On my first day at Eistnaflug, I experienced the reliable Skítur, the talented youths in Plastic Gods and the ho-hum hardcore of Actress, as well as discovering that if you keep beer at the very back of a Ford Focus, it remains relatively cool, even with sunlight pouring through the windows. Read on for more exciting escapades.
Friday, July 10th:
It’s 13:07 and I emerge from my tent to a fog-shrouded campsite. Everyone needs to buy more alcohol.
It’s 13:58 and lots of people are outside the venue to see the premiere of the Eistnaflug ’08 documentary, but the venue is not open and no-one knows what’s going on. Almost everyone is drinking.
The doors are eventually opened. My ability to recognise anyone at Eistnaflug 2009 is further hampered by the fact that four monitors obscure the subtitles that identify the talking heads in the movie.
15:35 PM: I wander aimlessly around the campsite. People are either sleeping or drinking their hangovers away.
16:30 Someone tells me BoB are not playing because someone is sick. Pussies.
16:47 People want to see Andlát, Mínus & HAM. They don’t want to see Vicky, Changer, Sólstafir or Swords of Chaos.
It’s 17:52 and I’m back at the venue. It’s still foggy and I’m still hung over. The guy selling the Eistnaflug ’08 movie won’t give me a copy, even though I’m in it and wrote one of the songs in the soundtrack.
18:24 Svartidauði are pretty cool.
19:31 Turns out BoB did play. Huh. I sit on a propeller drinking lukewarm beer as Toto plays from a car stereo.
19:59 Rumours that there will be a group masturbation session at the Vicky show are starting to spread. Someone is passed out in the middle of the street.
20:17 Everyone says Forgarðir Helvítis were awesome. Maybe I should have seen them. I wonder if I should go watch Changer. Probably not.
21:21 A drunk girl wanders onstage during Andlát’s set. A roadie kindly asks her to leave. The singer has gained some weight. “Uninspired,” someone tells me. The crowd seems to be enjoying itself, though. The drunk girl comes onstage again. She falls face-forward off the stage. No-one catches her. Someone laughs.
21:45 One guy waits for Vicky to start. He’s drunk off his ass and singing along to Dio. The music changes to Ensími’s Kafbátamúsík. I’d rather listen to Katbátamúsík on a good stereo than watch Vicky live.
22:01 In the end, Vicky aren’t half bad. Kind of boring, but not bad. I leave.
22:33 (Possibly 11:33, the handwriting is partially illegible) I sit in a car listening to Electric Six. I’m congested. Nothing happens. I blow my nose several times. People argue over beer.
23:37 I get a massive case of déjá vu. I’m still in the car, congested, listening to Silversun Pickups.
23:58 The venue is impossibly crowded and everyone at the entrance is singing Total Eclipse Of The Heart.
Saturday, July 11th:
0:02 Mínus start playing. I adjust my socks. They’re quite good, but the real excitement comes when the new bassist tries to reconnect his effects during the second song.
0:16 Everyone crowdsurfs and the band drinks a lot of beer.
1:05 Mínus finish their set. I walk outside for another beer. Someone vomits off the edge of the pier into the ocean. I sit on a bench and take notes. Everyone is ecstatic about seeing HAM. I sit and watch, mesmerized, as a cigarette burns out on a sidewalk tile.
2:24 And HAM wrap up. I can’t describe how badly I want a sandwich and a glass of water. They seem, however, to be unobtainable, so I lean on a car and close my eyes. I can’t seem to lose my mind drinking alcohol like other people do. I guess it’s not in my genes.
13:59 Random memories of yesterday: Someone walks up to me during the Svartidauði set, harmonizing his own backing vocals into my ear, loud. I have no idea how to react, so I harmonize back at him. Flies keep landing on a grapefruit I’m eating. I find a cellphone lying around somewhere and call the most-dialled number, trying to locate the owner. A girl meets me and takes the phone, saying she’ll get it to the rightful owner, but she hands me another phone, telling me to find its owner. It’s not as foggy today as it was yesterday.
15:56 I’ve just played an improv gig in an art installation. There was so much smoke in the room that I couldn’t see the drummer improvising with me from 5 feet away. I resolve to finish all the beer in my tent before doing anything else.
16:12 I shove two disgusting combinations of bread, meat and cheese into my mouth as I walk to the campsite. A young man, drunker than Graham Chapman on a film set, brandishes a cap gun. “Your hat or your life.”
18:28 Still in the tent, drinking and listening to Enya. Someone tells me Chino were lame.
20:12 Everyone has gone to see Mammút. I walk a considerable distance to have a shot of Stoli. On the way back to the tent Swords of Chaos give me some moonshine.
20:56 I share a joint and take a piss. The fog nestles against the mountain. My spit dangles off a tree leaf in a hypnotizing way.
21:44 and there’s two beers left in the tent. I may just be able to catch Tyrant if I drink fast. I just overheard one half of a phone conversation.
“HAM were so brilliant last night.”
“When they started playing Party Town, it was just amazing.”
“Could you do me a favour? Could you check my account, because I can’t believe I’ve spent that much money.”
Sunday, July 12th
It’s 02:43 and I watch someone steal a beer. Everyone is shrouded by smoke as people on the campsite burn everything flammable.
2:51 and everyone cheers as the Israeli flag, pilfered by some anarchist I don’t know, burns beautifully in the permanent dusk of the midnight sun. Someone puts Vangelis on. I drink more beer.
3:39 I go to the tent to find more beer but the girl sleeping in the tent is snoring in such a relaxing way that I almost fall asleep. I am drunk
9:48 I awaken to the sound of the tent being buffetted by gale-force winds. I blow my nose and go back to sleep.
My phone battery has died, and so has everyone else’s, leaving me with no way to tell the time, but it’s probably around noon. Random thoughts as the festival draws to a close:
1) How bizarre it is that this festival has become a staple event in this town.
2) Whether the senior citizens of Neskaupstaður just refer to it as the “the festival,” or is they actually say “Flight of the Testicles is coming next week, did you remember to buy extra garbage bin liners?”
3) What an unsubtle metaphor this fierce wind is.
4) Where the hell the car is.
There is a surprising variety of food being left behind. Something is still smoking under a plastic bag.
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!