Iceland Airwaves Kicks Off in Reykjavík Skip to content

Iceland Airwaves Kicks Off in Reykjavík

The Iceland Airwaves music festival begins in the capital today and will continue through Sunday. Approximately 3,000 foreign visitors are expected to attend the concerts scheduled, among them a number of journalists set to cover the festival.


Vampire Weekend performing at Iceland Airwaves in 2008. Photo by Brynjar Vatnsdal.

A similar number of Icelandic residents are also expected to attend the festival. “It looks as if it will be fantastic. Everything is going really well, there is a lot happening around town and people are streaming in,” Grímur Atlason, the festival’s managing director, told Fréttabladid.

The festival’s importance to the local economy has often been discussed; last year it was reported that it delivered around ISK 1 billion (USD 8.6 million, EUR 6.3 million) in turnover, both directly and indirectly.

It isn’t necessary to hold a festival pass to enjoy the music; the off-venue concert schedule has become a big part of the program.

For example, Norn, Draumhvörf, We Made God, The Wicked Stranger and Primavera will play at Hitt Húsid tomorrow (for further information, go to

Also, the Seattle radio station KEXP will broadcast more than a dozen sets from the Iceland Airwaves festival, live from Reykjavík, October 12-14. KEXP DJs John Richards, Cheryl Waters and Kevin Cole will be on hand at KEX Hostel to host the performances, to be heard on 90.3 FM in Seattle and at around the world.

Meanwhile, Icelandic Reyka Vodka is sponsoring three American bands to play at Airwaves this year, the winners of their Breakthrough at Airwaves contest: YACHT (Portland, OR), Young Magic (Brooklyn, NY) and Caged Animals (Brooklyn, NY).

The contest took place from July 15 to September 5 with more than 170 entries. The bands were asked to upload three original compositions.

“The same way Reyka brings Americans the best of Iceland in vodka beverages, we are proud to bring Icelanders the best newcomers to the American music scene,” Jenny Logan, Reyka Vodka’s chief marketing director, said in a press release.

In related news, Icelandic musician Björk, in collaboration with University of Iceland and the City of Reykjavík, is inviting elementary school children in the capital to participate in an experimental music workshop in the Harpa concert and conference center.

The workshop is held in connection with the release of Björk’s critically-acclaimed album Biophilia and her eponymous concert series; the first concert of nine is scheduled as part of Iceland Airwaves in Harpa tonight (for further information go to

Click here to read other Iceland Airwaves news.


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