Date: October 30th – November 3rd
Set in the heart of Reykjavik’s geysers, waterfalls and lava fields, Iceland Airwaves is a euphoric five-day celebration of local and international music. Starting out in an airplane hangar in 1999 as a way to showcase new DJs, Airwaves has grown to help bring Icelandic music to a wider audience and attract international acts to the country.
“It is probably one of the most important events in Iceland for music and tourism,” says Iceland Airwaves manager, Grimur Atlason.
Groundbreaking Icelandic artists like Bjork and Sigur Ros have headlined the festival in previous years. For its fifteenth year, German dance pioneers Kraftwerk are set to close Airwaves with their stunning 3D extravaganza.
Fresh from a hypnotising collaboration with Kylie for the film ‘Jack & Diane’, ‘Whistle’, experimental local heroes múm will also bring their glitchy electronic beats and flowy dreampop to an enthusiastic crowd of festival goers.
Having recent remixed Bjork’s ‘Crystalline’ and ‘Thunderbolt’, Syrian musical legend Omar Souleyman will perform at Airwaves for the first time and skittery UK producer Gold Panda takes to the stage with his joyously nostalgic melodies.
They will be joined by a boundary pushing mix of Icelandic and international bands including Bloodgroup, Hjaltalin, Anna Obja Rasta, No Joy, Goat, Metz, Sin Fang and Valdimar.
With an emphasis on picking interesting newcomers as well as established acts, Airwaves has a reputation for showcasing innovative bands and artists that are about to break into the mainstream.
In the Iceland Airwaves Rockumentary, DJ and Radio Host Tim Pogo said: “I like the fact that it’s not about headlining bands. It’s about upcoming bands and it’s about artists that are on the verge of something. You think about artist that they kind of plucked to come here right before they blew up. I mean, TV On The Radio in 2003. No-one knew about them then.”
With live acts playing at various venues in the city, a highly anticipated annual event is the Blue Lagoon Chill, an outdoor concert in geothermally heated pools of mineral-rich water featuring DJs and rock acts.
During Airwaves, downtown Reykjavik brims with various music related activities and has a thriving carnival-like atmosphere. Many downtown establishments organise a special off-venue program (taking place in the day), where a range of intimate, unconventional concerts take place. At bars, restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops, fashion boutiques, Icelandic bands can be found showcasing their talent.
Surrounded by natural beauty and pleyyn, Reykjavík is quite possibly the perfect festival city. Home to 180000 people, it’s small enough to be welcoming and sophisticated enough to offer cultural, historical and nightlife diversions to rival cities ten times its size.
Described by Rolling Stone as the “hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar”, Airwaves is a headspinning ride of clubs, parties, striking scenery and cutting edge acts.
The Iceland Airwaves Festival Pass (wristband) is valid for all five festival days and grants access to all shows that are part of the festival, apart from the Blue Lagoon Chill and special performances, which cost extra. For information about festival packages, which include flights, hotels and festival passes, visit http://icelandairwaves.is/.
Why go? See a range of international against the Reykjavic’s stunning, frosty backdrops.
Line up: Kraftwerk / múm / Gold Panda / Goat / Metz / Hjaltalín / Sin Fang / Young Dreams / Anna von Hausswolff
Photo Credit: Florian Trykowski | nordic-music.photography