Ascension Festival Iceland MMXXI in November of last year was one of the most memorable metal festivals this writer has ever attended, and also one of the most heart-warming, despite the chilly temperatures outside the venue and the often wintry music inside.
The good feelings were in part the result of knowing about the avalanche of hurdles the festival had to leap over in order to make the event a reality — which included two covid-related postponements, two venue changes, numerous band cancellations, and of course the persistent peril of the virus, which included a surge happening in Iceland right around the time when the festival began and which threatened to cause a government cancellation of the festival’s third and fourth days. The fact that the event went off at all, much less as beautifully as it did, made it one to remember.
Of course, the music was also fantastic, as were both the people who worked the fest and those who attended. It was as if everyone, both on-stage and off, genuinely and deeply understood how lucky they were to be there after 18 months of lockdown and after all the ridiculous odds stacked against the event happening at all.