One of the most intriguing and quintessentially Swedish events you’ll witness takes place in Hackås, just 35km north of Åsarna, on the second Thursday in July. The Årets Näck competition (w näck.nu) features a succession of naked male fiddle players, who compete for the prestigious title by sitting in the unflatteringly chilly waters of the local river to play their instruments. The roots of this eye-opening spectacle of public nudity are to be found in the mists of Swedish folklore where the näck, a long-haired, bearded, naked water sprite, would sit by a river rapid or waterfall and play his fiddle so hauntingly that women and children from miles around would be lured to him, only to drown in his watery home. The event begins around 9pm on the island of Gaveriholmen near Strömbacka mill; Hackås is on the Inlandsbanan and is served by buses to and from Östersund.
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