[Contributor Cameron Allan takes a look at one of the quirkiest annual music festivals on the planet. – AC]
Secret Solstice recently announced who would helm stage for the straight 96 hours of radiant sunlight in the Nordic capital of Reykjavik this summer.
Of the spectacles included in it are 5 from the UK, including rap sensation, Stormzy, burgeoning hip-hop artists, J Hus and IAMDDB, 80’s romantic probe, Bonnie Tyler, and Skream, who rounds the region out with some bombastic dubstep. Adding to the electronic flair is American house legend, Steve Aoki and from the same region, hip-hop contemporaries, 6LACK and Goldlink, alongside his frequenting neo-soul collaborator, Masego, and turntablist, A-Trak.
Representing the host country are Icelandic mainstay rockers, Jet Black Joe and new-age singers, Högni.
Lone wolves, Death From Above and Charlotte de Witte, a pop-rock band from Canada and a techno DJ from Belgium, refuse to have their countries unrepresented either.
On the periphery, those who have ever fantasized about throwing a party in the fortress of solitude, or a villain’s volcanic lair, will have their next best chance at doing so. Langjökull, a deep subterranean glacier, and Raufarhólshellir, a network of dormant lava tunnels and caverns, will be the geologic venues for the festival hosted side parties, of which tickets are limited for obvious reasons.
Eclecticism has always been a prerogative for this young, ambitious Icelandic festival, and like anything young, it has a triumphant identity problem. It gets its nuance in a tight market not by being totally novel, but by considering its contenders’ strengths and respecting traditions. It’s a meta-music festival, organized at once under a promotion of local artists, recognition of national ones, and the celebration of a holiday, a country and an ecosystem. It refuses to limit its scope, incorporating a variety of genres and eras instead of one, a kaleidoscope of cultures alternatively from a few, and a celebration for a flicker of natures beauty rather than a sheltering from it.