The third annual Aldrei Fór Ég Suður music festival will return to the remote town of Ísafjörður, Saturday the 15th of April. The festival’s name, which translates to ‘I Never Went South’ is borrowed from a song title by Bubbi Morthens, a former migrant worker (however far he might be removed from those days), and refers to the increasing urbanisation of Icelandic society.
A celebration of local talent and rural heritage, the festival is the brainchild of Ísafjörður’s own, and one of Iceland’s more celebrated artists, Mugison. He claims that the idea behind it was born one night when he and his father were drinking beer and talking about how cool it would be to put together a festival where the stars would take a back seat to local talent, and the real attraction would just be the company of the decent and down-to-earth people of Ísafjörður.
“I started talking to people about it and everybody was really open to the idea. Before we realised it, we had recruited more than 20 bands, and we did not even have a venue, much less the money to pay for flights and accommodations. But we really couldn’t back out of it, so we went down on our knees to beg for money and support,” he told the Grapevine. “We’ve always intended for this to be a non-profit event. Everyone is giving their work, and there is no entrance fee. We just try to make it fun and entertain the audience and ourselves.”
Much in line with the festival’s ideals, special attention is given to lesser-known local artists such as Jón Kr Ólafsson from Bíldudalur and the West Fjords Accordion Society. Mugison says he is especially excited to see the performance by the Accordion Society.
“They have gathered around 25 old geezers who play the accordion from all over the West Fjords and they have been rehearsing an act especially for this event. They will be playing a bunch of Deep Purple songs with the main song being Sweet Child in Time.”
Now that’s entertainment.
Other notable acts include the reunion of KAN, Herbert Guðmundsson’s (a cult figure in Icelandic music) first band. The festival also features several representatives of the Reykjavík scene, including the punk outfit Rass.
“I am really looking forward to seeing them play Burt Með Kvótann (End the Quota) in Ísafjörður,” Mugison says, referring to the Icelandic fishing quota system, which has been wildly unpopular in the West Fjords.
As of publication, the confirmed full line-up includes the following: The Hafdís Bjarna Band, Hermigervill, Mugison with Rassi Prump, Rúnar Þórisson, Baggalútur, Mr. Silla, Benni Hemm Hemm, Rass, 701, Reykjavík!, NineElevens, Kristinn Níelsson, Þröstur Jóhannesson, The West Fjords Accordion Society, KAN, Jón Kr Ólafsson, Borkó, Ísafjörður’s Secondary School Boys Choir, Hairdoctor, Ghostigital and Jet Black Joe.
The Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival is free, and takes place Saturday, April 15th in Ísafjörður. For more information, log on to www.skidavikan.is/festival.