It may strike you as strange but the Great Fish Day festival is one of the most popular in Iceland. PIC inspiredbyiceland

It may strike you as strange but the Great Fish Day festival is one of the most popular in Iceland. PIC inspiredbyiceland

This guide will make the official tourism office ban Total Iceland for the rest of days and we will hardly be very popular with any municipalities either. But heck, you only live once right?

The year 2015 is upon this small windswept island as elsewhere and that means yet another round of annual festivals to prepare for. As before we feel the need to advise you that although cute and cuddly, a big chunk of “festivals” here are only a few years old and specifically made to entice the growing mass of foreign tourists. In turn, that means high probability of disappointment for you the visitor. Thus “festivals” like the lobster festival, the red-hair festival, the fast-car festival, the herring festival, the festival of hope and others will perhaps simply be a waste of a time.[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]Set up camp, pour some wine, make love[/blockquote]

Roughly ten years ago the only festivals held in this country were outdoor festivals over the weekend of Verslunarmannahelgi. This particular weekend held the last weekend of July or the first of August, has for decades been designated the weekend to go to the country and make love, hay or whatever else comes to mind. Originally it was intended for folks working in stores and shops since hours were long and time off was not. Never mind that the only peoples NOT getting any days off are people working in stores and shops. We still partied like its 1999 and still do.

Then some bright individual had the idea of using other weekends of summer to lure tourists to specific towns or villages. This proved so effective for while that the next year a few more towns and villages had some kind of “special” weekend festival. Et cetera, et cetera and now most places offer some kind of gathering over summer weekends.

Which is why we wanted to tell you about five real festivals here in Iceland. Festivals not specifically made for foreigners but real ones. They are, in no particular order:

  1. ALDREI FÓR ÉG SUÐUR >> This music festival held yearly in Isafjordur in March is distinct for the reason that it became reality through the grassroot. The name stands for people that never went south and refers to musicians from the countryside that did not get sidetracked by leaving for Reykjavik capital. Local musicians themselves decided to throw a good party and lo and behold, today this is one of the absolute best places to be in March. Regardless of weather which can be 50/50 good or bad. Homepage here.
  2. HUMARHÁTÍÐIN >> In Hornfjordur town in the Southeast corner of Iceland people get together the last weekend of June or the first weekend of July for some time out and more importantly for some delicious lobster. This being the home of many lobster fishermen it is a natural venue and lots of things going on all weekend. Info here.
  3. FISKIDAGURINN MIKLI >> In the small village of Dalvik in the North of the country a very successful party takes place in August each year. Over ten thousand people gather here, mostly locals, to sample all kinds of gourmet stuff from the sea. Hence the name which means the Great Fish Day. What started over ten years ago as a way of showing locals all the various ways of eating more fish and in more variety draws huge crowds now and has expanded to include a fireworks show and local musicians take to a stage to keep the party going. Well worth a visit and a great way to taste lots of different tapas-like dishes of fish. Homepage here.
  4. SKJALDBORGARHÁTÍÐIN >> The small village of Patreksfjordur in the Westfjord area of Iceland holds a rather special short film festival every year and the event has been gathering momentum each year. The setting is weird indeed but it works like magic and the village being small the closeness is immense. Very well worth a visit. Homepage here.
  5. LUNGA >> If anyone doubts how the creative juices flow like mad rivers in smaller places all doubts will be laid to rest by visiting Seydisfjordur town over this creative festival. This rather peaceful place suddenly bursts with life and when the weather holds young peoples can be seen working on hundreds of different projects in most streets here. If the weather does not cooperate it all moves indoors and is no less fun to watch. Homepage here.

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