Charlie Simpson, the lead singer from British rock band Fightstar, has set a world record for playing the coldest gig on earth. The small concert took place in the town of Oymyakon in Siberia, whichNational Geographic has called the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth. “This has been a trip of a lifetime and a gig unlike anything I thought I’d ever experience in my career,” Simpson told Complete Music Update. “The town has no TV or radio, so they’ve had little to no contact with rock music before. This was definitely a world first in many respects!”
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Oymyakon, which sits just a few hundred miles south of the Arctic circle, has recorded temperatures as low as -96.16 degrees Fahrenheit. On a trip to the settlement back in 2004, National Geographic discovered a community of people who live off reindeer and horse meat, wore plenty of furs to keep warm and who often have to burn wood to keep the water from freezing in their homes’ plumbing. The diesel in their vehicles freezes so quickly that they often have to light a bonfire beneath their fuel tanks in order to start their trucks.
“It feels pretty amazing to have done a show, no one else has really attempted to do anything like this before,” Simpson explained in his online diary of his trek. It took the musician and his team of three others four days to reach the freezing cold Oymyakon. Once he got there, Simpson handed out wristbands featuring the logo of the trip’s sponsor,Jagermeister, to a small group of onlookers, and then performed a few songs from his debut solo album in a quick 15-minute set — the minimum length of time needed to set the record.
“It was unbearably cold and playing guitar with gloves on wasn’t an option,” he told CMU. “We had to pack hand warmers into my sleeves before the performance to keep my blood warm and stop my fingers from getting frostbite.” There were fears that his instrument would not stand up to the extreme temperatures either. “One of our biggest concerns was Charlie’s guitar, as they are not designed to be exposed to those temperatures,” said Jägermeister Music Manager Tom Carson. “We were warned that it might just disintegrate because the glue won’t be able to withstand the cold.” Fortunately Simpson made it through the gig with both fingers and guitar intact, and can now claim a Guinness World Record.