On the first weekend in August, many campsites implemented age limits on campers in an attempt to cut down on incidents involving youths and alcohol.
In Iceland, the weekend is known as the merchant’s weekend or Verslunarmannahelgi. It is a weekend for fun, parties, camping and visiting friends. It is the weekend when record numbers of Icelanders are on the road and traveling abroad.
The weekend has also developed a reputation as the time when alcohol and drugs are consumed, particularly by teenagers and young people. In recent years, a number of accidents and crimes have occurred over the period including assaults and rapes, many of which occur under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
A campsite in the south in Laugarvatn therefore introduced a blanket ban on campers under the age of 30 unless accompanied with adults. The council of Akureyri also declared all city campsites off-limits to youths aged 18 to 23 for the duration of the problematic weekend.
That meant for Akureyri festival director, Bragi Bergmann, that the people he was hoping to come to his festival couldn’t because they were not able to find a cheap place to stay. He said the measures were causing him to lose money this summer.