By the time my 6th visit to Reykjavík came around the decision to move had already been taken. That visit was to the Secret Solstice Festival in June 2014 to see Woodkid and Massive Attack and coincided once again with my birthday. The circle had been completed. I had already left my job in Belfast and had decided to take three months off to watch the World Cup and finish the bulk of the remaining work on my 2nd book, ‘The Mistake’.
It had been five years since my first visit to Reykjavík and my last experience of the nights that never dim. Compared to the short days and freezing nights that accompany Iceland Airwaves the middle of June could not be any more different. The first day of the secret Solstice festival was all about Yoann Lemoine or as most people know him (those who do know of him anyway), Woodkid. His performance stole the show not only for the first night but he comprehensively outdid Massive Attack as well. Supported by keyboards and a brass section as well as dual standing drummers at the rear of the stage with suspended bass drums he was a sonic experience. On top of all that he had unbelievable visuals projected onto the screen behind the stage that he had designed himself and were jaw-dropping on their own. When he’s not writing and performing he directs music videos for the likes of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Ray and Rihanna. His album, ‘The Golden Age’ is a triumph of originality featuring a huge percussive feel over beautiful and sometimes haunting lyrics. His video for ‘I Love You’ which was shot here in Iceland can be seen at:
The headliners on Saturday night were Bristol outfit Massive Attack. Tear Drop, Unfinished Sympathy, Protection and Safe From Harm were all played while the crowd spliffed up and rocked out under the midnight sun. It’s pretty funny watching a band play at midnight when it’s still as bright as it was ten hours earlier. Even though Secret Solstice was only in it's first year of existence it was plainly obvious that they would be back again and with a vengeance. The line-up for the 2015 festival includes The Wailers, Wu-Tang Clan, Agent Fresco and FM Belfast.
As I wandered back to my hotel I knew it would be the last time I saw Reykjavík through the eyes of a tourist. Heading back to the UK this time around would be easier than the previous five occasions as I knew that the experience would only be a temporary one and that I’d be back in Iceland in a couple of months.
And that this time it would be for good.