The Art in Light Festival in February illuminates the town of Seyðisfjörður in East Fjords as the inhabitants are expecting the sun to peek over the mountains and reach the town with its glorious rays.

The Art in Light Festival or List í Ljósi as it translates to in Icelandic will soon illuminate the town of Seyðisfjörður for an entire weekend. The art festival celebrates the return of the sun – a long-missed friend who this town has not seen for three months!
 
 
Information about The Light Festival in Seyðisfjörður
  • List í Ljósi takes place 14th – 15th of Feb. 2020, Seyðisfjörður: 18:00 – 22:00
  • Additional event program 10th – 14th of Feb. 2020, Herðubreið, Seyðisfjörður
  • All exhibitions, performances, and events are free to the public
  • For more information visit: www.listiljosi.com  and follow #listiljosi20  
 
 
Photo credit; © Ómar Bogason 
 
 
List í Ljósi 
One would think that winter is a quiet time of year in a remote fjord on the East Coast of Iceland. However, in Seyðisfjörður, winter equals busy preparations for the annual light festival. This year’s festival is the fifth edition of the vibrant festival which takes place on the 14th and 15th of February.
 
Throughout two days the town of only 650 inhabitants will transform into an outdoor art exhibition attracting more than 2000 visitors! Here, the streets, the homes, even the surrounding mountains will be used as canvases for showing various art pieces by both Icelandic and International artists
 
As the festival, all of the art works are dealing with light in one way or another; the longing for light, the celebration of its return or simply using light as a material in the works.
 
Some of the art pieces are grand scale visual works covering entire mountain sides, others are sculptural or performative works involving installations and happenings such as dance performances.
 
 
Photo credit; © Chantal Anderson 
 
The dark winter months
It might be difficult to imagine for a person who has never had to be without the sun for more than a cloudy day. In Seyðisfjörður the sun dissapears behind the surrounding mountains from mid-November until February due to a combination of tall mountains and a low-hanging winter sun.
 
List í Ljósi is a festival made to mark the return of sun. The weekend in which the festival takes place is the exact weekend where the inhabitants of this little fjord village are expecting the sun to, once again, peek over the mountains and reach the town with its glorious rays. 
 
 
Photo credit; © Nikolas Grabar 
 
Friends and strangers side-by-side
For two days the festival’s program is filled to the brim with activities for people of all ages. More than 30 artists from all over the world come here to participate with their art works and the inhabitants of Seyðisfjörður are invited to take part in the celebrations too. 
 
Every year the local school children engage actively in the festival. In 2019, the children decorated the primary school building by using colored lights in the windows. In front of the colorful building they did a dance performance in costumes made of fairy lights while the entire town was watching and cheering!
 
This year’s performance program will remain a secret until the festival officially opens on Friday the 14th at 6pm in the evening, but from the buzz in town it is safe to say that both young and mature are cooking on something special for this year’s festival!
 
 
Photo credit; © Chantal Anderson 
 
Attracting an International crowd
Last year, the List í Ljósi Festival was awarded the prestigious Eyrarrósin Cultural Award 2019 just a few days before the festival itself took place. With this award the festival was celebrated as one of the most important cultural events in Iceland!
 
Due to its success the festival has grown to an impressive size during the past years. Within only five years the festival has created a reputation as an Internationally renowned art festival attracting both an Icelandic and an International crowd of visitors. 
 
People from across the globe travel to tiny Seyðisfjörður to experience the free-of-charge festival - each year with an even bigger and more outstanding line-up of artists and events. 
 
This year, leading up to the actual festival which takes place on a Friday and Saturday evening, the team behind List í Ljósi is inviting everybody to participate in a week-long program of performances, talks, panel discussions and events from the 10th - 14th of February. 
 
The warm-up activities are happening in Seyðisfjörður’s local community center, Herðurbreið which also works as the heart of the festival itself.
 
 
Photo credit; © Nikolas Grabar 
 
 
Follow the path
The festival itself is created as an curated outdoor art trail. On Friday and Saturday evening between 6pm and 10pm visitors can follow a path which will lead you in a big circle around Seyðisfjörður. Walking this trail you will pass by the various art works exhibited; some being projected up onto house walls, others floating on the fjord, installed in the snow or performed live.
 
Even the northern lights have sometimes visited during the festival as if nature wanted to participate in the festival too! It is not difficult to imagine the other-worldly feeling of walking around on a clear frosty night experiencing art made by both humans and nature.
 
 
Photo credit; © Ómar Bogason 
 
 
Weather joker
‘Northern lights and an outdoor art festival. But how is the weather in February?’, one might wonder. 
 
Truth be told, the weather can be a joker in Seyðisfjörður. Due to the surrounding mountains and the location close to the sea, sudden weather changes are anything but rare in this village. February is known to be both snowy, rainy and windy – sometimes even within the same day! 
 
Hosting an art festival in a remote fjord in February might seem like a crazy idea for many. Hosting the festival primarily outside must be plain mad! 
 
Festival visitors need to dress appropriately for an outdoor show. That said – knocking on wood – the festival has so far experienced magical luck when it comes to the weather clearing up on the exact festival days creating beautiful and memorable experiences at the List í Ljósi Festival.
 
Photo credit; © Nikolas Grabar 
 
 
The List í Ljósi Festival truly brings a fun and energic vibe to the small village of Seyðisfjörður. This is an event not to be missed if you are anywhere near the East Coast of Iceland in February!
 
A proud supporter of the festival; HI Hostels in Seyðisfjörður, Hafaldan Harbour and Hafaldan Old Hospital.
 
 
 

Nanna Vibe S. Juelsbo is a Danish writer who lives in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland.

Working as a freelance journalist and the founder of a Nordic writer´s academy, Nanna Vibe’s work is informed by her interest within art, nature and literature.