May 19, 2017 |
Situated in the North Atlantic, halfway between Iceland and Norway, music has always formed a central part of the unique culture of the remote Faroe Islands. The 18 wild, inspiring and magical islands that make up the archipelago are extremely proud of their unique culture and traditions, many of which are still practised today.
With numerous festivals and intimate concerts taking place in an assortment of venues annually, the islands’ music scene has exploded in recent years, gaining international acclaim.
From the living rooms of locals to sandy beaches, sea caves and sweeping valleys, there is a music event to meet all tastes this year in the Faroe Islands:
6 June – 20 August: Concerto Grotto
As part of Summartónar, the series of concerts in traditional and unusual venues across the Faroe Islands in the summertime, Concerto Grotto take place in natural grottos hidden in the huge sea cliffs.
Depart from Vágsbotnur aboard a beautiful Faroese schooner, the Norðlýsið (the Northern Light) and sail into the seas around the islands before transferring into a smaller vessel to enter an enormous cliff cavern. Here, making the very most of the natural acoustics, listen to music ring out from musicians almost invisible in the darkness.
An ethereal and unique event, these grotto concerts are sure to evoke a sense of wonderment and awe at both the music itself and their natural surroundings.
Concerts take place on Tuesdays from 6 June to 15 August and on Sundays from 18 June to 20 August. They usually take place on the island of Hestur in the Klæminstgjógv gorge but are sometimes held on Nólsoy, depending on the weather. Tickets are priced from 450 DKK / £51 pp. For more information, visit www.visitfaroeislands.com/event/summartonar-grotto-concerts.
7 June – 23 August: Cultural Evenings
Each Wednesday evening during the summer, the cosy Gjáargarður Guesthouse in the beautiful village of Gjógv on Eysturoy hosts Cultural Evenings where guests can enjoy musical performances and try traditional chain dancing. Hosts dress in the Faroese national costume and talk about the nation’s culture, traditions and legends to give insight into the unique history of these windswept isles.
A large buffet with a variety of local dishes – including wind-dried lamb and dried fish – is also served, encouraging visitors to try traditional Faroese food, finishing off with coffee, tea and homemade cake.
Cultural Evenings take place from 7 June to 23 August from 7pm and are priced from 395 DKK / £45 pp. For more information, visit www.visitfaroeislands.com/event/cultural-evening.
13 – 15 July: G! Festival
The internationally-acclaimed G! Festival takes place in the village of Syðrugøta – population 400 – on the island of Eysturoy. Stages are built on the beach and the football pitch, making this a truly unique three-day event. Caught between the peaks and the ocean, in a break between the cliffs skirting the coastline, Syðrugøta lies within an unrivalled natural amphitheatre and is set against a backdrop of the Faroes’ breathtaking landscape, dominated by grass-carpeted mountains.
A wonderful combination of magnificent nature and Faroese hospitality, the five stages have previously attracted world-class music and well-known names such as The Guillemots and Travis, and this year will welcome British band Desert Mountain Tribe amongst many others.
The festival costs from €575 / £488 pp, including return flights (Copenhagen), a ticket to the festival and access to a campsite with toilet/shower facilities (for five days and four nights). Tent and transfers not included. Alternatively, stay with a Faroese family from €665 / £564 pp. For more information, visit www.62n.fo.
10 – 12 August: Summarfestivalur
This pop-centric festival attracts the largest crowd for any event in the Faroe Islands. Summarfestivalur (Summer Festival) is an event for all the family, with activities for children, a funfair and entertainers, alongside well-known international and Faroese artists performing popular music.
Over three stages in the centre of Klaksvik, the second largest town in the Faroes, on the island of Borðoy, established names such as Roxette and Westlife have previously performed.
With Summarfestivalur drawing several generations to stay overnight in caravans, tents or even boats, the 2017 festival will feature Danish sensation Lukas Graham and American classic rock band, Toto.
Tickets are priced from DKK 200 – DKK 1,000 / £23 – £114 pp. For more information, visit: www.summarfestivalur.com.
4 November: HOYMA
Anti-festival creation, HOYMA, is a series of intimate concerts performed in locals’ living rooms: One evening. Twenty concerts. Ten artists. Ten homes.
The village of Gøta on the island of Eysturoy provides the backdrop for this innovative way of experiencing music, where people walk from door to door, popping in to listen to live music performed by musicians in the living rooms of locals. All the music is unplugged and performed acoustically.
At its core, HOYMA refers back to the old Faroese tradition of going from house to house and gathering around the fireplace in the living room – the way that people living on these isolated and stormy islands in small villages have socialised for centuries. The living room was central to the creation of the Faroese language, with storytelling and singing helping to ensure its preservation at a time when it was not officially appreciated by the authorities.
The event costs from DKK 350 / £40 pp. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/hoymafestival.
Daily flights to the Faroe Islands (London to Vágar Island, via Copenhagen) operate year-round and cost from £368 pp return. Seasonal twice-weekly direct flights to the Faroe Islands (Edinburgh to Vágar Island) operate from March to December and cost from £199 pp return. Visit www.atlantic.fo for further information.
For more information about the Faroe Islands, see www.visitfaroeislands.com.