“Inspiration for the Whole World”: Foreign Media Rave About Icelandic Music Festival

British journalists from the Guardian, Times and Drowned in Sound have paid tribute to the annual ‘Aldrei for eg sudur‘ music festival which took place in Isafjordur over Easter.

“Along with the spectacular landscapes, it’s this ‘human’ element – local fishermen at the bar, babies in headphones, under-15s in the front row – that makes the event unique”, writes Paul Sullivan for the music website Drowned in Sound. He says it is an inspiration to the whole world to still be able to find such genuine music communities, which is what the ‘Aldrei for eg sudur’ music festival in Isafjordur is all about.

Rock and pop editor for The Times, Phoebe Greenwood, points to the impressive record of Isafjordur’s music school over the past 96 years. The school’s principal showed journalists around the school and explained it’s importance in the musical development of the West Fjords. Greenwood was surprised to hear that the world-famous conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy, would soon be coming to Isafjordur to conduct at the school. She was also impressed by the residents’ open mindedness; “in England, you could imagine a few small-town eyebrows being raised if a festival with bands names like Puke, Slugs, Dr Spock and HAM, arrived on their doorstep”. The article concludes that “it takes a particular charisma to get people to perform on the bitter fringes of the Arctic Circle” and she likens the event’s organisers, musician Mugison and his father, to town heroes for their efforts. Meanwhile the Guardian journalist says the best thing for her about the festival were the emotions she took home; “the conviction that if one leftfield musician and his dad can organise one of the coolest (in both senses) music festivals in the world by a half-frozen fjord, 50km south of the Arctic Circle, a plane ride away from anywhere sensible, then anything, absolutely anything, is possible”.

Further articles will be published in Clash magazine, on the Mojo website and in other German publications, including Focus, one of Germany’s biggest magazines. The main business review of the German music industry, Musik Woche, will soon publish an article and there are plans for a 4-5 page special feature on the Icelandic music scene in the run up to the PopKomm music festival in Berlin this September.

Icelandic Music Export (IMX) is a government-sponsored body which worked together with ‘Aldrei for eg sudur’ to promote the festival abroad. IMX are launching an Icelandic music website in June to bring together all the different strands of Icelandic music under one roof. The website will feature news, events, information on bands and artists and music articles.

For further information and to sign up to IMX’s quarterly music newsletter, visit www.icelandicmusic.is

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