From the idea of a music Gothia Cup to one of the world's largest music camps.
Join us on a quick trip through the Side by Side years gone by.
"Let's make a project together!" said the world-renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel one day when the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra had a concert in Hammarkullen. So we did. Several years later, we're organizing the eleventh edition of the music camp Side by Side by El Sistema, which is now one of the largest choir and orchestra camps in the world.
In this video you get a quick overview of the camp's first ten years. If you scroll down a little further on the page you will find videos and summaries of each year.
Even more videos are available on our Youtube channel.
In 2014, Side by Side was developed as one of Gothenburg's jubilee projects following a citizens' proposal for a music Gothia Cup. The El Sistema Sweden foundation was commissioned to run the camp and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra was also on board. During two intensive days, 565 children, young people and leaders gathered to sing and play side by side in central Gothenburg. Dinner, mingling and hanging out took place in a tent outside the Gothenburg Opera and Gothenburg's streets were lit up by blue camp shirts. The camp ended on the main stage of the Gothenburg Opera.
In 2015, Side by Side collaborated with KulturKRÄM and expanded the camp to include three orchestras, three choirs, visual arts, theatre, dance and film! 1000 participants gathered and held several concerts, including in Frihamnen as the opening of the Volvo Ocean Race. This was the year when the rest symbol that still adorns our t-shirts appeared. We also almost got rained out in our huge tent in the The Garden Society of Gothenburg.
In 2016, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra went from being one of the camp's partners to officially taking over the organizing role for Side by Side. We also refocused the camp more on music again and decided that each camp year would have its own t-shirt color. We changed into pink shirts and played on buses around Gothenburg. 1250 participants came to the camp divided into three orchestras and three choirs. We had a BASECAMP with a stage for hanging out in Hvitfeldtska's schoolyard and played our Festival Concert for the first time in Lisebergshallen.
In 2017 we turned lime green and grew to 1,500 participants divided into five orchestras and four choirs. Gustavo Dudamel, world conductor and initiator of El Sistema Sweden came to visit and conducted in a green Side by Side t-shirt in Lisebergshallen! In addition, we received a video greeting from the singer of Coldplay, who thought it was great that we used the band's song Fix You as the basis for the camp song Sida vid Sida (Side by Side). Chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali was also there and conducted. Celebrity packed!
In 2017, we recorded an official version of Sida vid Sida. Find the lyrics and the English translation here.
In 2018 we switched to the purple color and took our seat in Scandinavium for the first time. Finally we had a concert arena where we had room to grow! And good thing we did, because this year there were 1,800 participants divided into six orchestras, six choirs and an ensemble for Side by Side! We had sing-alongs at The Garden Society of Gothenburg and at the World Culture Museum as well as concerts at the Academy of Music and Drama, at the Concert House, and at Scandinavium! The big song of the year was Symphony and it also became one of our favorite music videos!
In 2019 we were tomato red and the camp broke a new record (again!) with its 2,200 participants divided into eight orchestras, six choirs and two ensembles. The best escapade of the year was when we went by bus to Nordstan with UPPER INTERMEDIATE ORCHESTRA to play Ritmos Ciganos for the very surprised shoppers. We held a record number (eleven!) of official concerts and the tickets sold out quickly, especially for the specialty concert Early & Folk in Concert.
2020 was our ocean green year and we had just received a record number of registrations for the camp when the pandemic hit. We were shocked to say the least, but quickly decided that there had to be a camp anyway. So we ventured into something new and created Side by Side: Digital, a platform with tons of pre-recorded material, a chat, and the ability to submit your own videos in response to our challenges and lessons. 703 participants from 36 countries (a new record!) participated from their homes, schools, churches, ensemble rooms and local stages around the world. They recorded their own videos where they danced, fooled about, played and sang. Together we created a digital circle around the world and the best version of The Lion King's Circle of Life ever seen (yes, we said it!). There wasn't a dry eye after that.
In 2021, our year of raspberry sorbet, we held on to the hope of doing a regular Side by Side, or at least a hybrid camp with participants both digitally and on site in the Concert Hall. It didn't turn out quite like that, instead we re-imagined the camp together with Telia and Microsoft. This time we invested in live content from the Concert Hall with participants on a link via Teams. The entire Concert Hall building became one big broadcasting studio with everything from recording rooms to an editorial office. Some highlights from the camp include all the response videos to the challenges we sent out, the drone flight, and of course Side by Side's mashup of Maroon 5's Memories and Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D. Singers and musicians from all over the world submitted contributions to the music video, which made all of us long even more for finally meeting again in Gothenburg.
In 2022, Side by Side was summer green and back with full physical force in Gothenburg. We had the Opening Ceremony for the camp out on Götaplatsen so that the whole city could see that we were finally back on site. Götaplatsen also became the stage for our pop-up concert with the Upper Intermediate Orchestra, Wind & String Orchestra, Upper Voices Choir and Pre-Upper Voices Choir who performed the fast-paced Baba Yetu from Civilization IV. Now we once again had over 2000 participants and our many concerts were more than well attended. It was an audience record at the Festival Concert!
In 2023, the camp color was a rainbow palette where all the previous years were represented. We were extra pleased about this because the camp coincided with Gothenburg's pride month. 2023 was not only the camp's 10th anniversary—Gothenburg City's big anniversary celebration was also postponed to June 2023 and the month began with a big anniversary festival June 2-6. Side by Side's big Festival Concert obviously had JUBILEE as its theme and was an amazing experience. Here you can watch the Closing Concert that concluded the camp. For more content, see our social media below!
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Lägerfotograf Francis Löfvenholm
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