For so many years Iceland Airwaves was the biggest and most famous Icelandic music festival. The biggest musicians, DJs and artists attended it. It went through some changes, had its ups and downs, and finally is back after the Covid lockdown. Last year it was held as an online concert, very cozy with great quality live-streaming. So, this year it is back offline with an exciting program, off-venue concerts and even a conference! Read on to know more.
Iceland Airwaves is an immersive, multi-genre music festival held across a multitude of venues in the country’s capital, Reykjavík. This festival showcases hundreds of acts ranging from unheard-of up-and-comers to headline-status artists, ranging from established international talent to the country’s rich melting pot of domestic rising stars.
Lineup of the festival is usually filled with various Icelandic bands, as well as Scandinavian representatives (Sigrid, Aurora etc). During the best years, some of the biggest UK & US names were performing. Such as Sinead O’Connor, Kaiser Chiefs, Klaxons, Fleet Foxes, Cold War Kids, Beach House, Benjamin Clementine and Mumford and Sons. And the lineup is so vast that a fan of any music genre will find something for themselves.
Iceland Airwaves brought to the stage many small Icelandic bands and opened the way to worldwide popularity. Along with famous Icelandic bands such as GusGus, OMAM (Of Monsters and Man), Emilliana Torrini, Daði Freyr and Hatari (both were representing Iceland on Eurovision) you might discover other talented musicians. For folk-lovers we recommend checking out the following names: Ólöf Arnalds, múm, Vök, Ástiðir. On the darker side there are bands like Una Misere, Kælan Mikla and Agent Fresco. For hip-hop listeners – Emmsjé Gauti, Jóipe x Króli, Birnir, Friðrik Dór and Aron Can.
During the festival days, the small Reykjavik’s downtown turns into a hybrid of a party, improvisation scene, and a lively path for so many attendees, bright and festive. Main venues that hold the main (and the biggest) concerts are the Harpa Concert Hall and KEX Hostel.
In 2022 the festival is hold on a few venues – FRÍKIRKJAN, GAUKURINN, GAMLA BÍÓ, HÚRRA, IÐNÓ, REYKJAVÍK ART MUSEUM and traditionally KEX HOSTEL. And it lasts from November 3rd to November 5th. Discover Icelandic music scene for yourself!