images and words by Stefan Raduta
Ever asked yourself what makes a festival truly extraordinary and memorable? Ever asked yourself exactly what that special ‘something’ is, what kind of miraculous seeds it plants in your subconscious, making you want to return year after year?
Even festivals new to the scene want you to yearn your return. Are there witches casting spells on the uninitiated? Is there something in the incense, in the air, or is it something completely different, more than what the human eye or ear can even perceive?
An unforgettable experience is about how it truly makes you feel. It is each person's singular and intimate connection to the moment. Maybe it’s about how your heart starts beating once you walked through its gates. Maybe, a real music festival really should be more than just a bunch of band logos and sponsors and some uninspired image photoshopped into a poster. Could it be the place? Because let’s be honest, nothing beats the beauty of nature. We’re all sick and tired of walls, stairs and concrete – when we want to escape we should really escape and not end up in another box with just a different name.
And what if that place has an uncommonly beautiful history, making it stand out amongst all other places in the world, because there’s simply no other like it? And suppose the people welcoming you are quite possibly the warmest and most relaxed staff you’ve encountered, dressed in traditional clothing and just being themselves, always natural, always smiling and in a great mood, so kind and hospitable that you immediately feel at home? And what if there’s a Viking village next door with blacksmiths and jewel makers, lovely women knitting or cooking for you, young men teaching you how to throw an axe or showing you how swords are made?
And finally, what if the curation for this beautiful event is actually complementing its uniqueness, being equally diverse and unorthodox as its presenting you not only with artists that you’ve know and grown to love, but also introducing you unknown genres and names. You might just want to be grim and cvlt and headbang to Mork and Dimmu Borgir, but chances are some night you’ll end up dancing to Perturbator, putting Black Metal on hold for a while – life is short after all and you have too many black shirts anyway. Live it up a little!
Enter Runa Luna and her amazing team at Midgardsblot, Norway’s fastest growing and quite possibly most talked about event right now. Next week it will open its doors again for the fourth year in a row. This is a very special event unlike any other I’ve ever participated in, for reasons that become obvious as soon as you set foot on its sacred grounds.
These are not just words thrown in the air you see, Midgardsblot actually takes place in Borre National Park, the largest and oldest burial mound site in Northern Europe. Yes, you read that correctly.
Basically if you have a passion for Norse mythology or have any sort of affinity towards the striking Viking heritage, this is the place you must absolutely see before you die. There’s a very unmistakable and powerful energy in this here. You feel it in the marrow of your bones with every step you take, especially at night, by the camp fire, by the water, walking through the forest, laying your back on the grass. It’s impossible to put it in words, like most things in this life that are truly meaningful.
I’ve wanted to write about my first experience at Midgardsblot since I walked through its gates last year, but the second I arrived it became painfully obvious it would be a very difficult, if not an impossible task. Mind you, I master the art of procrastination unlike anyone else I’ve met, but this was just different and I knew it would be a problem…so I took a lot of photographs, just so I wouldn’t have to go through the pain of saying a single word about it. These days the less I have to write the better I feel, the burden of the written word is not an easy one. It worked, until now.
It’s been a almost a full year and at this point I just need to get it off my chest.
Midgardsblot is hands down a one of a kind, spellbinding and unforgettable experience any lover of underground music and history should live. And it’s not only the sanctified soil that speaks to you – it’s the people behind it and the people who attend, year after year. There’s joy and goodness all around. It’s a celebration of past and present, earth and fire, spirit and flesh, brought together by a distinctive and esoteric explosion of artistic performances. Everyone’s relaxed and at ease here, but make no mistake about it – in the collective consciousness of those present there’s a connection with the surrounding nature and its history that has no equal in any other place, unless its history goes back millennia like this one.
You feel it when you walk, you feel it when you watch that beautiful fjord as far as your eyes can see, you feel it at the twilight’s darkest moment as intensely as you feel it early in the morning: time is only an illusion. You’ve always been here. The only difference is maybe that back then, the Vikings weren’t enjoying mimosas and gourmet food on the ferries sailing between the Borre islands. They didn’t have wi-fi nor ferries, but they certainly were sailing the same seas, and breathing that same sweet air.
I lied. If I didn’t want to write about Midgardsblot is not because I didn’t know how to. The real reason is quite selfish one, but it comes out of a good place. Deep down I don’t really want more people to know about it, because it should always feel this special and intimate, it should never change. So there’s that.
Thank you Runa Luna for Heilung last year, and for the amazing hospitality and warmth. I can’t wait to see you and your wonderful team again next week!
Follow SR Photography at his Facebook page here.
For more photos from Midgardsblot, click here.
For more info on the festival, visit their website here.