Eistnaflug is a remote and mysterious ritual, underground even among the denizens of its home country and virtually unheard of outside of Iceland. More famous festivals like Wacken or Maryland Deathfest make it on to metalhead’s bucket lists. Eistnaflug is more like a Holy Grail, a mythical goal that few expect to find. But I am here to tell you it is not impossible.
Mere mortals who are not even particularly metal can and have drunk from the Eistnaflug chalice (Icelandic speakers may have just thrown up a little in their mouths at that term). Read on, and I will tell you how.
As with any quest, you must be committed. Adjust the priorities in your life; reconsider your family’s need for an annual vacation, avoid expensive diagnostics for your elderly pets. Does your home require maintenance? Defer it. Flights to Iceland in July are expensive.
Once you have sold a kidney to purchase your flight tickets, you must obtain tickets to the festival itself. Eistnaflug is not an expensive festival, and tickets can be purchased online, months in advance, on midi.is. The website is not in English, but that is no obstacle to the committed.
Print your boarding passes, pack your tent, and say goodbye to your family (the festival is 21 and over, and flights to Iceland are expensive). Now it is time for the journey.
Step 1: Miss the bus to the train station.
Step 2: Board airport-bound train w 35 lb backpack & think, “I’m too old for this shit.”
Step 3: Thrill as you check in at the airport. Teach the baggage agent how to pronounce Reykjavik. Then shop for cheap earbuds because you left 2 good pairs at home.
Step 4: Arrive in NY late. Hustle to connecting flight. Board, and then wait on the runway, because that flight is also late.
Step 5: Sixteen hours after leaving home, arrive at Keflavík airport. Discover Delta left your backpack in New York.
Step 6: Discover your Icelandic sim card doesn’t work. Know when you’re beat. Turn off the phone & go to bed. In your clothes. Try again tomorrow.
Step 7: Board a van full of bearded strangers.
Step 8: Then you drive & drive & drive. Stop for swimming, icebergs & World Cup. Don’t stop for gravel roads.
Step 9: Cross a ski hill that only has a little snow left and drive through a 2-way tunnel that has only one lane. Although you are not driving, be too nervous to take pictures.
Step 10: Walk down the street, through the back door & enter the venue just as Solstafir start to play Otta.
See? It’s easy!