The annual festival Secret Solstice takes place during the summer solstice in Iceland, celebrating 24 hours of light. Anyone who lives up north definitely appreciates this light after such a long period of darkness. So, naturally, they need a party to celebrate.
The festival is just outside the city centre with views of Iceland’s natural wonder.
I can’t tell you how exhilarating it is to walk out of a gig at 11.45pm, and still experience daylight. And not to mention the breath-taking backdrop of the mountains in one of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders (you can see some more photos of these wonders in my travel diary HERE).
The festival is themed around Norse mythology and the stages are named accordingly: Askur, Valhalla, Gimli, Ragnarok and Fenrir, with Icelandic men filling the festival, looking like they stepped right out of Ásgarðr (the home of Norse gods).
And let’s not forget the lineup. The 2016 event featured the likes of Of Monsters and Men, Action Bronson, Die Antwood, Deftones and RADIOHEAD, who were playing Iceland for the first time at this festival. Suffice it to say, there was something for everyone. There’s also a strong focus on local up and comers and the ones in-between.
But there’s more to Secret Solstice than just the festival, there’s some amazing and unique side events. Like the performance of Deftone’s front man Chino Moreno inside the Thrihnuagigur Volcano 400ft underground, which unfortunately I missed as only 35 people could fit inside. There was also a Midnight Sun Boat Party and Glacier Party.
The festival gives you a taste of Iceland and apparently the world’s best hotdog, great camping and even a Hot Tub (see photo, overlooking the main stage).
The highlight for me was without question Radiohead.
I waited a long… long… long time to finally see this band live and they didn’t disappoint. They opened with “Burn the Witch”, the first released and opening track from their latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool, which was followed by a slew of new songs until they unleashed “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”, “My Iron Lung “and “No Surprises”. With 2 encores and an rendition of the rarely played “Creep” largely sung by the audience (as it had been in Barcelona earlier that month), I was in Radiohead heaven!
Other highlights from the festival included:
All in all, this was a breathtaking festival. And for those playing at home, here’s a look back at the setlist Radiohead played on the night. Or was it day? It all gets confusing with that much sun…
Burn the Witch
Desert Island Disk
My Iron Lung
The National Anthem
Everything in Its Right Place
2 + 2 = 5
For more details about the festival, head to the official Secret Solstice Website. All photos by the author.