Popular Town Festivals Coming to an End

Mýrarboltinn mud football

Town festivals in Iceland have long been popular summer attractions that receive visitors from all across the country and abroad. However, many notable ones have come to an end in recent years, Vísir reports. The “mud football” tournament Mýrarboltinn in Ísafjörður no longer takes place, the Great Fish Day in Dalvík is not celebrated anymore, Mærudagar in Húsavík has been scaled back, and the heavy metal festival Eistnaflug in Neskaupsstaður is in hibernation. Recently it was announced that LungA Art Festival in Seyðisfjörður will be hosting its final edition this summer.

Stressful for organisers

The festivals tend to focus on music, arts, food or other cultural activities, and most of them take place in the summer, with the music festival Aldrei fór ég suður in Ísafjörður kicking off the season around Eastertime.

According to Þórhildur Tinna Sigurðardóttir, an organiser at LungA, the reason for the festival coming to an end is limited funding and a heavy workload for the people involved. “There is a lot of volunteer work and struggle,” Þórhildur Tinna said. “The format is such that most of the work falls on one week in the summer. It takes its toll and isn’t emotionally sustainable. Not to mention the financial side.”

25th and last LungA

Þórhildur Tinna called for more public funding for town and arts festivals across the country and argued that the financing has gone down in real terms. “If this is to be sustainable for small festivals, town festivals, arts festivals and music festivals, these grant systems need to be revised,” she said, adding that it’s appropriate that the 25th edition of LungA this summer will be its last. “We’re ending the festival with the hopes of something new being created in its place by the younger generations.”

MATEY Seafood Fest Serves Up the Best of the Westman Islands

A new festival seeks to celebrate the produce and producers of Iceland’s Westman Islands. The MATEY Seafood Festival is a collaborative project between the island’s restaurateurs and food producers and will take place from September 8-10.

Restaurants, fish factories, food producers and other food industry service partners collaborate to highlight the food of the islands. With the MATEY festival, islanders hope to spotlight “one of the best culinary destinations in Iceland,” and give guests a taste of “a variety of stunning dishes” that are made solely with ingredients sourced in and around the Westmans. Leading chefs from neighbouring Nordic nations will also take part in the festival, offering their own twists on “authentic local dishes.”

Restaurants Gott, Slippurinn, Einsi Kaldi, and Næs will host menus from guest chefs Chris Golding, Leif Sørensen, Ron McKinlay, and Fjölla Sheholli and Junaid Juman, respectively, serving up local ingredients.

In addition to serving up local cuisine in Heimaey’s restaurants, the festival will also feature events in which businesses in seafood industry open their doors, give some insight into their operations, and discuss the “blue economy” that is so vital to the Westmans’ way of life.