- Faroe Islands
- Andrew Kingsford-Smith
A music festival like no other, G! Festival in the Faroe Islands stands out by submerging its visitors in the rich culture and natural beauty of this archipelago nation, while also presenting both international and local talents. Having taken place in July 2013, we reflect on one of the most remote international music festivals in the world.
Sitting North of Scotland in between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands are an archipelago shrouded in mystery. Unheard of by many travellers, these lands are a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark and their culture represents this, while also holding its own unique qualities. Fishing is the largest export of these Isles, yet the quality of its creative industries far outreaches the expectations for a population of 48,000. From artists, designers, chefs, musicians and more, the Faroe Islands has brought up masters of these trades, and it the music which the G! Festival shines a spotlight on.
Taking place in the tiny village of Gøta (population 500), G! is set on an tranquil beach that is cocooned by stunning mountains of green. With the main stage viewable from the water, boats have been known to catch priceless views of the festivities as thousands of passionate music fans dance and revel in the energy of live music. The picturesque surroundings seem almost as much an attraction as the stage, immersing visitors in unforgettable experiences no matter which way they look.
G! Festival is unique in that it allows visitors to truly experience Faroese life as well as see great music acts. Tickets can be bought to this festival that include bed and breakfast accommodation in a Faroese household, allowing travellers the opportunity to sample the Faroese lifestyle, tasting local food, hearing the folktales and history, and also potentially experiencing private performances by some of the artists. However if camping is your ideal festival accommodation, you will not miss out; the residents are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality, and love teaching guests of their breathtaking lands. Visitors at 2013’s event were also able to dine on one of the boats, enjoying the famous ‘horse muscles’ of the area, further allowing a complete cultural immersion. G! isn’t a festival that locals fearfully anticipate, it is an occasion that they whole heartily celebrate.
Founder of G! Jón Tyril states that the core philosophy of the festival is ‘to bring interesting music to the Faroes and show some interesting Faroese music to the world’, and 2013’s line up did just that. While artists such as the Swedish pop star Karin Park, Danish rock band Nephew and melodic folk Icelander Ásgeir Trausti drew their international followers to these isles of volcanic rock, home grown legends such as the enchanting voice of Eivør and acoustic master Teitur highlighted the sheer talent of the locals. In fact, one of the greatest aspects of the festival was discovering the incredible list of brilliant Faroese musicians. From the inspiring rock of Marius Ziska and the blues of Uni Debees to the heavy metal of Hamferð, the line up covered a vast range of music styles including heavy rock, hip-hop, electronic, folk, ambient and more, attracting a beautiful and eclectic mix of passionate music lovers. This mixture is an exciting element of G! Festival; both local and national, over a wide spread of genres and in both English and Faroese, the festival represents an incredible opportunity for cultural exchange that benefits both residents and visitors.
Beyond the music there are a number of activities that again make G! much more than your typical music festival. From ‘Watch that Film’ which showcases Faroese short films and music videos, to hot tubs and saunas that can be enjoyed after diving into the North Atlantic waters, the festival provides a number of unforgettable experiences. Keen hikers will also want to use their days navigating the surrounding terrain, while those more inclined to less exhaustive leisures are able to take the bus back into the capital of Tórshavn, where a number of shops, galleries and museums can be explored.
G! Festival is an exciting and unique festival that attracts thousands of visitors to the overwhelming beauty of this archipelago country. After the incredible success of 2013’s event, next year’s lineup will be eagerly awaited – be sure to book your tickets early.
To find out more about the festival please visit the G! Festival website.
By Andrew Kingsford-Smith