The Secret Solstice Midnight Sun Music Festival ( was pegged by everyone from the Guardian to yours truly as the international music destination of choice this summer. Held June 20 – 22 in Reykjavik, Iceland on the grounds of the capital city’s main community football and skating facilities in the toney ‘hood of Laugardalur, the new event even included pagan themed stages and site and a volcano-heated geothermal pool.
Nonetheless, another nice touch to a three day-long party that took place during the period of the year when the sun doesn’t set for a period of 72 hours. These turned out to be the real discoveries as the music scene in the island nation is incredibly varied and even the most mainstream acts such as Mammut deliver the goods without the predictability we’ve come to expect from anyone that cleans up at GRAMMY-equivalent awards shows.
The level of musicality is exceptional and a long tradition of both classical and brass band music means that it’s not unusual to have a feedback-drenched trumpet or bassoon blasting out a solo where you’d expect the guitar to be in a tune by my personal faves Hjaltalin. Hard-drinking, loud-talking Viking descendants with a penchant for strips of dried-fish as a bar snack, the crowd at Secret Solstice was a joy. By day two, it started to sink in that at a festival where people were getting their party on hard, not a fight or incident to be seen.
All of which is to say that none of the yobbish behavior that so annoys at most Canadian event was evident.
The local English language weekly, the Grapevine, even ran a cover story on how weird Iceland’s “hook-up” scene is. Frankly, opening day started too early for a Friday when folks who can afford tickets are working. Both the dance tent Askur and the massive late night spot in Hel were slamming good times all weekend long.
Also, by doing this some of the excellent bands that held court on the Gimli stage could get more time to play.

But the true showstopper of the whole of Secret Solstice was having Massive Attack head on stage and the near-constant cloud cover part to reveal the blue sky and blazing sun shining down; at midnight. This performance fuelled a particularly raging night in Hel, followed by the final late hour cruise down Reykjavik’s main bar strip on Laugavegur road where last call appears to be around 5 a.m. Alessandra, 32, donned brown cowboy boots and lacy white shorts held up by a studded leather belt.
The mother-of-two was stunning in a light cotton hippie blouse and felt stetson hat.The Brazilian beauty accessorized with a tasseled leather pouch and lace-webbed wrap. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. This was the winning pitch addend to a line-up headed by Bristol’s Massive Attack, Los Angeles rapper Schoolboy Q and UK electro-pop duo Disclosure with such legends of the DJ world as Carl Craig and the likes. Perhaps the period of the year when the sun doesn’t shine at all gives ample time for practice and going buggy enough to work all manner of unusual ideas into songs. Many were even taking the time to put their butt ends into a bin rather than grind them out on the grass grounds. My female companion was reveling in the welcome absence of sexist chest-beating and general jock boorishness. Sadly, it seemed to suggest that the general order of things being “sex, kids, dinner, date and maybe marriage” was somehow wrong because it meant men weren’t “playas.” Talk about missing the point. This meant two excellent bands — Russian Girls and Fufanu – really didn’t get seen by anyone.
The third DJ-based spot – Edda – could probably be scrapped as its location rarely drew much of a crowd and the sound bleed from Valholl main stage to the Gimli stage could be helped relocating Gimli where Edda is.

Fronted by Game of Thrones cast member Natalie Tena (she’s the wilding woman Osha), the UK crew’s punk-polka is addictive as they come.
With Martina Topley-Bird back in the mix and the venerable Horace Andy, the trip-hop progenitors did dark and moody classics such as Teardrop and Blue Lines justice in broad night light.
While beer is not outrageously priced, a sandwich and coffee can run $30, accomodations are somewhat price and gas is staggering.
We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. This is a place where the entire prison population in 2013 was 197 (of whom 17% were foreigners). Ditto their colleagues in the burgeoning neo-folk scene, Rum Buffalo, who killed it on the final night with a delightfully shambolic set of swing and Edwardian dress. Iceland might be one of the best places on earth for twenty-something trekkers intent on hiking molten peaks and staggeringly beautiful fjord hillsides and a music fest to go with it just makes sense. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. They lead bands, match or exceed the lads brew for brew, elect lesbian single moms to run the place.

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