From Iceland — The Merchants’ Weekend Lowdown

The Merchants’ Weekend Lowdown

Published July 29, 2015

The Merchants’ Weekend Lowdown
Ciarán Daly
Photo by
Hörður Sveinsson

In Iceland, every first weekend in August is a bank holiday known as Merchants’ Weekend. With many Icelanders getting three or four days off work, things get pretty messy in the drinks department. However, with music and family-oriented festivals being held all across the country, there’s still something enjoyable for all ages and tastes. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights for the weekend. It’s all the fun of the fair!

Ein með öllu festival
When: July 30 – August 2
Where: Akureyri
Admission: Free!
Like Bæjarins Beztu hotdogs and the Tao, this festival is “one with everything.” Expect lots of family-oriented fun, circus performances, open-air concerts and nostalgia. Things are rumoured to get a bit more adult-friendly as the nights wear on.

When: July 31 – August 2
Where: Húrra and Gaukurinn, Reykjavík
Admission: 6,990 ISK
No weekend would be complete without the shitfaced hordes of downtown Reykjavík. Innipúkinn brings the Merchants’ Weekend festival fun to 101, with some of Iceland’s biggest and hippest acts set to rock the stages at Húrra and Gaukurinn—including Retro Stefson, Gísli Pálmi, sóley, Sin Fang, and Muck. Get to the liquor store early—the queue’s gonna be huge.

When: July 30 – August 3
Where: Neskaupstaður, Eastfjords
Admission: 1,000 ISK
Not to be confused with the metal festival Eistnaflug (“Flying Testes”), this romantic festival in the Eastfjords is aimed at family fun!

Mýrarbolti (Swamp football)
When: July 31 – August 2
Where: Ísafjörður, Westfjords
Admission: Free to spectate, 10,000 ISK to participate
This weekend sees the European Swamp Football Championship take place in Ísafjörður. Players are advised to tape their shoes to their feet, and the game includes rules such as the Pink Card (having to kiss other players’ booboos better if you injure them). Signing off at night will be musicians Blaz Roca and Retro Stefson, among others.
See also:
Playing Dirty In Ísafjörður

Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum
When: July 31 – August 2
Where: Westman Islands
Admission: 22,900 ISK
This “family” festival has been running since 1872 on the Westman Islands. You’ll need to get a boat there or be a good swimmer, but it pays off. It’s developed a reputation for being a bit of a wild (read: dangerous and scary) party weekend, so keep your beer helmet on and be careful out there.
See also: 
Let’s Talk About The Elephant in The Room

Norðanpaunk 2015
When: July 31 – August 2
Where: Laugarbakki
Admission: 4,000 ISK
Northern punk! This extreme DIY not-for-profit music fest is going to be naaasty. In a punk way. So it’s okay. Highlights include Kuml, Krupskaya, Misþyrming, Kælan Mikla, Pink Street Boys, and others.
See also:
Where Elves Dare Not Tread

Kotmót 2015
When: July 30 – August 3
Where: Kirkjulækjarkoti, Fljótshlíð
Admission: Free!
This is perhaps the most alternative festival on offer during Merchants’ Weekend. A five day extravaganza, its headliners include Stefan Christiansen, a Norwegian preacher famous for his lively sermons, as well as prayer circles, campfires, carnivals, a concert party, and general God-lovin’. The sinners attending the other festivals could learn a lot at Kotmót.

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