Words by Stefan Dahl
After a nine-hour long journey from Reykjavík, we arrived at Seyðisfjörður sweaty and stoked for the festival. As this was not my first time at the LungA Festival, I had a good idea of what to expect; a weekend filled with concerts, hikes and partying in the streets with locals and visitors from all over.
The weather was not on our side this weekend as we were soaked through due to the heavy rain! The only few dry minutes our first evening, we put up camp and headed down to the main stage of the weekend, Norðursíld. But not to worry, the Friday night lineup was pretty good the year.
Hatari steal the show
The first band we saw was Mammút, whom I’ve been a fan since they won the Icelandic Battle of the Bands back in 2004. The indie rock band is well known among Icelanders, so they really managed to get the crowd moving. I heard a bunch of new songs from them which I really liked. Their new stuff was darker and heavier than their old stuff, so it’s safe to say that their music has developed over the years.
After Mammút’s performance, industrial techno-punk band Hatari was next up. This is the band that everybody had been waiting for. They started off their show with their usual anti-capitalist rant. Not only are their songs excellent but their live show is so unique. I think it’s safe to say that this is probably the best live band in Iceland today. The crowd went nuts when they played Hatrið Mun Sigra, the song that landed them in 10th place in this year’s Eurovision song contest. In my opinion, this show was the high point of the festival.
Following Hatari was the American artist Kelsey Lu who played a mix of folk, soul and electro. This sort of music is not really my cup of tea, but I could tell that the younger crowd was enjoying her set. Afterwards, we decided that we needed to go inside somewhere and warm up. We ended up going to the notorious Sirkus bar. Sirkus was a legendary bar that used to be located in downtown Reykjavik but had recently reopened in Seyðisfjörður with the original décor and look. Inside the bar, Kalli from Skrattar was playing a very laid-back DJ set that went well along with the warm and cosy atmosphere of Sirkus. After drinking a few beers inside we decided to call it a night.
Saturday: From R&B to Trap
The next morning, we headed to the main art centre of the Eastfjords, Skatffell, after taking a dip in the local swimming pool to recharge. There, students from the Iceland University of the Arts exhibited visual art which they had been working on in festival workshops. It is always great to see young artists taking their first steps in the field. After roaming the town for a while, we headed back to Norðursíld main stage. At the time we arrived Bagdad brothers had just started playing to a small crowd of people. The band sounded really good, while I felt the singer’s style didn’t really match the rock and roll sound of the band. Having that said, I really enjoyed the overall punk-rock feel.
Danish artist Goss took to the stage after them. He played a mixture of electronic pop and R&B with soulful lyrics. His songs are incredibly well written, and he is truly a talented singer. He did this incredible cover of ‘Silver Car Crash’ by Majical Cloudz. I think Goss was one of the best performances at Lunga this year. Next, I saw something completely different. Yung Nigo Drippin (Brynjar Logi) is an Icelandic trap artist that’s relatively new to the scene. I had never heard of him before, but I have to say that I was quite impressed by his performance. His set was really good, especially his song ‘Pluggið Hringir’. His lyrics mainly revolve around drug use, designer clothes, girls, and dissing the police. If you’re into Atlanta hip hop artists like Migos or Gucci, then you should definitely check this guy out.
Next, we decided to hitch a ride back into town. The Red Bull after-party was about to start. The rave was held at Herðubreið, the local community centre. The lineup was great as it featured UpSammy and Dj Dominatricks as well as Bjarki. We danced to techno until the early in the morning hours. An excellent way end to the festival.
I really enjoyed being back in Seyðisfjörður for LungA. The festival is a fantastic place to experience diverse art performances and beautiful Icelandic scenery. So, if you happen to be in Iceland next July, try to find your way to Seyðisfjörður.
Lunga takes place yearly in late July in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland. Head to www.lunga.is to find out more and be part of next year’s festival.