The 17th annual Culture Night will be held in Reykjavík on Saturday, August 18, with a varied program of 350 events throughout the day. A presentation of other festivals will take place for the first time this year at the concert and conference center Harpa.
During the press conference at Kex Hostel. From left to right: Jón Gnarr, Stefán Eiríksson, Jón Viðar Matthíasson and Einar Örn Benediktsson. Photo by ESA.
In a press conference yesterday, Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr, Chief of Police Stefán Eiríksson, Fire Marshal Jón Viðar Matthíasson and chair of the Culture Night’s board Einar Örn Benediktsson, encouraged people to leave their cars behind on Culture Night, or at least park legally.
“It is a great event, totally unique. Let’s keep it unique—and now I will sound like a condom commercial—put safety first, love each other, enjoy life and culture,” declared Einar Örn.
Free bus travel will be offered on Saturday and many of the streets in central Reykjavík will be turned into pedestrian zones.
The city center is expected to be crowded; in past years approximately 100,000 people have attended Culture Night.
The festival’s motto is “gakktu í bæinn”, or “walk to town”. The phrase also means “welcome to my home”, and, as usual, many of the city center’s residents invite festival goers to have homemade waffles and coffee in their homes.
Henceforth, Culture Night will mark the beginning of the capital’s festival calendar. It will be followed by a series of festivals, including Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavík International Film Festival, Food and Fun, Design March and the theater festival Lókal.
The Reykjavík Jazz Festival runs from August 18 to September 1 and its program will be launched on Culture Night.
This year, the festivities will be broadcast on Channel 196 and on screens around the city center in collaboration with Vodafone.
Tweets and Instagram pictures labeled #menningarnótt will also appear on the screen, as will a live broadcast of the grand finale, the fireworks show at the harbor, which concludes Culture Night at 11 pm.
For further information about the program, go to menningarnott.is.
In other festival news, based on a count of vehicles by the Icelandic Road Administration’s meter, 25,000 people are estimated to have attended the free food festival the Great Fish Day in Dalvík, North Iceland, last weekend, overcrowding the small seaside town of 1,500 residents.
However, this is not a new record; in 2009 and 2010, as many as 30,000 people visited the town during the Great Fish Day festival weekend, as stated on the Road Administration’s website.