One of the most interesting and innovative festivals in Iceland is the annual Steam punk festival in the village of Bíldudalur. Indeed over the course of the festival, Bíldudalur becomes the Steampunk land of Bildalia with its borders, a flag, armed forces and royalty. This year (2015) the festival takes place from the 20th of June to 27th of June.
The man behind the Steampunk festival is the local Ingimar Oddsson who has published the e-book Bildalian chronicles. We at Stuck in Iceland are intrigued by this cool concept and decided to interview Ingimar.
How did you get the idea for Bildalia?
When I was a child I sometimes lived in a fantasy world like many kids do. I often came to Bíldudalur with my mother which was born and raised here, and the stories, the local history of the place captivated me. My Bildalian Chronicles and the idea of the Kingdom of Bildalia is really redecorated story of the area, going about two centuries back. This was my inspiration, and of course the classical science fiction of my childhood.
Can you describe some of the major features of the festival?
The Steampunk Iceland – Ævintýrahátíð is a sort of an ongoing play or live action role play where the guests dress up in the Steampunk-Victorian outfit and adopt their own character during the week. The stage is the Kingdom of Bildalia and some of the scenario is pre planned as well as the events every night. The rest is really up to the guests and it really is an event of surprises where the guests are creating the story with their own characters. This is a great opportunity for creativity, and there will be a market place where guests can sell their products and introduce their ideas. I think I could say that the main feature is to live the adventure. The story line of the festival is not necessarily attached to the novel Bildalian Chronicles but it is related.
Do guests need to buy tickets for the festival?
It is free admission to the festival, but each event, concerts and plays will have different price from 1000 to 3000 iskr. All outside activities are free. If guest want to support the festival and Bildalia the can have a permanent citizenship with a passport that will also give the free admission to all events during the week. The passport will this summer pe at 12.000- iskr. and only one hundred will be made, so it’s really a collector´s item as well.
Should guests bring their own costume?
That is the greatest fun of it all, creating ones own Steampunk costume and showing it off to the others. I remember last summer when during the day we walked about in amazement just looking at all the costumes, the creativity and the effort put into it was just astonishing.
What are the best places to visit in the vicinity of Bildudalur?
The westfjords are like an island on its own considering the weather and the landscape. The Arnarfjördur fjord is the second largest and it has very interesting pearls hidden within. I would say the most popular were the Dynjandi waterfall, Ketildalir area with its golden sand beaches and the most remote art gallery in Iceland. But in bíldudalur you can also find the Sea monster museum which was chosen one of the most outstanding cultural projects of Iceland 2014 (Eyrarrósin 2nd. place) The Sea monster museum is also the most “Steampunk’d” museum in Iceland and perhaps the world. Check out the official web site for the Sea Monster musteum.
Anything you want to add?
You can get the english version of the Bildalian Chronicles online for free. This was the first book of three to come. The second this year and the third next year. Most of the events during the week of the Steampunk Iceland festival will be hosted at the Sea monster museum where one can also get information and the Passport of citizenship in Bildalia.