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The Story of The Plura Cave Concert

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Plura Valley is a technical and cave diving resort located in northern Norway, just below the Arctic Circle. It has been run by Ina Santala Jordbru and Jani Santala Jordbru the last 7 years. Hosting over 1000 technical and cave dives every year. The resort is all inclusive in the diving sense, with a full technical centre attached to cosy Nordic accommodation, in the picturesque Plura valley, with full catering available and of course a dive themed bar.

Diving into the Plura Cave Northern Norway. Photo Pekka Tuuri
Diving into the Plura Cave Northern Norway. Photo Pekka Tuuri

In 2019 Ina Santala Jordbru and Jani Santala Jordbru got married inside the Plura cave, which is situated on Ina’s family farm. With 69 divers in attendance inside the cave the whole event turned out to be a major success and was also awarded a Guinness World Record. This laid the foundational idea for an event inside the cave so that more people could experience this kind of amazing venue. The idea of the concert came after meeting up with some great musicians and event planners. After the success of the wedding, they realized that it is challenging, but technically possible to make a concert in the cave, but it is demanding of resources.  

Sea to Sky

Some of the audience dressed up in proper suits under the dry suit, at the Plura Cave Wedding in 2019. Photo Pekka Tuuri

The regional center, Bodø, is European Capital of Culture for 2024 and the Cave Music team were lucky enough to get a chance to pitch the project to them. With Bodo 2024 on board as the main event partner and both global and local sponsors, it suddenly became possible to make this crazy idea of an event a reality. 

4 years later The Plura Cave Concert is a part of the “Leave nothing but footprints” section of the Bodø2024 program, and the idea is that we get to give this epic live concert experience in the heart of the mountain to a select few – and at the same time make one of the most inaccessible places in the world accessible to the masses through a concert live stream. The Plura Cave Concert signifies more than music; by highlighting niche communities and their cultural impact, we aim to foster appreciation for diverse human experiences, forging connections that transcend boundaries and endure through time. We want to explore and showcase culture’s depths and celebrate the dedication of those who venture into these hidden realms.

Liquid Diving

The audience at the Plura Cave Wedding in 2019 at the same venue as the Concert will be held, Photo Pekka Tuuri
The audience at the Plura Cave Wedding in 2019 at the same venue as the Concert will be held, Photo Pekka Tuuri

The music for this concert has been composed by Håkon Erlandsen, an artist whose focus is on expressing the emotions of extreme sports and expeditions through the medium of music. This artist is already renowned for his outlandish concert locations, holding the record for the world’s highest concert, played at 8848mas, on the summit of mount Everest and the world’s coldest concert, in Antarctica at a whopping minus 57 degrees Celsius. He has also had to work closely with Yamaha, whom he is an ambassador for, as they designed a saxophone hardy enough to play in the harshest conditions in the world.

Plura Valley
Håkon arrived at the concert venue and is practicing before the big event. Photo Pekka Tuuri

Håkon, who has been cave diving since 2019, has composed this music based on his experience of cave diving. He plans on doing this by incorporating the sounds of the cave that speak most to him, such as the droplets of water and echo of bubbles. He says his goal with this project is to convey the feeling of cave diving to everyone, in his words “the simultaneous thrill and calmness you experience”. He says he wants to share the feeling of something being both beautiful and exciting at the same time. By utilising art to reach a greater audience and share an experience previously only held by few individuals.

One of the helpers, Harri, entering the Plura Chapel where the concert will be conducted 29th of March, Photo Pekka Tuuri

With only three weeks left until the day of the concert, the prep is well underway here at Plura. In two weeks’ time, 25 amazing volunteers, mostly trusted friends and acquaintances from Norway and Finland, will be arriving to assist with all aspects of the preparation. They’ll be involved in laying cables, rigging equipment for transportation into the cave, and helping prepare the resort for 45 guests by food prepping, cleaning, and organizing living accommodations, among other tasks.

Jani Santala
Jani S-curve, photo credit:Pekka Tuuri

One of the technical obstacles to overcome was how to transport instruments through the cave safely. To be able to solve this we reached out to SANTI, and they loved the idea. Their team has made us custom drysuits for the electric bass guitar and double bass, complete with an inflator and dump valve. We must dedicate a massive thank you to SANTI for the technical consultations to understand the requirements, the hours dedicated in making one of a kind drysuits and for doing all of this to a strict timeline. The lowest point on the way to the air chamber is 32mfw, hence the ambient pressure being 4,2atm. This adds some intricate complexities to our planning as some of the speakers have air spaces inside and there was a concern for implosion during transportation. We considered multiple solutions such as transportation in sealed cases (not strong enough themselves to withstand 4atm), wet transportation (doesn’t mix well with electronics) and we did consider asking SANTI for more drysuits, but we weren’t sure this would solve the pressure issue. Eventually we decided a test day was in order, so we sent our bass man, Davide Bartolini to the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, who, thanks to our good friend Vegard Sandvik, very kindly allowed us to use their hyperbaric chamber to stress test our wonderful musician and his instruments. Davide confirmed his basses, a mixer and the speakers would be able to withstand 4.2atm. (See link at the end of the document for videos of testing). The other instrument is a brass saxophone, so given the fresh water and metal material, no special accommodations needed, except maybe a towel for the other side!

Plura Valley
Saxophone under water on the way to the Plura Cave Concert, cave divers only, photo Pekka Tuuri

The team of volunteers will be helping lay more than one kilometre of fibre optic cable into the cave for the live stream. A massive feat that is made more difficult because of the 4-degree ice water, requiring thicker gloves and in some cases even mittens. Making it more difficult to work with delicate fibre optic cable. Because of the temperature and open circuit gas constraints, we will realistically be limited to maximum 1.5-2 hours per dive. Therefore, to run the full amount of cable will take roughly a week for a 3-diver team. For safety reasons we cannot run the fibre cable directly along the mainline for fear of entanglement and or breakage from divers swimming through restrictive parts of the cave next to it. Hence, the cable will be suspended using polystyrene blocks cable tied to it, making it float up against the ceiling of the cave, and carefully placed, basically putting it into a line trap. Thus, avoiding any unwanted contact with concertgoers. We will be using Seacraft DPVs, some of which are on loan to us from Seacraft for the concert.

Seacrafts DPV’s are critical equipment for the event. Thanks to their E/O cable we will be able to power the entire concert from the scooters, removing the need for another cable to be ran into the cave. Everything, from lights, microphones, the basses, speakers and mixing boards will be powered off Seacraft scooter batteries. There are upwards of 15 different scooters, totalling more than 7kW. This is enough to run a small house, so for the concert it will be more than sufficient.

Without the joint support of the dive community this event would not be possible. It’s amazing to see how different brands are coming together.

Northern Lights
Northern lights Plura, Tomi Mustonen

Mares has been supporting Plura Valley since the start in 2017 and will be providing safety gear and much needed equipment for the event. One of the main contributions from Mares is the regulators for the extra stage tanks that will be staged throughout the cave as a safety measure. XDEEP is another brand that is supporting the event, providing backplates and harnesses for the volunteers that are flying in and are not able to bring all their dive gear.

The live stream will start at 1400hrs GMT +1 and is scheduled to last 2 hours. The concert itself is planned to start at 1500hrs local time. The live-stream link will be provided latest two days before the event, and will be hosted via our YouTube channel. Outside the cave we will have a large marquis where the concert will be streamed on 4 big screens for those unable to dive to the concert, such as family members or non-cave qualified members of the diving community.

Inside at the concert site, teams will arrive in a coordinated manner, as directed from the command centre. As concertgoers arrive in the chamber, they will be “signed out” of the water and confirmed to have reached the site safely. The chamber is formed like an amphitheatre, with tiered rocks for viewers to sit on. With a mix of open circuit and closed-circuit divers another thing we have had to consider is equipment doffing and donning upon arrival and departure. This will take an individual dedicated to coordinating equipment storage, although there is no shortage of place, as the chamber itself is more than 500m long. There will be non-alcoholic beverages served inside the cave, although we did consider not feeding our attendees too much liquid, because even though we are very talented here at Plura, transporting a porta potty to the chamber is not within our realms! At the conclusion of the concert the divers will return topside to join in the dinner and celebrations to sign off an amazing day and achievement.

Learn more about Plura Valley at: https://www.pluravalley.com



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