Music Festival: Iceland Airwaves 2014

It´s that time of the year – when the music takes over Reykjavik for a period of five days between 5 – 9 November.  I´m talking about Iceland Airwaves, the music festival which is becoming the premier showcase for new  music.  It transforms Reykjavik into a city full of music attracting thousands of music lovers from all over the world.  Branded “The hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar” by the Rolling Stone magazine the festival offers a variety of music featuring a total of 217 bands.  Iceland Airwaves started in 1999 in an air hangar with five bands performing and is now being held for the sixteenth time and has surely come a long way since then.

Iceland Airwaves Photo: © Alexander Matukhno - Iceland Airwaves

Iceland Airwaves
Photo: © Alexander Matukhno – Iceland Airwaves

Crowd in Harpa Photo: © Alexander Matukhno - Iceland Airwaves

Crowd in Harpa
Photo: © Alexander Matukhno – Iceland Airwaves

Performing at the festival are international bands as well as a wide variety of local music. The local acts include some of the major Icelandic players such as Ásgeir who has become a sensation in Iceland and was nominated in 2012 for the prestigious Nordic Music Prize.  The energetic band Grísalappalísa will be serving audiences their punk rock coctails  and the electro-pop band FM Belfast will make sure you´re having fun. Júníus Meyvant plays beautiful indie music and Young Karin is one of the most promising bands in the Icelandic music scene influenced by modern day hip hop and avant-garde pop productions.

Ásgeir  Photo: © Roman Gerasymenko - Iceland Airwaves

Ásgeir
Photo: © Roman Gerasymenko –
Iceland Airwaves

There are many interesting international performers as always but here I will just mention a few of the bands coming from the Nordics. The Swedish electronic group Knife will be rounding up their “Shaking The Habitual Show Tour” in Reykjavik while the Norwegian Emilie Nicola will be performing her dark and emotionally soulful music.  Coming from the Faroe Islands are two groups, the pop duo BYRTA  and Greta Svabo Bech a chanteuse, writer and electronic artist.  Thomas Barfod is a Danish electronic artist, DJ and producer and coming from Finland is Jaakko Eino Kalevi who´s unique musical direction has made him something of a cult figure in Helsinki.

FM Belfast - Iceland Airwaves Photo: © Alexander Matukhno - Iceland Airwaves

FM Belfast – Iceland Airwaves
Photo: © Alexander Matukhno – Iceland Airwaves

The festival´s main location is at Harpa, Icelands stunning musical hall by the harbor front but most of the other venues are just within a walking distance from Harpa making it a part of the fun to wander between different venues and experiencing the amazing atmopshpere and the great nightlife Reykjavik has to offer.

With the festival´s increasing popularity tickets are usually sold out well in advance but there are a lot of off-venue concerts in various places in Reykjavik who are open to all, ticket holders as well as everyone else.  Most of the Icelandic bands play off-venue and many of the international ones do that as well which makes it rather easy to enjoy the acts performing at the festival.

The festival runs from November 5 – 9.  Information about the artists performing and locations can be found  here.