ABBA The Museum, part of the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, will officially open on 7 May 2013. Tickets go on sale on 13 December 2012. In a new interview, Björn had the opportunity to explain what having the new museum space dedicated to ABBA means to him.
Located in a 5,000 sq. metres sized building at Djurgården, Stockholm, the Hall of Fame will include 2,000 sq. metres of exhibition space, a considerable amount of which is dedicated to ABBA The Museum. In addition to the two permanent exhibitions ‘The History of Swedish Popular Music’ and ‘Hall of Fame’, the Swedish Music Hall of Fame will also host temporary, mostly contemporary music exhibitions.
ABBA The Museum will span the band’s career all the way from the start in 1970, via the breakthrough with Waterloo in 1974, the grand world tours and finally, the split in 1983. ABBA The Museum will become the home of ABBA’s collected works, set to be showcased in a contemporary, musical and interactive exhibition that allows the audience to get close to their favourite band.
It will feature memorabilia like stage costumes worn by the singers, and visitors will also be able to singalong to ABBA songs alongside life size holograms of the group. Catherine Johnson, who wrote the musical Mamma Mia!, is helping to write the audio guide which will feature the band’s members telling visitors about the exhibits.
ABBA remains Sweden’s most successful band of all time, with sales of 378 million albums around the world, however, the museum took a long time coming.
Björn Ulvaeus said: “We weren’t entirely sure if there was going to be one, whether we wanted one, becoming artefacts and relics while we are still alive. It is such a long time ago that ABBA was active…the guy I see when I look at all the videos, on stage, he is almost a stranger.
“I almost don’t know him anymore. I thought it would be interesting to get to know him a little better.” he added.
“When I look at old videos and photos it is almost always with great pride because we took the music so seriously,” he said. “You can hear that and I think that is why it is still around today. The outfits and all that, we were having fun, there was nothing serious about that – but the music, yes.”
There will never be a musical reunion … oh, I should say on stage, never a musical reunion
But while Ulvaeus – now a 67-year-old grandfather – is involved in setting up the museum, there is to be no ABBA reunion.
“For the opening of the museum I cannot say. I will have to give everyone (each group member) a preview and take it from there.
“There will never be a musical reunion … oh, I should say on stage, never a musical reunion,” he added, laughing and refusing to give more details. “It means on stage nothing would happen.”
Björn says the prime motivation for the museum is being able to show his grandchildren what ABBA was about.
“The reason I am in this at all is that I am in Stockholm. This is where I will go past with my grandchildren and they will ask me what is in there, granddad. And I want to be proud of what is in there.”
Some of the entertainment industry’s most prominent establishments stand behind ABBA The Museum: Parks & Resorts (Gröna Lund and more), Universal, Polar Music, Synergera Rättighetsförvaltning and Eventum have all contributed to its existence.
Recently ABBA The Museum and Spotify, (an award winning digital music service whose dream is to make all the world’s music available instantly to everyone wherever and whenever they want it while making sure that the artists get a fair deal), have announced a unique collaboration. The goal is to integrate and extend the museum experience both through Spotify’s various platforms and within the actual museum.
Other business partners with an in-depth involvement include MasterCard, SJ, Stockholm Arlanda Airport and Viking Line. Media partners include SBS Radio and TV4.
The buzz surrounding the museum, (which anticipates 200,000-250,000 Swedish and international visitors during 2013), is now in full swing, as is the demand for tickets. In response, ABBA The Museum will release tickets for the opening three weeks 7 – 31 May on Thursday 13 December.
“We want to be available to everybody, from our very first opening day. Since a lot of music lovers and ABBA fans live outside of Sweden, we want to offer them a chance to get tickets beforehand in order to guarantee a unique first time visit”, says Mattias Hansson ABBA The Museum’s Managing Director.
Tickets, which cost SEK 195 (approx €23) and SEK 50 for children under the age of 8 (approx €6) will be time-slotted in a bid to cut queues and give all visitors a music experience of a lifetime.
For those who prefer to make a spur-of-the-moment visit to the museum in May, there will be a limited number of tickets on sale at the venue.