Best time to go to Iceland

Westman Islands Camping Festival (Þjóðhátíð) 2024 in Iceland

A great festival that mixes music, drinking, eating and a little romance

Dates: August 2–4, 2024

Westman Islands Camping Festival (Þjóðhátíð)

Few days rival the bustling energy and vibrancy on the island during the Thjodhatid camping festival. This annual outdoor extravaganza, held in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, unfolds over several days during the first weekend of August. From the beloved tradition of bonfires to dazzling fireworks displays, lively concerts, and the iconic "hillside sing-along," attendees are treated to an unforgettable experience that celebrates Icelandic culture and community amidst the stunning natural backdrop of Vestmannaeyjar.

Events & Activities

Each night at the festival offers a unique highlight that draws crowds and creates lasting memories. On Friday, the atmosphere heats up with the grand bonfire, providing warmth and a focal point for gathering and enjoyment. Saturday brings anticipation for the impressive fireworks display, a spectacle of color and light against the night sky. Meanwhile, groups of friends add to the fun by dressing up in costumes and competing for the title of best ensemble.

Locals put specially built structures and large white tents in the valley to prove Westman Islands' famed hospitality. They welcome guests for coffee, smoked puffin, and other local food. There is also another type of entertainment, like during one of the nights, people are supposed to hook up with each other. The torches are lit up, the music is playing, and people are singing, dancing, and drinking. The festival allows a large number of strangers to feel close to each other as a family that eats, drinks, sings, and has fun together.

Brekkusöngur

The Sunday night is a sing-along, affectionately known as brekkusöngur (hill song), where thousands come together on a grassy hill to sing along with a lone musician. This heartfelt moment of unity is followed by the striking sight of 140 red flares lighting up the valley at midnight, symbolizing each year of the festival's history. A special "Thjodhatid" song is dedicated to the festival. Other well-known Icelandic songs are also played so everyone in the valley can sing along under a sky illuminated by bonfires. "Brekkusöngur" comes from the natural amphitheater formed by the hill overlooking the main stage. This iconic event has become a beloved tradition at the festival, drawing crowds of thousands to join in the communal music-making.

Tickets

Attendees can choose from various passes to tailor their experience. The Saturday and Sunday, priced at 20,990 Icelandic Króna (ISK) and ISK 21,990, grant entry to one festival day. The Weekend pass provides access to both days of the celebration for ISK 29,990. For those seeking a more exclusive experience, the VIP pass is priced at ISK 39,990, providing access to premium amenities.

History of Þjóðhátíð

The Festival, originating in 1874, boasts a rich history, making it a venerable tradition in Icelandic culture. Initially intended as a grand celebration at Þingvellir to commemorate a millennium of Christianity, fate intervened when inclement weather stranded islanders, preventing their attendance. Undeterred, they forged ahead, crafting their own Festival, which has since endured and flourished. This year heralds the 150th anniversary of the islanders' inaugural National Festival, a testament to its enduring significance and resilience.

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Authors: Sophia Andrus