HISTORY OF THE SNOWBALL
History and the start of The Snowball
2004 The Snowball was started by Kenneth Norbelie and Mohan Pakkurti. They wanted to combine a great social swing dance party and the ultimate lindy workshop with the best instructors in one big event located in Stockholm. The first Snowball took place at the end of December and ended with a big New Year’s party.
2005 We found a new location at the Stockholm Museum of Music and engaged the special Snowball All Star Band as our musicians in the evenings. The event was now almost twice as big as the first year!
2006 This year classes was held at Stockholm Dance Center and the New Years party at a ballroom called Lyran, just beside Hard Rock Café in Stockholm.
2007 The organization of Snowball changed and expanded. Hasse & Marie Mattsson were passed the baton from Mohan and became organizers together with Kenneth & Helena. The number of participants at the camp increased. There was a need for a new and bigger venue in the future.
2008 All evening dances were held at the brand new and elegant Clarion Sign Hotel in Stockholm, in their grand ballroom. The New Year's Eve dinner was served at the hotel and many of our participants opted to stay on site. Rumors of the fantastic hotel breakfast spread throughout the lindy hop community.
2009 The event had more bands playing over the course of 7 nights. The house band featured Steven Mitchell & Malcolm Holt as the Rhythm Catz with the Gordon Webster Sextet, along with guest singer Miss Naomi Uyama.
2010 Our sixth year of the Snowball. For the first time we had a Show & Performance class and also a small teachers show. Evaluations of Snowball told us that we are close to our goals – to arrange the ultimate workshop and to engage the best instructors. But close was not enough- we aimed for perfection.
2011 The seventh year classes were held at Clarion Sign and at Dansens Hus, the new balboa floor in Clarion upper was a success and became a permanent solution. The evaluation gave us some hints on improvements to make the Snowball even better, and we were able to implement most in 2012.
2012 In our eight year at the Snowball we introduced our successful and memorable band battles, first between Gordon Webster Sextet with Steven Mitchell & Naomi Uyama and Gentlemen & Gangsters, second between Gordon Webster Sextet with Steven Mitchell & Naomi Uyama and Stockholm Swing All Star band.
2013 Some memorable moments this year were the bands playing together, the invitational lindy hop competition, and all the fantastic dancers who attended. The Challenge – our competition had more participants than we expected, which made it possible for The Snowball to donate 10 000 SEK to the Frankie Manning foundation! The Hot Sugar band made their debut at The Snowball.
2014 The 10th year anniversary innovations: two bands each evening, new decorations in the ballroom, going from red velvet to shiny gold, bands in the hotel bar for two afternoons, bands on the balboa floor for two evenings, and the celebration of the 10th year with 1000 portions of cake! Like the previous year The Challenge made it possible to donate 10 000 SEK to the Frankie Manning Foundation.
2015 This year we broadcast all our competitions and most performances via a live web cast. We also had big screens in both the main ballroom and in the balboa room to display what was going on. Naomi and her Handsome Devils debuted at the Snowball playing both for the lindy and the balboa floor. We opened the area outside the balboa floor for vendors. We put a brand new floor in the balboa room. The evaluations showed that we were still on the right track, but we were always trying to improve.
2016 This year we tried a new competition concept by adding a late night slow/blues contest. The blues floor got a live band for the first time, Joakim Falk Blue Devils. The Challenge made it possible to donate money and this year we chose to give it to Mr Chazz Young.
2017 This year we added a late night fast feet competition, we had new decorations in the ballroom (from gold to shiny silver). For the first time we had live band in Clarion Upper on the 31st, it was the Hot Sugar Band, and once again The Challenge made it possible to donate money, and again we chose to give it to Mr Chazz Young.
2018 Our 14th year, we are only using Clarion Sign and Pelarsalen (external venue) as class venues from now on, class schedule was extended to accommodate less class rooms. For many years Alexandre has been our event photographer and it's been fantastic, this year we decided to try a new photographer and Sabina has done a great job! We had more vendors than ever this year and new emcee in Clarion ballroom was Peter Strom. Christoffer Johansson made his debut at The Snowball blues floor this year.
2019 Our 15th year anniversary! A successful year at Clarion Hotel Sign. This year we worked with a new photographer, David Paul, and he did a fantastic job capturing the event we love so much. We decided that the Balboa room too needed its own dedicated emcee and Taylor Stender was invited to take the stage. A job she performed greatly. In the main ballroom Maja Hellsten (for the first time) and Peter Strom shared the emceeing. Enric Piedro Swingtet from Valencia, Spain and Hornsgatan Jazz Orchestra from Stockholm, Sweden made their debut at The Snowball this year and the dance floor was on fire.
2020 A very different year due to Covid-19, The Snowball became a virtual event and all classes was pre-recorded. In the evenings we had band videos from previous year’s. It was bittersweet and how we missed the good old days when we took dancing, traveling and our swing dance family for granted!
2021 We came remarkably close, but our aspirations took an unexpected turn on December 22 when, to our regret, we had to cancel The Snowball due to the imposition of new COVID-19 restrictions in Sweden. Simultaneously, behind the scenes, Marie and Hasse found themselves navigating new professional challenges, and a desire to prioritize family led them to the decision to depart from 4 Swedes Production and The Snowball.
Despite this shift, there's a silver lining in the clouds. Kenneth and Helena swiftly forged connections with new partners, ensuring that 4 Swedes remains a quartet. Introducing Henric and Joanna Stillman, as new partners, who seamlessly step into the fold and continue the collaborative efforts.
2022 Regrettably, Clarion Hotel Sign faced an unexpected hurdle, as local regulations prohibited music after 21:00. With the inability to continue The Snowball there, we shifted to Quality Hotel Friends. While it felt strange not being in central Stockholm, the venue was excellent, providing close and easy access between the Lindy Ballroom, Balboa Ballroom, and Blues Lounge. Despite the change, we strive to enhance the experience, and we appreciated our participants' understanding for the change.
2023 We decided to stay at Quality Hotel Friends. As part of our commitment to enhancing the overall experience, we introduced a brand-new lounge area where attendees could relax between classes and during evening dances.
This year, we were thrilled to host a lineup of 13 bands/artists, including the return of the Gordon Webster Band. Welcoming new additions such as Shirt Tail Stompers, Stockholm Hot Seven, Mimmi and the Original Blue, Hot Swing Sextet, and Stef Rosen added exciting diversity to the musical offerings.
2024 The Snowball celebrates its 20th year! We anticipate sharing numerous unforgettable moments with you and dancers from around the globe throughout the event. Our wish is for The Snowball to provide everyone with a truly memorable New Year celebration!