In the early summer days in Reykjavík, the sun stays high in the sky, bringing an all-encompassing sense of warmth and delight to Iceland’s hilly, volcanic capital by the sea. Those nights aren’t too different either, as the sun never fully sets during the solstice, a 24-hour “midnight sun” that breathes life into the city’s rising club scene. This phenomenon begs Iceland to wake up and celebrate, a call to action that Secret Solstice is seeking to answer.
Secret Solstice is a music festival held in Reykjavík during the city’s midnight sun to both celebrate the solstice and encapsulate the nonstop feeling of festivals in general. What was initially a three-day festival has expanded to four as Secret Solstice celebrates its third year, with its opening day (Thursday, June 16) being offered free of charge. The festival is held in Laugardalur, the city’s hot springs, which also doubles as a recreational area — meaning attendees can camp nearby for 9.900 Icelandic krónur (approx $76 USD).
While Secret Solstice is not solely an electronic music festival — guests like Radiohead and Of Monsters and Men headline, for example — dance music snags a heavy majority of the lineup. Staples include Die Antwoord, Kerri Chandler, Afrika Bambaataa, Art Department, Róisín Murphy, and Skream. Meanwhile, growing names like Maxxi Soundsystem and Edu Imbernon lie alongside hip hop staples Lady Leshurr and Flatbush Zombie and Icelandic natives like Reykjavíkurdætur, Úlfur Úlfur and XXX Rottweiler, making this one of the most musically accessible festivals this summer.
In its second year, Secret Solstice offered the first ever dance party held inside a glacier, throwing a dance party called Into the Glacier inside the 10,000 year-old Langjökull. As this year’s glacier parties sold out almost instantly, the festival has now added an additional party on the morning of June 17, open to the first 100 ticket-buyers.
And the crazy parties don’t stop there. Secret Solstice also has access to the Secret Lagoon in Flúðir, a heated volcanic-powered pool that reaches temperatures of around 39ºC/102ºF. These Secret Lagoon parties, like Into the Glacier, are limited to 100 attendees to ensure both safety and adequate transportation, as Flúðir is over an hour away from Reykjavík; the festival provides transportation for ticketholders but cautions them that this is a full-day commitment, as shuttles leave at 11am and return at 6pm.
The third offering by Secret Solstice is its Midnight Sun Boat Party, an excursion from Reykjavík’s harbor into the North Atlantic where partygoers can watch the sunset hit the horizon and rise again. Like the rest of the festival’s special events, the boat party is only open to 200 attendees.
Iceland’s exchange rate provides a quite affordable experience for travelers wanting to get the most bang out of their buck. This means that while Secret Solstice’s price tags might seem high, this is one of the most reasonable festivals: a 24,900 ISK general admission pass actually costs around 190 USD. Because of that lenient cost, the festival has plenty of upscale options that are relatively affordable compared to other festivals. A VIP pass ($271) offers a souvenir lanyard program upon entry, priority VIP lanes at all ticketing, token, concession, and bars, access to on-site VIP bars, and local discounts with Secret Solstice partners in Reykjavík.
The Óðinn Super-VIP Ticket ($1018) is only available to 50 guests and provides one bottle of Reyka Vodka per guest per day, three meal tokens per guest, per day, one meal token for the Viking Feast hall per guest, access to the exclusive Óðinn bar, personal concierges, early site access, a chance to meet artists, free admission to the Midnight Sun Boat Party, free transportation to and from the Blue Lagoon, a free airport transfer from KEF airport, a free Golden Circle tour with Reykjavík Excursions, VIP bar access, chaperoned access to backstage and special areas, a souvenir t-shirt and lanyard program, free access to side parties, and access to the official staff and artists afterparty.
And Secret Solstice’s Package of the Gods takes the cake for the ultimate festival experience. Limited to only three packages total (for up to two people each), this package costs $11,700 and has the works — everything mentioned above plus private car service for the full weekend, a helicopter ride to the top of Langjökull for Into the Glacier, complete backstage access for two, and more to be announced.
While travel to Iceland has never been easier, some of us just don’t have the time to book flights, hotels, and plan out a festival experience. So Secret Solstice has taken things one step further and basically planned your trip for you — on top of a-la-carte festival planning, they offer full-package deals that include festival passes, accommodations, and flights in one easy-to-purchase bundle.
It has to be said: this is the festival you want on your bucket list. Nothing quite like Secret Solstice has ever been put on before. Its nonstop, sun-up factor is just the tip of the iceberg, with its parties in glaciers, secret lagoons, and on boats taking the cake for most unique venues a festival could use. And that’s not counting the events the festival has yet to announce. Secret Solstice is the do-not-miss festival creeping onto everyone’s radar, and it’s only a matter of time before its passes become nearly impossible to grab.