Heilung, Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik and more at Borre (2019)

Borre (Borre, Norway)

Heilung, Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik, Enslaved, Deicide, Gaahls Wyrd, Memoriam, Tormentor, Vreid, Einherjer, Ereb Altor, Zuriaake, Urarv, Whip, Byrdi, Vóluspá, Gost And More Tba...
There is one festival which I have been putting off writing about for several years […]
By Erika Kuenstler & Sarunas Dreseris
August 14, 2019

There is one festival which I have been putting off writing about for several years now. The main reason is that I feel that no matter how eloquent my words are, it is close to impossible to do the festival full justice. Try as I might, I can't find ways of describing the majestic atmosphere, redolent in history and power; the overwhelming friendliness and acceptance of the people there; or the unrivaled programme, carefully wrought each year. I can, of course, only be trying to capture the magic that is MIDGARDSBLOT.

Located on the shores of one of the famed Norwegian fjords, Borre seems to be just a small fleck on the map at first glance. Even in person, you might be forgiven for not thinking much of the place if you're just passing through. The verdant meadows lined with oak and birch trees and gently undulating hills seems unspectacular at first. However, on taking a closer look, the hills seem to be too regular, all having similar shapes and sizes. However, what lies before you is no ordinary place; it is a haven seeped in Norse history, culture, and magic. The unassuming hills are in reality ship mounds, marking the location of the graves of prominent vikings. A few hundred meters inland, you find the Midgard Viking Centre, a museum dedicated to the rich history of this beautiful corner of Norway. Here, informative exhibits transport you back to a bygone age, giving you a glimpse of everyday life hundreds of years ago. A short walk brings you to a viking longhouse, painstakingly reconstructed to resemble original longhouses as closely as possible. And it is at this incomparable location where once a year MIDGARDSBLOT festival happens.

As you can probably already imagine, this is no ordinary festival. MIDGARDSBLOT is more a heady blend of a remarkable way of life, of ancient tradition, of music both archaic and modern, of celebration and of remembrance. The festival begins with a blot, a ritualistic sacrifice honouring the old Norse gods and following the traditions of our ancient norse forefathers. Mesmerising drums beat out an entrancing rhythm as those who wish to can use sprigs of sacred wood to make a blood sacrifice to the god of their choice. Following on from this, the festival is officially opened, and the bands begin. For three days, only the best Folk, Pagan and Black Metal bands play; some inside the majestic viking longhall, some on the stage set up alongside the hall, and some in the viking camp. This year features some spectacular bands, which are an absolute must. Right at the top of the list is undoubtedly HEILUNG. This experimental Folk band deliver one of the most breathtaking shows I've ever had the pleasure of seeing, their historical melodies blending with the unparalleled surroundings of the festival to make a completely captivating performance. ENSLAVED are also much beloved at the festival, fitting perfectly into the atmosphere. A further highlight not to be missed is IVAR BJØRNSON & EINAR SELVIK, the project formed by ENSLAVED and WARDRUNA masterminds respectively. These phenomenal performances are just the tip of the ice-berg, with many other amazing artists set to deliver stunning and unforgettable shows.

And this isn't even all that MIDGARDSBLOT has to offer: there are also a series of seminars held in the mornings each day that cover a variety of fascinating topics. For example, in previous years there have been courses on the possible sword techniques used by vikings, lectures on the likely culinary history of vikings, the use of runes in ENSLAVED's music, insights into the songwriting of WARDRUNA, and panel discussions on a range of topics, to name just a few highlights from recent years. For those who feel like being more active, there were also things like guided tours of the viking mounds, or even metal yoga on offer. And for those more interested in seeing what life in the viking age might have looked like, there is also a viking camp, where reenactors are more than happy to show you how life in a bygone age was like. In addition to all of this, there is even a small tattoo convention that happens, with some of the most prominent artists being available, even including traditional dot-work tattoos.

In conclusion, I hope my words were enough to at least give a small intriguing glimpse into the actual greatness of the festival and that I've convinced you to come experience MIDGARDSBLOT for yourself. If yes then we will be waiting for you in Borre, from the 15th to the 17th of August. For those wishing to be there a bit earlier, the campsite opens on the 14th, with a warm-up party happening in Horten that evening. Metal Temple looks forward to seeing you there!

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