The first thing I notice as I step out of Reykjavík airport is the air. A deathly early start and subsequent trudge through the polluted fog of London to Gatwick airport had me feeling less than fresh, but now the crispness of the Icelandic atmosphere sends a revitalising shock through my body more effective than any caffeine concoction.
As I scan the horizon and fully take in the new surroundings, my travel fatigue all but dissipates. The views are already breath-taking without having left the car park. Azure blue sky stretches to the end of the earth until it meets the inky outline of mountains and dissolves into a soft orangey shimmer, unblemished in between but for the floating mist of fading jet trails. The sun provides little warmth to the brisk air, but shines brightly, illuminating winding roads flanked by fields of contrasting pale green shrubbery and charcoal soil. Even the crudely shaped rocks that lay strewn across the landscape seem to carry the intrinsic might of the volcanoes that formed them.
The impact of the country’s beauty doesn’t diminish over the course of the weekend. My mouth hangs slightly agape throughout the three days I spend in the capital city and surrounding countryside, acquainting myself with the Icelandic underground and experiencing the debut Taktfakt festival.
Taktfakt is the name under which Carmen Jóhannsdóttir has been throwing parties since 2011. This weekend marks her most ambitious celebration yet. The main event is a 12-hour techno rave in a cave on the glistening shore of Lake Kleifarvatn in the Reykjanesskagi peninsula, while a number of more low-key pre- and post- shindigs takes place across venues in Reykjavík.