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Musings And Shit: “Shut up, you fuck! I can’t hear the drop with your yacking!” A SONAR Requiem…

22 Feb

Um-tss, um-tss, um-tss…..

Yup last week saw every man, woman and sheep in the greater Reykjavik area (And Beyond) put on their Ravey Davey Gravey faces as they headed over to Harpa to have some fun at the first SONAR festival to be held at Reykjavik. Myself and a few other refugee writers wrote about our exploits while we were there. And you should read them. There’s lots of insight and swearing and stuff!

Read Friday HERE

Read Saturday HERE.

So in the end how was it? Well I’m  not going to go too overboard with the criticism. the fact remains that as it was the first year, you almost expect quite a few things to go wrong and some aspects of planning and execution to take a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-arse approach. But it needs saying that there were a few issues that will need addressing by the organisers themselves for next year, such as:

– The procedures for picking up press passes from the Box Office was farcical and amateurish at best. We almost had the situation where our Editor almost didn’t get in because someone else took her pass.

– Crowd control could be improved. You had two big halls with two entrances to each, but only one was used. creating a situation where with booze and chemicals, there were a couple of flashpoints between punters pushing past each other. Maybe one door for entry/one for exit?

– Sound and lighting. These were overall great (Ghostigital did fuck us over with the volume, although that was their intention!). But the Bay Area had quite a few problem in the sound/light dept. It was good that you sought to rectify this, but perhaps a different approach was needed? Can Kaldalón be used in any fashion at all?

– Prices. OK you had small and large cans of beer for 800 and 1000ISK each. Annoying, but standard festival gouging of the punters. But what WAS sneaky and petty was that Harpa only allowed small cans to be available on Friday, with the large ones somehow becoming available on Saturday. No matter how you look at it, you were treating us like fucking plebs Harpa. Remember who it is that’s stopping you and your debt from rolling into the sea.

OK that sounds awful. But one, two, or all of those things are not enough to derail a festival. These are lessons learned and it was almost certainly bound to happen, so apart from the beer prices, they didn’t sour the event for me too much..

In the end it’s all about THE MUSIC. And overall…. it was really good. I know that some write ups suggested that Harpa is really an unsuitable place for dance music. True, the shiny, austere surroundings of Harpa may stiffen up people’s ability to go crazy. But here’s the thing – where else are they going to have it in Reykjavik? Volta? Dolly? Laugardalshöllin? We have to realise the fact that the main only reason that Reykjavik got SONAR in the first place because of the facilities at Harpa And in the end that’s something people will have to get used to. I had no real issues with having it at Harpa (Issues above notwithstanding).

I do agree about the schizo line-up. You had some top DJs toiling away in the car-park at 8 or 9pm to barely 6 people, while the pop/soul parts were on a lot later, mostly because they were the big draws and therefore should be on at the prime time. Someone said that Icelanders don’t do “early” in their concerts and party going – Well they should fucking get their heads together and start wising up on this then, because it would make the organisers job so much easier.

Apart from that there were way more hits and misses in my experiences. The only bum notes were The Jack Magnet Quintet, and Axel Boman. The other acts were good, or really, reallllly good! Thanks to having a roaming remit (Unlike Airwaves), I could avoid stuff I knew I may have been bored with. This meant not having to endure the crowd asshattery during James Blake and a few other sets, while finding some nice moments, such as Captain Fufanu.

It was also interesting seeing the crowd mix there. Unlike Airwaves, you got a truer pictures of the people who go out in Reykjavik. there were quite a few clashes between the underground electronic guys, the krútt kids, the artist gangs, the orange guido mob and their partners, as well as the old duffers who come out to and major event at Harpa. There was loving and mutual loathing across the board amongst some of these groups. Personally I found it all hilarious. Ben – This is the real Reykjavik!

But all I would recommend is that you go to the links at the top and read the reviews. It was a blast, and I do hope that next year’s event will with be just as good, or better, with some top names involved (PLEASE Get Function, Regis or Raime!! I promise I will clear your house for 3 months!!)

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Iceland, live music, music

 

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