Happy New Year From “Icestock”

Happy New Year From “Icestock”

For the past few days, preparations have been underway for “Icestock,” the big New Year’s Eve celebration/festival here at McMurdo Station. 

Icestock gets its name from the famous Woodstock Music Festival which was held 43 years ago (August, 1969) in the Catskills area of upstate New York.  Woodstock’s line-up of musicians included thirty-two acts featuring some of the most important classic Rock and Roll groups of the 1960’s. The audience was estimated to reach nearly a half million people, all watching the performances taking place in a field on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in rural New York (just south of the town of Woodstock).


(Image above was retrieved from Google Images of Woodstock collection)

Many people say that Woodstock was one of the most important moments in the history of Rock and Roll music.  Indeed, some of my favorite musicians/groups were among those who performed that August.  Some famous groups of that time who declined the invitation to perform were probably kicking themselves afterward, because of its success and place in history.

Icestock has become a New Year’s tradition here in McMudo, with many bands performing live on stage throughout the festival.  It’s a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve and ring in 2013 here at the bottom of the world!  Although we didn’t have the crowd that Woodstock had (I think we currently have close to 900 people on station), I think just about everyone in McMurdo saw at least part of Icestock last night.

A few days ago…first came a stage and sign…


Next a coffee house called “Sawbucks”  (a parody on Starbucks of course)…



Machines moved equipment for the bands that would be performing…


And people started prepping earlier in the day for the big chili cook-off!


Even the town skuas got into the action…hoping for a scrap to hit the ground or someone to turn their back for just a moment so they could swoop in and grab a bite to eat.



By afternoon of New Year’s Eve day, the stage was set and ready to go!


A sign noted the bands who would be playing all night.


Here is short video clip of one of the bands that performed early in the evening.

The crowds gathered to be a part of this all-station event, and although it wasn’t Woodstock, it was a fun event!


Daren Blythe, one of the WISSARD drillers was in two of the bands.  He was playing the banjo in the video clip you just watched!  Later he was part of another band playing rock music.  It was a cold evening, but at times the sun came out from behind the clouds and we stayed warm by dancing a lot.  This was a fantastic “people watching” event.  There are many interesting people who work in McMurdo!


Today was a quiet day around McMurdo, and I was happy to sleep in, then go to brunch.  Later this afternoon I took a great hike with a bunch of WISSARD’s and a few other friends who had decided to do the hike around Ob Hill.  It was a perfect day for a hiking, and I loved starting the new year on a hike with friends.



The volcanic rocks around Ob Hill have been weathered by wind and water.


This short video clip gives you an idea of the terrain. We are circling Ob Hill, which was once an active volcano.


Lots of Weddell seals were also taking advantage of our great weather, lounging on the sea ice.  A lot more cracks have opened up and there are small areas of open water in some spots.


Looking back on McMurdo Sound…and the path we had climbed around Ob Hill.


HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!  I hope the paths you take this coming year lead you to exciting adventures and time with family and friends.

11 responses to “Happy New Year From “Icestock”

  1. Happy 2013, Betty. As I took my walk this morning, the temperature was seven degrees. I was thinking of you and trying to picture 50 mph winds on top of our single digit temp. Happy to see the sun in your videos and pictures!

    • Happy New Year, Pat! Yes, your temps are much lower than ours right now. When I think back to that night at Happy Camper School, I keep hoping that it won’t be like that while we’re camping for 2+ weeks out at the deep field camp, starting in mid-January. I’m enjoying the warmer temps while I can! 🙂

  2. Happy 2013 Boop. I love seeing how everyone celebrated New Year’s at McMurdo. What a great time. Also happy to see the nice weather for Jan 1 and your hike. Rain, again, here in Heidelberg so we opted to just relax and enjoy our time together. Cheers and hugs from Heidelberg.

    • Hey Kathy….Happy New Year! The weather has been pretty nice for taking hikes or walks around the surrounding area. It’s good to get out and moving, especially since I spend a lot of time on the computer each day. Miss you! LIOB Boop xo

  3. Happy New Year my good friend! Looks like you had fun. Gary was in bed all day and night sick, so we had a quiet night with mom, dad (Joe) Harriett and the kids. We did make it to midnight which is surprising these days. Miss you

  4. What a wonderful start to a new year! Loved the videos— looks like you’re all doing it Right. 🙂 Keep dancin’!

  5. (Amy) Thank you for sharing all of your adventures! Happy New Year!!!! (“Icestock” and “Sawbucks” – hilarious!)

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