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Secret Solstice 2018 – The Highlights

Music festival Secret Solstice took place from June 21 till June 24, 2018. What’s On’s Sirrý and Mariska joined the festival and wrote about their experiences per day. Read their Secret Solstice reviews here: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

In this article, they will sum up all the highlights of the festival.

Secret Solstice 2018

Best performances/shows

S I did really enjoy the Icelandic performer Valdimar. He always puts a lot of effort in his performances and it never fails.

M This must be Slayer’s 1.5-hour performance on Saturday night. It was Slayer’s first and last performance in Iceland, and all of their fans had gathered in front of the stage. I imagine that this crowd was a lot smaller than a legendary band like Slayer is used to, but even if they thought this, they didn’t show it and gave it their all. They had great interaction with the audience, a black mass of people excited to finally see their favourite band play live. People were singing along, raising their fists into the air, crowd-surfing and jumping. As a crowd-pleaser at the end, they took the time to flip a lot of plectrums and two drumsticks into the audience. Slayer put on a strong show, and seeing masters like Araya, Bostaph, Holt and King perform is just pure joy.


Best band we’d never heard of before

S IAMDDB was one of the performers I’ve never heard about and I think she did a really good job!

M I really enjoyed the concert of Godchilla, who apparently can be labeled as surf-doom, but on first hearing post-metal might be fitting. But who cares about labels, really? They were not afraid to dive into the deep and take the audience with them on an atmospheric musical trip.


Best experience

S Silent Disco was without a doubt one of the best things I did at the festival, if you have the chance to try it, do it!

M Úlfur Úlfur earns the title of best experience. They were playing on Sunday, June 24 in the pouring rain in front of a cold and wet crowd, but managed to make everybody forget about this. The audience was very excited to see them perform, and Úlfur Úlfur seemed just as excited to be there. This resulted in a wonderful interaction between audience and band which lasted throughout the concert.

Úlfur Úlfur

Our top 3 Icelandic bands we saw

S Valdimar, the energetic band Stuðmenn and the youngsters JóiPé x Króli were the three best Icelandic bands that I managed to see. Despite the pouring rain, Stuðmenn did not disappoint.


  1. For a Minor Reflection

In 2008, I had seen For a Minor Reflection as supporting act during Sigur Rós’ European tour and I was looking forward to seeing them play again. At Secret Solstice, they performed a captivating show for a dedicated crowd of post-rock lovers, like me.

  1. Between Mountains

Between Mountains put up a solid show and the guest musicians (the drummer of Agent Fresco and a bass player) definitely were a great addition. The four of them playing together just worked really well and they brought something fresh to Secret Solstice.

  1. JFDR

I had heard of Jófríður Ákadóttir before, but I had not listened to any music she produced under the name JFDR. I had listened to Pascal Pinon and Samaris a lot, which are two of her other projects. As I soon noticed at Secret Solstice, JFDR is just my cup of tea, elegantly combining poetic lyrics with soundscapes and electronic undertones.

For a Minor Reflection

Our top 3 best visiting acts we saw

S IAMDDB, Goldlink and EarthGang were in my opinion the best non-Icelandic performers. They all managed to keep their young and energetic audience in full sing-and-dance mode!


  1. Slayer

Slayer gave the audience what it wanted and with many people waiting for such a long time to see them, the energy during the concert was just great.

  1. Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler was the opening act of Secret Solstice. Everybody was in a good mood and Bonnie proved once again to be a timeless performer.

  1. 6lack

I didn’t know 6lack before the festival, but the live drummer, DJ, MC and cool visuals really added to his show.

Bonnie Tyler Secret Solstice

Special mention

S The festival gets a praise for me for the effort to have something for everyone, even if it is food and drinks or performers.

M I really liked the dark electronic music and performance of Mighty Bear, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the festival for me. I would also like to mention the variety of food on offer. It was nice to see many options for vegans. Also, I really appreciated having something else than beer or coke to drink.

Secret Solstice 2018

What we thought of the festival as a whole

S Overall I had a great experience at the festival, and I would most certainly consider going next year! The weather could have been nicer, but as we all know the weather in Iceland is very unpredictable so you should hope for the best but prepare for the worst!

M There were a couple of things that I liked about Secret Solstice, and a couple things that could be improved.

First of all, I liked how clean the festival terrain was. Secret Solstice makes use of lots of volunteers and many of them were on cleaning duty. This pays off and is much appreciated by festival goers. Secondly, there was a lot of security walking around and they responded swiftly when something was afoot.

This year was the first time the festival was completely cashless and the top-up wristbands did their job. But it is unfortunate that wrong information was given about the refund process though, as it was mentioned on the website and through Secret Solstice App messages that you could get the refund on Sunday at the festival, but this was not possible. Supposedly, a refund link will be active today, but this hasn’t happened yet at time of writing.

The organisation has dealt with complaints about long lines in previous years, and for most of the festival, lines were managed properly. I think Thursday, the opening day, could still use a bit more attention, though.

I liked the festival terrain and size a lot, but stages Fenrir and Gimli are a little too close to each other, causing noise disturbances during concerts on both stages.

The weather was a challenge this year and it might be a good idea to offer more options for shelter at future editions. Also, having bales of hay ready to prevent the terrain from turning into one giant mud pool might be a good idea for next year.

Secret Solstice 2018

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