Three weeks ago, the Roundhouse became a venue for a multi-sense playground of Nordic culture. As a response to the impact that Iceland and Scandinavia's music, art, film, television, food, amongst many others, have had on Britain, Ja Ja Ja Festival was launched. You already will have seen Tim Ferguson's photos of the weekend, now allow me to try and put into words what I went through during my time there.

The Roundhouse has been used for many multimedia events in the past, attempting to utilise all of its nooks and crannies to make the building itself a pleasure to roam around, and not just a giant lobby for the main space. I'm pleased to say that I didn't get bored that often when I ventured out of the main space. Allow me to elaborate on that, so that the most positive sample from this review isn't, "I didn't get bored...": The happenings around the music spaces weren't a hugely interactive, entertaining bid for us all to get involved with Nordic culture. However, this entire space that incorporated the stair cases, gangways and bar area was an intriguing offering of getting to know the scene a bit better. Just by the bar they had a little label market and a little coffee/bakery stall. It was an intimate, comfortable environment, far from intimidating for an audience that would have just come for some music.

The extra feature of the festival that really got people talking was the much promoted Nordic Sound Bite. Possibly the most unique, original idea of the festival, these so-called 'sound bites' came in the form of small sweets, delivered to the audiences by many methods; stuck to balloons and spread on to tooth brushes to name a couple. Their purpose intended by their curator, Nikolaj Danielsen, went a bit deeper than just to get us to try Nordic sweets. They were a direct response to the music of the weekend itself, meant to reflect its character, and be 'experienced live'. The actual taste of them, I thought was awful. The boiled sweets on sticks that were passed around during Mew's set tasted like glue. The pink, meringue-type blobs that traveled around on balloons for most of the Saturday afternoon had a dusty texture and quite an artificial flavour. I couldn't care less about the taste though. It was a wondrous, child-like experience to try these completely new, alien droplets. It reminded me of seeing the fake food in old children's fantasy TV dramas and wanting so desperately to eat it (Anyone remember Gormenghast? No? Just me?), even if it did turn out to just be gloopy plastic.

I considered the sound bites to be where the art element of the festival peaked. When I went searching for visual art I completely missed the little show of drawings/paintings from múm's Örvar Smárason and Sin Fang’s Sindri Már Sigfússon. Initially, that is. When múm performed, they pointed out that they were on the wall of the staircase leading up to the first floor. Going back down to view them, they seemed to be quite a neglected feature; barely noticeable amongst the massive queue leading down to the cinema space.

múm themselves, were in a tense part of the Friday evening. Previously, I had seen Husky Rescue, when the main stage area wasn't yet too full up. Helsinki's great electronic trio were very warming in the early Friday evening. The people were gathering inside from a metaphorical snow storm and taking comfort in the gigantic metaphorical log cabin, in front of them. By the time múm came on it felt as though the party had gotten too big. I have never heard so much talking at a gig in my life, and the Roundhouse does not respond well to audience noise. I could hear a crowd of voices clashing in the air above me, in constant conflict with the soft, fairly minimalist group's sound that most often would have you sit down, shut up and listen. Maybe all of that was true, or maybe I was just getting anxious while waiting for Mew to come on. It was a bizarre experience, finally getting to hear them play live. They had a slow, calm opener, which I was admittedly only half-paying attention to while I tried to comprehend the glue-like taste of one of those boiled sweets on sticks, which were now being passed around. But once they kicked into 'Special', and continued to play a mix of songs from And The Glass Handed Kites and Frengers I really felt I was getting the best of the Ja Ja Ja music. Inevitably, they finished on 'Comforting Sounds', and it was over all too quickly. My section of the crowd remained relatively still, save for a couple of die hard fans trying to get us to go crazy. Depending on the kind of person that you are, you would have found this either charming, or infuriating. I experienced a mixture of both reactions through the night by that main stage.

For the second night, the stage was split into to, with each one alternating in activity between sets. It felt like some sort of musical speed dating session. I myself kept dashing in and out of the space, catching either more traveling sound bites, or both established and emerging bands, like the stadium sounding Here Is Your Temple, or the pop dance duo, LCMDF. It was a good way of cramming so many new experiences together.

While I only managed to catch one film, the screenings from the Copenhagen International Film Festival seemed to be the strongest element of the weekend. If needed, it was an escape from blaring music and endless deliveries of strange food. The one screening that I was lucky to catch was The Ghost Of Piramida, Andreas Koefoed's documentary of Efterklang collecting sounds for their new album, juxtaposed with footage of the ghost town where they were operating, during the time when it was still occupied. The Q&A with the director that followed gave some great insights into the pure chance that brought about this film's final cut. The day that they visited the site, they happened to meet the town inhabitant who provided them with stock footage of the village community, and an interview to tell its amazing story.

So like those sound bites, the first Ja Ja Ja festival was a bitter-sweet adventure in Nordic culture. Probably better to place the emphasis on the sweet part, for the effort and creativity that was put into ensuring that a visitor would feel obliged to just listen to music all day. There were different things to try in those crevices all over the Roundhouse, which would otherwise have been filled with people just waiting to see the next show.