laugardagur, apríl 25, 2009

Aldrei fór ég suður Festival 2009: The Reviews

Not only the Icelanders went to the Far West of Iceland.
Picture above features Ariel Hyatt kayaking nearby Ísafjörður on Easter Sunday (Photograph by Wim Van Hooste).
Here are some links to reviews by Foreign Guests:
Brian Murnin of Clash Magazine
Aldrei For Eg Sudur - The Clash Review
Clash rocks out in Iceland to the cream of the local crop...
So what do you think is the northernmost music festival in the world? Take ten guesses and I bet you can’t even get close. You certainly wont find it on the web… yet…
The answer is the riotous springtime showcase, Aldrei For Eg Sudur (translated: I Never Went South), situated 66°4'14"N, 23°7'46"W, just shy of the Arctic Circle on the most north-western tip of the volcanic wonder that is Iceland.
Devised over a beer after a gig at the ICA London, Aldrei is a wonderful, unique and utterly freezing celebration of the Icelandic hot-pool of talent, led emphatically by virtuoso of music and merrymaking Mugison, alongside his father PapaMugi, local hero and Harbour Master of the festival’s location, Isafjordur (Ice Fjord).
Greg Neate (
After a 360-degree descent, we land on to an icy runway strip that perches on the shoreline of a huge snow covered fjord. Travelling with Dutch band, the Bent Moustache, our similarly hungover but smiling flight companions warmly ask "Are you in a Fee-LING?!" This literal English translation of a native tongue crowd-rallying cry has become a call to good times already.
We all then bundle with guitar cases, bags and skis into a bus that drives around the lake passing pony-sized horses under overcast skies into the nearby, snow blanketed town. At 9am on Good Friday it appears all but deserted and like another world. Where are we? Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason from múm explains “This is the best rock festival in the world. Here and Fuji Rock!"
Now in it's sixth year, the Aldrei fór ég Suður festival is organised by Mugison, or Örn Elías Guðmundsson when he's not playing with his eponymous band on Ipecac recordings. Along with father Mugi, bands from across Iceland are invited to their home town to play the most north-westerly music festival in Europe in Ísafjörður, capital of the Westfjords and for this weekend, the Icelandic Rock City.
But beyond its extreme location (the festival’s name means I Never Went South) and nigh-entirely domestic line-up, this is no corporate event or national talent show. Even in these days of kreppa, Iceland's Depression; it's both a demonstration and celebration of Iceland's continuing creativity and confidence. Besides where else can you see a country's collective of melodic indie kids, rocker dudes, family crooners, hip-hop heads and a nation's George Best all on one stage? What's more each act plays for free and has a fixed 25 minutes, regardless of reputation, to both set up and play before the next act is due.
Paul Sullivan for More Intelligent Life - The Economist
Paul again @ Iceland Music Export (IMX) Site
This year’s Aldrei fór ég suður– the unique community festival started in the remote Westfjords by Mugison in 2003 – was yet another roaring success. The vibe was essentially the same as it has been in previous years: a multi-generational gathering of locals and international visitors watch a plethora of Iceland bands (and one from the neighbouring Faroe Islands) in a chilly fishing warehouse in the tiny town of Ísafjörður.
As always, pretty much every genre known to man was represented, beginning with the jaunty Klezmer Kaos on Day 1 and ending with some searing rock & roll from Faroese starlets Boys In A Band on Day 2. In between we were treated to a real mix of stuff: post rock from Sudden Weather Change; fun electro-pop from FM Belfast; heavy rock from Dr. Spock, Reykjavik!, and Agent Fresco; post punk from Mammut; hip hop from Sesar A & Blazroca; pastoral whimsy from mum.
And that’s without Mugison’s grinding blues, Sin Fang Bous' (feat. Sindri of Seabear) beautiful noise, indie popsters Vicky; a decidedly quirky set from Hemmi Gunn and lots more great music from bands like Bent Moustache, Klikkhausarnir, Stórsveit Vestfjarða, Who Knew, BIX and Dikta (amongst others).
If I could have changed anything at this years festival I would have liked the weather to be worse,” comments main man Mugison. “I like it when the weather is bad because people stick together more; they get closer to one another. But apart form that it was perfect. What surprised me was how experienced we have become. It was the 6th year that we’ve done the festival and the level of experience kicked in for the first time. Even though we’d always been pretty loose and not that organized we got even more loose this year. I loved it. There is some real magic to the festival, it’s hard to explain, just one of these things you have to experience I guess. It’s all love, love, love somehow.”
In traditional Aldrei style, all the artists had just 20 minutes to play (with no soundcheck!), and there was pylsur and tasty plokkfiskur aplenty for the masses. Good music, scrummy food and an atmosphere unlike any other festival in the world. Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it: 2010 will, we’re quite sure, be every bit as good.

Engin ummæli: