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Bjarnarfjörður and Drangsnes - hotpots and music festivals in the summer sun

Pictures are at the bottom...

23-25 July, 2010

I was enjoying the after cricket BBQ last sunday night on Miklatún, when Iveta asked if I wanted to go camping next weekend, and could she come? Whoah woman, hold your horses! It's still sunday! Still, summer time, and I didn't have any other plans, so why not? Next question, where, and who, would hopefully sort themselves out later in the week.

Sometime during the week, reading the paper over breakfast, I spotted a small snippet of column referring to Mugison putting together some sort of free concert at Hotel Laugarhóll, north of Hólmavík. Pétur Ben, Lára Rúnars, and those mischievous boys in Pollapönk would be part of the fun. I've wanted to head up the road north from Hólmavík, so this sounded pretty perfect.

With Iveta and I, we managed to talk Ásta and Roberto into coming too, and headed off in Roberto's freshly cleaned car friday evening. After a fantastic summer week in town, the forecast for the south was about to get rather terrible, but we were headed for possibly the best forecast in the country, for the whole weekend.

Cruising north, past Bildudalur, we were treated to some really lovely sunset light on the hills, before turning onto Strandvegur, and then up Selárdalur for a nice quiet camp amongst the sheep near Geirmundarstaðir. After a leisurely breakfast in the sunshine, we headed along the coast to Drangsnes. We had a day to kill before the concert in the evening, and Drangsnes is meant to have some nice hotpots.

They were not kidding. Drangsnes hot pots, on such a stunning day like we had, is like your own little slice of paradise. They found hot water, right by the seashore, in 1997, and by the next day they had some rough hot pots in place, made out of old fish boxes. Today, there's a beautiful deck, with three good sized tubs, right by the waterline. We hung out for most of the afternoon, working on our sunburns, and watching the tide go out.

But despite being mostly water, the body can't stay in the water all day, so we headed along the coast to the campground by the hotel, ready to see the show, and not really knowing what to expect. We set up camp, played some frisbee, stuck some beers in the river, and went up to see Pollapönk kick off the show promptly at 5pm.

Turns out this was going to be a full family friendly event, and though it might not have had the late night rocking of some festivals, it sure proved to be incredibly memorable. Pollapönk had Mugison and Pétur Ben playing the backing guitar/bass, and with various wives and children, and whole slew of other kids enjoying a dance around the front, with parents looking on from behind, the day got off to a great start.

There was then a highly civilised "grill break" until 8pm, so we all dutifully went back to camp and grilled our dinner, before returning to see Mugison kick off the evening with a lovely duet with his wife. The evening was more lovely family jam. Kids on stage, kids climbing on the walls, and the whole ensemble taking turns being the star for a few songs. Pétur Ben and his wife did a duet too, and whole free form happy vibe permeated everything.

Lára Rúnars kicked off her set with some unexpected humour, when her keyboard started playing odd notes at odd times, all of it's own accords. A quick power cycle and the show was back in action, with half the room laughing merrily along with the band at the comedy of the situation.

For the finale, we had the entire family of each and every musician on stage, all doing one of the Pollapönk songs, Vælubíllinn, (Ambulance) which comes complete with hand gestures and sound effects from the crowd. The whole show had featured plenty of audience interaction, singing choruses for both Mugison and Pétur Ben, and clapping and calling for encores between every song.

At the again, highly civilised and refined (and family friendly) hour of 10pm, we were back down at the campground, making civilised and refined supper of smoked salmon with cheese and crackers, before rolling into bed. A most satisfying, and highly memorable weekend in superb weather.

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