Stage access, tears and a long summer night

Árstíðir – Crossroads festival, Krakow; Juy 20th, 2013

Two weeks ago in Rudolstadt I had very casually suggested that it would be great to take pictures from stage one day. Daníel had given me the idea saying that he would have loved to have a picture of that huge audience in the market square. A few hours after my suggestion everything was fixed and the guys invited me to be the on stage photographer on Krakow. When I heard the news I was so flabbergasted I did not even properly thank them. On stage? Me? I mean really? Wooohooo! 😀

Now that the big day was here I was more anxious than I wanted to admit, not to mention rather excited. As promised, M. and O. had picked me up at my hotel in the morning and we drove to Krakow together. Met the guys in time for soundcheck, got my press pass, waited, chatted, watched.  Soundcheck gave me a chance to practice taking pictures from stage. It was quite a challenge lightwise, but much fun. Afterwards the guys went for an interview and it was time for me to get food. Back again soon, more waiting.

Before Árstíðir’s turn on stage Marga Muzika from Vilnius were playing. I absolutely loved their songs, the harmony singing, the instruments and their outfits too. Beautiful music and beautiful voices. They played songs from different countries and in different languages: Russian, Polish, Lithuanian, even Yiddish. Their name means “color music” and it fits perfectly. What a treat it was listening to them. 🙂

Finally it was time for Árstíðir. I walked on stage behind them and this time, I was in full work mode, concentrated on taking pictures. I was walking back and forth behind them, trying to capture the faces of the audience, searching for new perspectives. Sometimes I didn’t even know what song was being played, yet in-between I stopped to listen to the music for a little while.

The market square was pretty much filled with people and watching their reactions, some listening fully concentrated, some full of wonder was just amazing. I watched adults with their heads resting on their hands, eyes wide open in astonishment, lost in music and little kids, stopping what they were doing to listen. At one point I caught the eye of a woman who was singing along and we shared a smile because I was just doing the same.

As the sun slowly set behind the buildings and an almost full moon appeared, it became all the more magical. With old songs as well as brand new ones, the guys once again  captivated their audience. I’m not really sure when it happened this time, but eventually everyone was transfixed, maybe even transformed by the music, listening attentively during songs and cheering loudly in-between. During ‘Nú gleymist ég’ all the emotions caught up with me and I cried, sitting down at the side of the stage, resting my camera for a while. It was a bit overwhelming.

The set was shorter than the previous night, but there was so much more energy flowing back and forth between them and the audience. Judging by how the music was received, I would guess the audience was a mixture of people who just came to see whoever was playing and those who were there specifically to see Árstíðir. Being a free concert this was a good opportunity of course. No matter why people had come there, they all looked happy in the end and I’m sure quite a few left as fans. 🙂

This was one of those nights were everything was right. Every song fit, the atmosphere was perfect, the venue was great and the audience only made it better. Seeing the whole market place with people who came to listen certainly gave me an extra kick and I had the feeling the guys loved it too, especially after playing for so few people the previous day. All songs were well received, even the ones hardly anybody had ever heard before. If the new album is like the songs I’ve heard so far, it is going to be brilliant. 🙂

After ‘Shades’ and ‘Tárin’ they were even allowed a small encore before they had to make room for the next band. Many fans came to talk to them, shake their hands and get CDs signed. They were surrounded for quite some time. As always it made me happy to see how many people were moved by the music and wanted to share the feeling. It was an amazing night to end this summer tour for me. Árstíðir would move on to Prague the following day, but for me, home and work was calling so it was time for goodbyes.

Not just yet though. 😉 The night ended somewhere around 4 a.m. at the Alchemia Bar in the Jewish Quarter of Krakow as a night out with friends should end: The bar closed and kicked us out. 😀 There was no sleep to be found for me after, but I would not have wanted to miss this for the world.

Setlist (out of order)

Ljoð í Sand
Á meðan jörðin sefur
Sunday Morning
þér ég unni
Days and Night
Við dagsins hnig
Lost in you
New Song (Jón)
Nú gleymist ég
You just have to know of me

mix of two a capella songs

Árstíðir summer tour – 5 gigs down, none to go. Last stop: home

Marga Muzika pictures

Árstíðir pictures

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