Every year, the music festival Aldrei fór ég suður (I never went south) brings thousands of guests to Ísafjörður, a town located in the Westfjords of Iceland. The festival is always organised during the Easter weekend, and this year it’s held from the 29th till the 31st of March. It was founded in 2003 by Mugison, a singer-songwriter and native of Ísafjörður, and his dad. The name of the festival comes from a song by Icelandic music legend Bubbi Morthens. In Iceland, going south usually means going to Reykjavík, and Aldrei fór ég suður is proudly rooted in the northern part of the Westfjords. It’s held inside an old fish warehouse and it’s all about showcasing local talents, along with popular bands “from the south”.
Most of the town’s inhabitants attend and hordes of people travel north specifically for the festival. There are some rules: each band plays for 20 minutes, there are no sound checks and there are no headliners. The best part of the festival is the atmosphere, the festival is all about equality, encouragement, and support for everyone and anyone that steps on the stage. The entire experience has been described as surreal, adventurous, and incredibly entertaining. Oh, did we mention that it is a free event? There are no queues and no tickets, just pure fun!
Don’t miss these acts
The program is a fun mix of folk, rock, funk, punk, and electronic music. Don’t miss the following acts!
Kolrassa Krókríðandi was founded in 1992 by four 16-year old girls from Keflavík. They signed a record deal with Smekkleysa, the record label of the Sugarcubes, and released three albums under that label. In 1998 they changed their name to Bellatrix and tried out a new sound. Under this name, they got a fan base in the UK and Scandinavia. They signed a contract with record label Fierce Panda, under which they released three singles and a studio album. These days, band members focus on various music projects and enjoy playing together at Aldrei fór ég suður!
Founded in 2004 by guitarist Ingo Geirdal and bassist Silli Geirdal, Dimma has grown to be one of Iceland’s most popular metal bands. Their last three albums, Myrkraverk, Vélráð and Eldraunir, were very successful, and singer Stefán Jakobsson is considered to be one of Iceland’s best rock singers. Vélráð went straight to number one as the bestselling album in Iceland and contained two radio hits with “Ljósbrá” and “Ég Brenn”. They played as a support act to rock legend Alice Cooper. Dimma’s music is described as dark and heavy, melancholic and refreshing.
JóiPé & Króli
New kids on the block JóiPé & Króli are a talented young duo that has earned their spot in the Icelandic hip-hop scene with their single B.O.B.A. They have also produced their first album GerviGlingur. They are not afraid to write songs about teen depression and anxiety, showing that there is a softer side to hip-hop. They impressed the crowds at Iceland Airwaves, will play at Sónar Reykjavík and are ready to conquer Aldrei fór ég suður!
Between Mountains is a band formed by two teenage girls from the Westfjords. They won first place at the Icelandic Music Experiments in April 2017, a contest won in previous years by bands such as Of Monsters and Men and Samaris. Currently, they play soft indie-pop, but they prefer not to be placed in a box and they like trying out different styles. Their name is inspired by the place they grew up in, in the middle of the mountains and fjords of the Westfjords. We expect great things from these girls!
Une Misère is an Icelandic hardcore band that emerged from the underground Icelandic metal scene. They name Amenra, Trap Them and Full of Hell, as their inspiration. They won the Wacken Metal Battle in 2017, leading to the band performing at the notorious metal festival that same year. They are making waves with their rebellious punk attitude and strong stage presence. In 2018, they are added to the line-up of Roadburn, a festival for psychedelic rock, avant-garde, doom and any other variation of heavy music. Definitely check these guys out at Aldrei fór ég suður!
Other confirmed bands at Aldrei fór ég suður 2018 include Hatari, Cyber, Á Móti Sól, Auður and Sigurvegarar Músiktilrauna.
Before you go…
If you’re interested in going to Aldrei fór ég suður, check the weather conditions very well before you go, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a plan B. If the weather is really bad, the flights can get cancelled, since the airport at Ísafjörður is a bit of a tricky one to land on. And if you’re driving, be sure to check the road conditions on www.road.is. Don’t let this discourage you, though! Just use common sense.
Also, plan your accommodation in advance. Ísafjörður gets very busy around Easter, not only because of the the festival but also because of the Ísafjörður Ski Week that takes place every Easter as well.
Lastly, the Westfjords are one of the most beautiful areas of Iceland and we recommend exploring the area while you are there. Check out our recommendations for things to do in the Westfjords.