If you think Icelandic nightlife begins and ends in 101 Reykjavík, you’re missing a celebrated and notorious section of the local culture. As one local told us, “Sveitaball” (country balls) are one place where you can see the whole community getting together. You go out to a bar in Reykjavík or even Akureyri and you’ll see a room full of people who look the same.”
She was quite right. The range of participants at a midsummer sveitaball’s in Iceland’s countryside, where nobody has any plans but to have fun until the sun… continues to shine, is remarkable. The result of three generations dancing, drinking and making merry together is surreal.
We had stopped by the Þinghús Bar and Grill, which also serves as a guesthouse, to see the Reykjavík band Touch perform original pop music. Instead we found ourselves participating in sing-alongs of Borg Mín Borg and 500 Miles until four in the morning. Musically, the experience was unremarkable, except in that lead-singer of Touch Böddi was able to belt out numbers for four straight hours while keeping enough energy to kneecap a passerby and blend a range of amusing and preposterous curses into cover songs.
Regarding the letting off of steam: as it turned out, this was the sixth sveitaball in as many weeks that Þinghús had hosted. We’re guessing the party will continue all summer.