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Controversial Icelandic Independence Festival Spent 22 Million ISK On Lighting Alone

Controversial Icelandic Independence Festival Spent 22 Million ISK On Lighting Alone

Andie Fontaine
Words by
Photos by
Jakob Gleby/Wikimedia Commons

Published September 18, 2018

The festival celebrating 100 years since the Union Treaty between Iceland and Denmark that was held in Þingvellir National Park last July has sparked renewed controversy now that the line-item costs for the festival have been made public.

Fréttablaðið reports that the festival as a whole cost 86,985,415 ISK. Amongst the more outstanding costs to be revealed is that the lighting alone cost over 22 million ISK – especially bizarre considering the festival was held outside in the middle of the day.

In addition, the total cost went far beyond projections. When the festival was first being planned, it was estimated that it would cost about 45 million ISK.

This already adds insult to injury where many Icelanders are concerned. As reported, the choice to invite Pia Kjærsgaard, of the Danish People’s Party (who is also the parliamentary president of Denmark) drew plenty of criticism on its own.

Pia has on many occasions expressed anti-immigrant sentiment, in particular against Muslims, and continues to maintain a position of advocating for “Danish values”. Her presence at the festival prompted the Pirate Party to not attend.

This new revelation about the line-item cost of the festival has sparked renewed criticism of the event itself, especially as the government has said workers hoping to negotiate pay rises in the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations should not expect too much. A statement from the government has defended the cost, saying that as the event was broadcast live, a decision was made to choose only the very best lighting and sound system for the event.


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