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Secret Solstice cancelled as Iceland cracks down on Covid-19

Organisers of Iceland’s 15,000-capacity Secret Solstice festival have cancelled the upcoming 2020 edition, due to take place at the end of June, as many other European festivals continue to weigh up their options.

“We’re sad to announce that Secret Solstice will no longer be taking place this year and will be postponed until 2021,” reads a statement from organisers. “We have been closely monitoring the situation for the past few weeks and unfortunately, it is now clear that the festival cannot take place this year.

“This decision has not been made lightly, but the health and wellbeing of our Secret Solstice community is our main priority.”

The festival, which takes place in the Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, will return from 25 to 27 June 2021. A number of acts billed to play this year’s edition, including Cypress Hill, Blackbear, Lil Pump and Primal Scream, are already confirmed for next year’s event.

Tickets will remain valid for the 2021 dates. Alternatively, ticketing agencies will contact fans about refunds in due course.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation for the past few weeks and unfortunately, it is now clear that the festival cannot take place this year”

“We thank our community of festivalgoers, artists and partners for your continued support and we send our love to all,” say Secret Solstice organisers.

So far, over 1,300 cases of the virus and four deaths have been detected in Iceland, which has a population of 360,000.

The Icelandic government last week extended a ban on gatherings over 100 people to those of more than 20. The ban will remain in place until 12 April, with all pubs, venues, museums and gyms closing their doors for the duration.

The government has dedicated ISK 230 billion (€1.5bn) – almost 8% of the country’s GDP – to provide economic stimulus during the coronavirus outbreak. The measures include covering up to 75% of the salary of those at risk of losing their jobs, to boost earnings up to a combined level of ISK 700,000 (€4,500) per month.

Companies in Iceland are also able to postpone tax payments until next year and apply for state guarantees on loans.

Sena Live-promoted Iceland Airwaves, the world’s northernmost showcase festival, is taking place as planned from 4 to 7 November 2020 in Reykjavik.


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Secret Solstice’s $1m ticket returns

Iceland’s Secret Solstice festival has announced the return of its headline-grabbing ‘world’s most expensive ticket’ for 2018, offering six deep-pocketed festivalgoers a package of jet travel, sightseeing, high-end gastronomy, luxury accommodation and private parties with artists for the princely sum of US$1 million.

First introduced in 2016, this year’s $1m package includes:

For guests whose pockets aren’t quite as deep, the festival is also offering two more ‘affordable’ luxury ticket tiers, Package of the Gods ($14,800) and Oðinn ($1865).

Oðinn purchasers enjoy perks including entry to the new Oðinn pop-up lounge, complimentary food and drinks at the festival and side event discounts, while buyers of the Package of the Gods – limited to three – adds helicopter transfers to glaciers and lava tunnels, complimentary access to all side party events, luxury accommodation for two and a private Icelandic dining experience.

Secret Solstice 2018 takes place from 21 to 24 June, in 96 hours of continuous daylight. Performers include Slayer, Stormzy, Bonnie Tyler, Steve Aoki, Parliament-Funkadelic, J Hus, Gucci Mane and Clean Bandit.


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“Pre-Brexit prices” for Secret Solstice 2017

Icelandic festival Secret Solstice is offering cash-strapped Britons a ‘Brexit discount’ for this year’s event, which returns to Reykjavik next month.

Despite Brexit not yet having actually happened, the value of the pound sterling has plummeted by more than 10% since last June’s vote to leave the European Union.

But “in the sprit of Icelandic hospitality”, Secret Solstice and partner airline Wow Air until 15 May offered UK customers the EU My Friend pass, which reduced standard passes to “pre-Brexit prices” and knocked 5% off the cost of flights. “You might be having a Brexit, but Iceland still loves you!” said the festival.

It remains to be seen whether any other events will follow Secret Solstice’s lead, but festival discounts could be a good way to tempt budget-conscious staycationing Brits to holiday abroad this summer. (No word yet on the return of the million-dollar tickets from 2016.)

Foo Fighters and The Prodigy headline Secret Solstice 2017, which runs from 15 to 18 June.


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Wish you were here?

Forty years ago, if you’d showed up to a music festival, the coat you were wearing would also have served as your sleeping bag. And your tent.

But times change and the festival experience has had to change too. Forget about glamping – Eamonn Forde takes a tongue-in-cheek look at ten of the most eye-popping VIP package choices on the market…

Name: Secret Solstice
Location: Iceland
Price: US$1 million (€882,000) for six people
Headliners Radiohead may have pioneered the pay-what-you-want model, but the price here is non-negotiable. For that wallet-trembling price you get all manner of things – starting with “business jet transport from anywhere on Earth” (return, luckily) on a Gulfstream G300 “or similar”, two private concerts, and access to ultra-VIP areas, if mixing with the hoi polloi is too much to bear. There’s also access to shows in a glacier (a glacier!) and a volcano (a volcano!) and helicopter trips. You do get a lot for your money and if you’ve ever tried to buy a round of drinks in Reykjavik, suddenly $1m doesn’t seem that expensive.

Name: Desert Trip
Location: Indio, California, US
Price: $10,000 (€8,820) for two people
The line-up is not what you’d call underwhelming (the Rolling Stones, Dylan, The Who, Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Roger Waters), so at a once-in-a-lifetime festival, you can’t be expected to rough it. For your ten grand, you get to sleep in an exclusive area in a Shikar tent that has actual beds and, incredibly, air conditioning. While waiting for the artists to get out of their bath chairs, you can go to cocktail and craft beer tasting sessions and then slump, content, into outdoor chairs to listen to the songs that defined the counterculture, aimed as they were at the freaks and misfits who railed against pernicious mainstream cooption. Oh…


Read the rest of this feature in issue 66 of IQ

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Radiohead encourage fans to live-stream show

At a time when a growing number of artists are taking a public stand against the use of mobile phones at their shows (we’re looking at you Alicia Keys, AdeleKate Bush and Jack White), Radiohead – never a band to follow the crowd – bucked the trend by actively encouraging fans to live-stream their headline slot at Secret Solstice in Reykjavik last Friday (17th June).

In advance of the show, the British band posted on their w.a.s.t.e. website that “if any fans [want] to set up their own Periscope stream of the show for the benefit of the rest of us, we have a few wi-fi codes to hand out to help things run smoothly”.

Plenty obliged, and many of the streams are still active:


IQ earlier this month reported on a study by MIDiA Research which revealed digital and mobile now dominate event discovery, ticket buying and sharing and opined that: “The use of smartphones in events is an invaluable form of brand promotion and can be leveraged to build engaged future attendee lists through tactics such as image competitions on social platforms”. (Radiohead, evidently, agree.)

If nothing else, the embrace of Periscope and live streaming by a band as big as Radiohead will hopefully help our Nova Scotian accidental broadcaster feel a bit less foolish – until The Cure jump on the anti-phone bandwagon, at least…


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