Lizel Strömberg

Celebrating Chaharshanbe Suri
Happy New Year to everyone celebrating Nouruz! 
Last week I attended the event "Eldfesten" which celebrates the Persian holiday Nowruz. It gets celebrated on the first day of spring. The Holiday celebrates by diverse ethno-linguistic groups which included countries from western asia, central asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, and the Balkans. Chaharshanbe Suri is the prelude of the holiday this day takes place on different days depending on where you are from. The day of Nowruz is happening on vernal equinox.
I don’t have enough understanding and knowledge about the Persian culture or the festival to make a well throrough post with a lot of facts. Even though if I would make a deep dive into the culture I wouldn’t truly understand it if I don’t have anyone explain it or if I would experience it in first hand. This post will mainly be based on my experiences from attending the event in Gothenburg. 
The event already started at 5pm and I went there early to look around the area to get a sense of it. 
The photo above is of a small part of their traditional "haft-sin". "Haft-sin" means: "seven S". It's a table you set at the persian new year which is a symbol that represent all the good things you wish for the coming year. Traditionally the table should include at least 7 things that begins with the persian spelling "sin". 
On the schedule for the main stage, they had traditional dancers, artists from the middle east coming from a far but also artists in Sweden which has roots in the middle east. I loved seeing some of the traditional clothing they were wearing!
The commère of the event was the actress Bahareh Razekh Ahmadi
I think she made a good job as a commère, she had a good vibe and did well with switching back and forth from Persian to Swedish to make sure to try to included everyone. 
At this event, you couldn't get accreditation as press which was very unfortunate not only for me as a photographer but also the event since I think it would have been good getting that extra promotion afterwards by other media. Either way one of the acts I was able to photograph from the audience were Hojat & Vahdat Rahimi which are two brothers from Afghanistan.
When doing research before the event, I looked through some of their music and got stuck on their song "Afghanistan". I don't know what they are singing about but I really like the melody and the production on the song. There is several instruments in the production that I don't usually hear in the music I tend to listen to and the way they sing is different what I'm used to, but I'm liking it! Something that I found out about them which I really appreciate is that other than being musicians, Verdaht is also a video director. From what I could tell is that he has directed several of their muisc videos including this one of "Afghanistan".
Maybe I should start paying attention to the music in this region too? :) 
Except for the music performances on stage, there were also a fire show by "Eldfågel".
Around the area there were different tents of people selling different kinds of food and crafts.
Something that I noticed was how friendly people were. When I was walking around taking photographs, people would make a way for me to get my shot in between them, move so I could get closer to my subject and if they accidentally bumped into me they would say sorry. I really appreciated it and it was a nice experience to get.
One of their traditions during Chaharshanbe Suri is jumping over bonfires which symbol leaving the old year's troubles and tireness behind and with the fire's strength you collect new energy for the upcoming year. 
To be honest, in the beginning I wasn't sure if I was going to attend "Eldfesten" because I already was feeling stressed out over the content I'm behind on. But because of the fact that Jasmine Kara was one of the performing acts, I couldn't keep myself away from the event. Even though if I wouldn't be able to get proper photos of the event, I knew it would be worth going only to meet her. She had made sure to help me getting access to her set so I was able to photograph her show which I really appreciated! 
This past year I've seen Jasmine live on stage 6 times and I still get amazed over her professionality and talent! Her energy is so warm and you can't stop smiling when seeing her. Jasmine is such a great artist and so underrated by many! 
This time she had dancers on stage which was a very nice change! The dance group's name is A.T.O. Crew. I think having dancers can enhance the performance. One thing that I loved about Jasmine's set was the fact that she performed songs in different languages. Some of the languages were Persian, English, Swedish and she even sang some Spanish. We all love a multicultural queen!
If you haven't checked out Jasmine's music before you should definitely do that! She has several music videos and I will insert one of her latest ones which is the Farsi version of her song "Smile".
I don’t know who was in charge of the lighting on the stage but the organizer of the event needs to hire someone new next year. Now I'm not only talking as a photographer but also as someone who was in the audience. It was hard to see the artists on stage due to lack of lighting and wrong placement of the lights. It was basically more lighting on the audience than on the front artists on stage. There was too much backlight so it would blind the people trying to watch the show. It was very unfortunate and was one of the reasons why I wasn't able to get proper photos of the people performing when it got darker. 
Jasmine performed a non-released single named "Cobra Snake" together with the Chilean artist Reego. "Cobra Snake" is a bop and has some latin vibe to it. I really enjoyed that song and I can't wait until they release it as a single! I also can tell you there's an actual music video for it! If you wondering how I know about that, well Jasmine has been posting about it and I have already got a sneak peek of the video. I think you will like it. 😏
It was my first time shooting a show outside during the winter/spring and I must say, it was not my favorite thing because it was so cold! After the show the whole team got together, took some photos and were meeting people backstage. 
We met up with Jasmine's parents who were there to support her. Jasmine's parents were the cutest and it was clear that she took after them. I could tell the similarites in their facial features but also their personalites. We ended the evening with celebrating the show by going out to hang out on a bar and drinking tea. I'm so glad that I attended the "Eldfesten" event, to seeing new cultures, hearing new kinds of music and meeting new people. It was all good vibes and meeting Jasmine and her team was absolutely lovely.
This was it for this time and I hope you enjoyed this post about attending "Eldfesten 2019".
Until next time, ingat!