Aldrei fór ég suður

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“I never went South” music festival in Ísafjörður

I have been impressed by Westfjords from beginning, the drive was long but with amazing view on the raw countryside with fjords. We had a big expectations from festival but also we haven’t been sure what to expect.

Aldrei is organized since 2004 every Easter in capital of Westfjords. Time when town is slowly waking up from winter. Story behind the origin represents the name of festival itself.

As in every country capital and countryside are different. People like to magnify differences, stereotypes, jokes and tease each other. This is also case with Aldrei versus Reykjavik aka South.

Following the original “I never went south” motto of festival we have been curious what locals would tell us about Westfjords. What is their opinion about this remote part of Iceland? We asked following set of questions:

Why they would not move “south”?

What does locals like about Westfjords?

What make this part of Iceland so special?

Answers have been various and also we enjoyed the interaction with people. Thank you for participation.


Previous years festival was two days long. Same for 2016. Main concert was on Friday and Saturday from 8pm to 12pm. Parties continued in town’s pubs afterwards. Many famous names played on stage. For example popular Emilíana Torrini. Not familiar with the name? What about catchy tune Jungle Drum?

Aldrei 2016_040

Venue was large warehouse in harbor

Friday night

Off-venue concert in Suðureyri

Concert on Saturday afternoon with one anniversary in mind. Celebrating was Icelandic outdoor clothes brand 66° North. 90 years since it was established in 1926. Actually in the same village.

Event supposed to be at swimming pool. We have been really curious about this. Unfortunately due to bad weather event was moved to one of the warehouses in harbor.

I think the concert was success and very unique event. Warehouse was large enough to fit everyone in. Cozy and friendly atmosphere. For such small community I had feeling that there is musician in every Icelandic family.

More words about Suðureyri in separate post.

Aldrei 2016_056Aldrei 2016_057


Saturday night


66° North was selling the themed clothes at the concert. I was trying to avoid to buy the simple N 66° Hat for three months. Hat which I noticed is very popular among youngsters.

First NO I said on board of WOW air flight from Berlin. Later, hat followed me in literally every souvenir shop in Iceland.

On festival I had to give up. I liked Aldrei fór ég suður hat for two reasons.

It seemed as great souvenir from festival.

After my first Erasmus exchange I became fan of Nordic countries. Not to mention,  I was always attracted to visit north. In this sense Aldrei fór ég suður motto represents my preferences for travelling surprisingly well!

Also not to forget, it looked warmer than my old hat.

I was convinced but not sold. When I decided I will buy one, they have been sold out already on Friday night. N 66° I guess you already know you should improve this.

Few snapshots of audience

My favorite TOP 3 from Aldrei

  1. Ulfur Ulfurheavy atmosphere, cool beats, didn’t understand single word from Icelandic lyrics but followed the crowd. Enjoyed every rap track and have had hell of lot of fun!
  2. Glowie – opened Aldrei on Friday evening, loved singer’s pleasant voice, songs in English,  not fun of “jogging suit” but for some reason it fits the singer well and was stylish
  3. Risaeðlanso much energy, amazing performance and crazy theatrical show, like a two furious witches raping their violin and saxophone! Two guitarists completely calm whole session, priceless. I was surprised and impressed by the band. 

Wrap up

How was the Aldrei 2016? Definitely worth to visit. Ísafjörður was such a amazing lively busy town. The concert line-up was filled in with many famous names. Atmosphere was friendly, crowd filled by all age groups.

One thing makes Aldrei very special. Town is quite small and there aren’t many pubs. You will definitely bump into singer or somebody famous ordering pint of beer like you!

It was a big festival with great sound and benefits of small locally organized event. No strict bouncers, no hassle with tickets and ques as concert was for free. You could even bring your favorite beer with you inside!

We have been surprised with Janis that concerts haven’t been as wild as we expected but cool cultural experience. Audience was so supportive, nobody was too drunk, but everybody was jumping around and singing along. I imagine bands enjoyed Aldrei a lot too.

I guess there aren’t many festivals when you will be jumping around in winter jacket and wearing warm hat. We wish Ísafjörður arrival of spring as soon as possible!

Aldrei 2016_070


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