the river where low. Unfortunately, weather extremes have become more regular. The good thing was, we saw a lot more nudity. Which in general is a good thing. We Norwegians need our vitamin D … and suncream. 2018 was also the first year with a new head of Ekstremsportveko, Kjetil Kriken, – and the last year for assistant manager and head of sports Joar Wæhle. A new fresh and stiff upper lip got into the chair as the head of sports, June Jansson. A known face for some Veko veterans. Adil Dyani attempted a new world record in airtime dropping into a huge quarterpipe with his skateboard. He didn’t succeed. That how some things are sometimes. For this first time in history, the statistic on drunk people getting kicked out of the festival tent has sunk by 10%. Either people are drinking less, or the security personnel has been slacking off. Who knows. Not good for a non-profit. Times have changed in extreme sports and the festivals. There is no easy answer to a complex event like Ekstremsportveko success. Dialogue has erupted in how to change the festival for it to remain. We face an uncertain future which is exciting and concerning at the same time. The only certain thing is, that we will only succeed together.