The second coming of Grapevine Grassroots is upon us. The Reykjavík Grapevine and Húrra partnered to resurrect the former celebration of up-and-comers across art mediums through poetry readings, musical performances, graphic design and illustration. The two fresh-faces leading the charge this time round are, Þórhildur Tinna Sigurðardóttir and Alexander Jean Edvard le Sage de Fontenay. From the start, the pair had grand ambitions. The emphasis was on diversity in everything from music genres, to artistic styles, to age ranges, and the demographics various performers would attract. “Potentially, we have all these beautiful, good-looking, nice-sounding things and we just have to frame them nicely,” Alexander says.
Poetry readings precede Johnny Gazzone’s emo-trap-hip-hop stylings, with Náttsól subsequently introducing their brand of indie folk music. Antimony is arguably the event’s most well-known performer (they’ll be rubbing elbows with Sigur Rós at the Citadel Festival in London). However, Þórhildur says that there are no true headliners in the traditional sense of the word. “The common way to think about a concert is that someone headlines, you know, somebody is the star,” Alexander reasons. “But Grassroots, in my head, means that everyone is the same, everyone is collaborating and putting effort into it equally.”
Even the night’s promotions were grassroots in their origins. Alexander and Þórhildur wanted as many details of the event to be platforms for showcasing artist’s work–so when it came time for designing a poster, the pair thought of it as yet another opportunity. Illustrator, Elín Edda, and graphic designer, Elvar Smári Júlíusson, were given carte blanche in their collaboration. For example, Elín is known for works exhibiting strong black outlines contrasting with faded yellows and oranges. “At first [when I saw the poster design] I was like, ‘This is not what Elín does.’ But then I thought, ‘This is really nice, I really like it.’ She’s gotten a couple of projects and I think people are always demanding what she’s already done but we just said to her, ‘Do whatever you want.’ And I think that was nice for her to get the opportunity to be her own boss and do what she wanted to do with this,” þórhildur says.
Þórhildur and Alexander have been meticulous in their approach, aiming to cultivate everything from a wide-ranging group of attendees to a particular milieu. The two say most weekday events have a distinct set up, one that has become a bit too familiar. In an attempt to breath fresh life into such functions, Þórhildur, who works at a flower shop, thought of staging a weekday-event-ambience coup. “I’m going to take various green plants, different sizes, some that hang, and drape some and hang others to change the setup because it’s always the same atmosphere. And I really want people to walk in and be like, ‘Woah, what’s going on’. This will be like Húrra in its fine clothing.”
Many venues around Reykjavík are affiliated with specific music genres. The pair think Húrra books an eclectic enough mix of talent that it’s an ideal ground for the crowd they hope to assemble. “I’ve been thinking of Grassroots as these hidden gems, some of them are rough and some of them are polished and nice but they are not getting the attention they need and should have to prosper,” Þórhildur says. “Here in Reykjavík the same bands keep getting booked, so this is a really nice opportunity for these little gems to get out there.”
Sunday evening will be the first in a series of three Grapevine Grassroots events.
Enjoy Grassroots this Sunday, June 12 from 20:00-02:00 at Húrra.
And feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in performing or sharing your artwork at future Grapevine Grassroots events.