Easter is right around the corner, which means one thing for the Westfjord town of Ísafjörður—it’s about to get really busy. Since 2004, the town has been proudly hosting a truly unique musical gathering. Named after a song by Bubbi Morthens “Aldrei fór ég suður” (“I never went south,” in English), it’s a special springtime celebration of the Icelandic music scene and the geographical area of the Westfjords. The fifteenth edition of the festival is going to take place on the last weekend of March.
Shrimp factory power-up
“What makes this one stand out among other music festivals in Iceland, is that it’s eclectic, unpredictable, but at the same time very family-friendly,” recounts one of the organisers, Kristján Freyr Halldórsson, a prolific musician himself (being a member of Prins Póló and Reykjavík!). Along with a group of like-minded people, they managed to create a space where everyone can feel welcome, have fun and spend some quality time together, no matter what their age or background.
There truly is something for everyone. Aldrei features a wide variety of music genres and a diverse event schedule running almost around the clock. It’s a well-known fact that once the gigs at the main festival venue (a former shrimp factory given a more glamorous second life) are all finished, it’s time for the after-parties. Locals like the festival’s founder Mugison play their favourite tracks at bars all around town for people to dance the night away.
Hardcore & edge
This year, the line-up presents itself as interesting as ever, showcasing a diverse range of Icelandic talent. The feisty rockers of Kolrassa Krókríðandi, hardcore collective Une Misère, and the metalheads from Dimma will bring some guitar-heavy action, while an experimental edge will be provided by Hatari and Cyber.
Kuldaboli will bring Berlin techno vibes and we can also count on stellar performances by the alt-pop/R&B star Auður, the teenage indie-folk darlings Between Mountains, and young rappers Jói og Króli. Speaking of youth, a DJ set by a seven-year-old is also on the schedule.
The whole endeavour is fuelled by an unmistakable DIY spirit, and a pure desire to just make things happen and have some fun along the way. Aldrei strengthens the local community, and attracts attention from outside—the population of the town doubles during the festival. Best of all? Admission to the concerts is free for everyone.