The last weekend in July, Icelanders traditionally hold the largest, most brash, most country party of the year, Verslunarmannahelgi. For the last decade, the highlight of this holiday has been the music festival at the Westman Islands, called Þjóðhátíð Í Eyjum—a festival that thousands of city kids attend in cheap tents to hear… well, few have ever reported back on what music is actually performed.
This year, locals can still take the ferry out to the Þjóðhátíð in the Westman Islands for rain, drinks and music, or they can partake in Reykjavík’s new answers to the festival. Innipúkinn, (indoor devil), will be held at NASA over two days, and will feature critically acclaimed foreign bands Blonde Redhead, Raveonettes, Cat Power and Jonathan Richman, as well as Iceland’s most celebrated live acts Hjálmar, Trabant, Mugison and Singapore Sling, among dozens of other local bands. Innipúkinn always offered solid competition with the Westmans, simply by being under a room, but this year the festival, organized by Grímur Atlason, has the best line-up of any concert of the year. If you’re a music lover, it’ll be hard to leave Reykjavík.
To throw one more kink into the mix, the Níhil Poetry Group, in association with Klink og Bank, will be holding something of a two-day poetry extravaganza. Opening on Friday, July 29th, with a party and reading featuring Mugison and his Ísafjörður compadre Eirikur Örn Norðdahl among many others at Klink og Bank, followed the next day with a symposium at the Nordic House featuring international poets including Christian Bök and Billy Childish.
There are three ways to get to the Westman Islands:
1. Flugfélag Íslands (www.flugfelag.is) flies from the Reykjavík airport. Phone: 570-3600.
2. Eyjaflug (www.eyjaflug.is) flies from Bakki, in South Iceland. Phone: 481-3255.
3. Herjólfur (www.herjolfur.is) sails from Þorlákshöfn. Phone: 481-2800.
Innípúkinn tickets available at 12 Tónar Music Store and Hive.is. 3900 ISK for the weekend, 2900 ISK for one day.
For more information on the poetry festivities, check out www.ljod.is.