Published August 10, 2007
It’s hard to deny that public drinking in Iceland becomes more visible over the summer when the 24-hour daylight motivates youngsters and adults alike to party like crazy at various gatherings in the capital and the countryside. Usually these parties go on smoothly, but as we have witnessed since forever, drunken locals gathering en masse can have some serious consequences. It’s hard to deny that fact either. Recent news reports on ear-biting girls and groups of intoxicated young adults on drugs beating each other up in downtown Reykjavík on weekends have raised questions among many of the country’s residents who have become fed up with the intolerable violent behaviour and shabbiness in the late-night capital. They demand action. Whether the situation is any worse today than decades ago has been the subject of heated debate, but in this issue of the Grapevine, Dr. Þórarinn Tyrfingsson tries to shed some light on the drinking problem and drug-abuse in the country.
For the past few years, one weekend in particular has been heavily associated with immense alcohol use and under-aged drinking. This is the annual three-day travel-holiday Verlunarmannahelgin, featuring celebrations in almost every small town around the country. During this particular weekend, three courageous Grapevine representatives set out for the journey into the unknown and drove the ring road – and plus some – trying to find the greatest outdoor festivals and national celebrations on the island. They came back exhausted, and a little bit shocked but with loads of photos to share with you readers.
There are more celebrations ahead. The preparations for the joyful gay parade is in full swing as the annual Gay Pride festival is just around the corner. This Saturday, gays, lesbians and transgendered as well as approximately 50,000 pedestrians will fill the streets of downtown Reykjavík to support gay-rights and have a good time while doing so. Be sure not to miss out on that, or on Haukur S. Magnússon’s article on the float preparation. If looking for some more midday fun, you should also check out our Reykjavík Culture Night extra in this issue, offering a full schedule on all of the diverse culture-oriented happenings taking place on August 18. The fact that approximately 100,000 people make their way downtown during that one day to watch a firework display should at least be something of interest. Just be sure to make a run for it before the groups of drunken’ locals take over the streets. Steinunn Jakobsdóttir, Assistant Editor