Grapevine contributor/photographer Sigurður Ragnarsson gives us the low-down on his experience at Secret Solstice 2019 iteration.
Walking into Laugardalur, I was greeted by a sea of golden vests, police officers, thick vape clouds, and pre-teens on the phones desperately pleading with their parents to help them get past the intensely guarded entrance. I had arrived at my destination: Secret Solstice.
Having never been before, I didn’t know what to expect, but I stumbled along carrying 20 kg of camera gear towards the Valhalla stage where Bríet was to take the stage in less than 10 minutes.
Bríet is an incredible songstress, to say the least. Her performance was a world-class display of her musical skills and crowd engagement. Having seen her numerous times live, it is quite easy for me to say that she is one of Iceland’s most gifted artists.
As is the next performer I saw, Auður. Auður, who by now is probably familiar to everyone reading this, is one of my favourite musicians, so I was, to put it lightly, over the moon when he took the stage. And I wasn’t disappointed: He killed it with his performance. His positive energy and passion for his music shone right through to the audience. Everyone was engaged and enjoying themselves. To be blunt, The admission price would have been worth it just to see his performance.
My favourite performance of Day 1, though, came from the feminist protest punk band Pussy Riot. Having missed the first half of their show, I had no idea what was going on when I finally got up to the stage. All I could feel was that a fast hard bass style beat was pumping through the speaker system, the band was jumping up and down energetically in a vapour mist, and singing something in Russian, which I could not understand. There was a feeling of enthusiasm in the air, and it was quite a good one.
Day 2 was much more relaxed. I arrived around 18:00 with one goal: to check out Iceland’s Eurovision saviours, Hatari. Having only seen them live once, I was quite impressed with their performance. They gave off a real neo-synth punk BDSM superstar vibe and put on a pretty marvellous performance, all in all.
After their show, I hung out at the backstage area of the Gimli stage waiting for a band called Boy Pablo to take the stage. I have been following their career for a few months, and I was pretty excited to see them live.
Luckily for me, they did not disappoint. In front of an audience of probably 100 people they danced, played, and sung as if they were playing to 1,000,000 people. It was a truly memorable performance.
For Day 3, I spent all day at the Gimli stage watching the crème de la crème of the Icelandic rap scene killing it in front of an audience of what must have been a few thousand people.Flóni, Birnir, Sturla Atlas, Birgir Hákon, Logi Pedro—the list of amazing artists was endless. Birnir was a personal favourite though. His show incredibly energetic and raw.
I ended the day by seeing Robert Plant, the Golden God himself. His performance was really intimate, and his vocals sound as good now as they did on all of the Led Zeppelin records. It was a perfect way to end an incredible weekend.
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!