This year saw the return of a Vocal Booth Gathering, usually around Christmas time in Birmingham. However, for 2022 we decided to take things up a level and head over to Reykjavik, Iceland.
The original plan, back in the early part of the year, was for myself to head over to Reykjavik for a gig organised by Tommi White, VB and Pressure Radio DJ. Iceland is somewhere Michelle has always dreamed of going to and so I agreed to take on a rare DJ booking to celebrate our anniversary and her Birthday. When Tommi’s wife, Katrin, became manager of a great hotel, right on the Marina, it made sense to see if we could get a preferential rate and invite a few others to join us. One status update on FB later and it seemed that quite a few people liked the idea of a trip to Iceland and so, in true VB style, what followed was tweak after tweak, addition after addition until a full blown Vocal Booth Winter Gathering in Iceland had been born.
Overnight in Edinburgh
Skip forward to Wednesday 15th December. Waking at 3am for an early flight over to Edinburgh from Alicante, myself, Michelle, Drew & Mikey enjoyed an overnight stay in Scotland’s capital (no direct flights to Iceland worked for us). Massive thanks to Dave Elders for the ride from the airport to an incredible apartment in the heart of the city we booked for one night. We landed and it was cold, cold, cold. Killing time before we could get access to the apartment, we walked up and down Princes Street, then a full tour of the Castle where we even got to watch the firing of the 1pm gun followed by a walk around the Xmas market. We enjoyed a chilled evening ready for another 3am wake up call for the early flight to Reykjavik.
There was a healthy Scottish contingent on the early flight from EHI who were to be joined in Iceland by, in total, 50 or so of the VB Family from different parts of the UK and Spain.
The first thing that struck me upon arriving was how friendly the taxi driver was for the 45 minutes journey from airport to hotel. It was like a full blown Iceland history and local interest talk. This was to be repeated wherever we went, the Icelandic people are super-friendly and helpful indeed. After checking in to the Reykjavik Marina hotel we took a stroll around the centre and was in awe of the architecture and, not surprisingly, the cold. Having come from 21 degrees in Spain, the cold added to the fun of the trip but boy, it didn’t take long for the chill to cut into your bones, despite the extremely sensible and warm winter clothing we had on.
Before we flew across, we had heard about how expensive things are in Iceland. Some places are indeed super costly whilst there are some more reasonable prices here and there. One costly trip was a night time mini bus ride in search of the Northern Lights. This was a 4 hour round trip out on a bus, away from the glare of the city lights where it was supposedly easier to see the lights. We didn’t really see too much with the naked eye whilst out on the trip but we were fortunate enough to see a display directly outside the hotel at 1am. Job’s a good un!
Friday morning I was a guest on local radio station K100 and the breakfast show to promote the event. Then we went and enjoyed an afternoon at the Sky Lagoon. A 15 minute journey to this geothermal pool is a MUST. Nothing I type here will do the experience justice. A mixture of the setting and being able to enjoy this with the Family as well as one or two VB crew… magical!
Then it was back to the hotel to enjoy music provided by our VB superstars all weekend.
The event itself
As people arrived on Thursday and Friday and went about their business, Tommi & I were having to deal with a few issues in the background which tarnished our enjoyment of the event to begin with. Whilst a full programme of music had been carefully put together, in light of the fact there was so much to see and do locally, the intention was for the DJs & night life to be a compliment to the trip as opposed to the main feature. With this in mind, there was no charge for the entertainment we put on and we even were able to provide free commemorative scarves & wristbands for everyone in attendance, thanks to the hard work Tommi put in to secure sponsorship. The relaxed nature of the event worked well as people came and went at their own convenience whilst enjoying the facilities the incredible hotel and Reykjavik centre had to offer. Daytime parties on Friday, Saturday & Sunday at the hotel Bar were accompanied by night time fun until the early hours in an even smaller venue. Intimate and intense are two words that spring to mind. A series of unfortunate circumstances meant we were not able to present the wonderful Jaidene Veda ‘live experience’ we had hoped for but everyone was still overjoyed to have met this wonderful artist in such surroundings and we were honoured to have her join the VB Family. We will be seeing Jaidene in Spain, rest assured.
Pretty much all DJ sets were recorded, the wonderful David Elders will make them available at some point over the Christmas/New Year period.
When we arrived there was no snow. Friday afternoon saw that change and it snowed pretty much non-stop for 36 hours, creating a Winter Wonderland, picture postcard look to the whole thing which added even more magic. This, unfortunately, did have a detrimental affect on plans, meaning some of the VB Family were stranded in Iceland longer than they had intended. I waited for everyone to get home safely before posting this blog, some getting an extra 4 or 5 days in Iceland… ‘The Stranded’ (as they will lovingly referred to from here on in) have their own tales to tell about the experience and have stated it was definitely one of a lifetime.
Numerous photos and videos are available to be seen on the official event page here. Pretty much every single person who joined us said they had another life-enriching VB experience and the amount of praise flowing for all we do collectively was, well, just wonderful.
Personal thanks to everyone who was part of another chapter in the VB story, to Tommi White for making it all happen so smoothly (on the surface). To Katrin and all the wonderful staff at the hotel (really, no words can express our gratitude for everything the hotel did for us) and to all the people of Reykjavik for being so hospitable. I am certain we’ll be seeing all you all again soon. “Takk”
Did you attend? Maybe you could leave a glowing review for the hotel here?