Björk Announces Cancellation of Reykjavík Concert Series

Singer Björk

Björk’s advertised concert series in Reykjavík in June has been cancelled due to production problems. All concertgoers will have their tickets refunded.

Irresolvable production issues

In February of this year, Icelandic singer Björk announced plans to hold a series of concerts at the Laugardalshöll Stadium on June 7, 10, and 13.

As noted in an article on Vísir, the concerts were to last two hours and feature music from her albums Utopia and Fossora. “This is the biggest show that Björk has ever done and will boast one of the more numerous assembly of digital screens on a single stage.”

Yesterday, however, Björk announced that she was calling the concert off. “There have been problems with the production of the concert that we do not expect to be able to solve in time. We realise that this will disappoint ticket holders and apologise for the inconvenience this may cause,” a press release from Björk states.

“We are determined to do everything we can to prevent this from happening again and will review our processes with this in mind. We still hope to find a way to make the concert a reality next year. However, as it may take weeks or months to resolve all technical and logistical issues, we are forced at this point to cancel and refund.”

New National Stadium to Cost ISK 14.2 Billion

It will cost an estimated ISK 14.2 billion [$99.8 million; €92.1 million] to build Iceland’s new national stadium, RÚV reports.

The overall cost of the project is to be split between the state and the City of Reykjavík, but it has yet to be determined how the expense will be divided.

See Also: Location Chosen for New National Stadium

The new stadium, intended to be ready for use by 2025, will be 19,000 sq m and accommodate 8,600 people for sporting events and 12,000 people for concerts. It will have facilities for handball and volleyball matches, basketball and football games, and more.

Location Chosen for New National Sporting Arena

The working committee for Iceland’s new national sporting arena has selected a location for the facility and it’s hoped that construction will begin at the end of 2023, RÚV reports. If everything goes to plan, the new arena will be ready for use some time in 2025.

The new national arena will be built between Laugardalsvöllur, the existing arena on the east side of Reykjavík, and Suðurlandsbraut. The working committee is currently writing a land-use plan that they expect to complete by March or April. The committee intends to present a detailed justification for the site selection and a report on the scope of construction in mid-December.

The next major step for the committee is to determine what the exact dimensions of the facility need to be in order to meet international requirements for hosting national sporting events. Once the square meterage has been established, the committee will be able to provide a reasonably accurate estimate for how much the arena will cost. The expense will be shared by both the city and the national government, although in what proportion is not yet clear.

Fourth Vaccination To Be Offered In Laugardalshöll

bólusetning mass vaccination Laugardalshöll

The latest vaccination campaign will begin in Laugardalshöll today, September 27, offering the fourth COVID-19 booster shot and influenza vaccines to individuals 60 and over.

Health care professionals state that some 30,000 in the capital are eligible for this newest round, and expect up to 4,000 per day. Similar services are also being provided outside of the capital region.

The current round of vaccinations will run until October 7, every weekday between 11am and 3pm.

Read more: 80+ Offered Fourth Dose

In April of this year, individuals 80 and over were offered their fourth shot. With much of this demographic covered, it is hoped to increase protection for other vulnerable segments of the population.

Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir, director of nursing in the Capital Region Healthcare System, stated to Vísir that this round of vaccinations will have a slightly different format than before, with both the booster vaccine and also influenza vaccine offered.

“People can come here and kill two birds with one stone, get both or one of them depending on what suits them,” she said. “We are going to have three booths, one will only be influenza and one will only be COVID-19, and then there will be one booth that will be both.”

According to the latest statistics from covid.is, 78% of the population is considered fully vaccinated, and 27,644 individuals have received their fourth dose of the vaccine.

A New Campaign of Booster Shots Launched Today at Laugardalshöll

Icelandic healthcare system

A new campaign of COVID-19 booster shots began this morning at the Laugardalshöll stadium. Everyone eligible will receive an invitation to accept an additional shot of the vaccine. The unvaccinated are encouraged to attend a so-called “open house” on Thursdays and Fridays.

A sharp rise in infections

In the wake of a sharp increase in infections – and following tighter social restrictions announced Thursday – a new campaign of COVID-19 booster shots began this morning for residents of the capital area at Laugardalshöll (individuals who had received the Janssen vaccine were offered booster shots in August).

The campaign’s first phase will last for approximately four weeks, that is, starting today and lasting ca. until December 8. As noted in Iceland Review last week, the health authorities expect to administer up to 10,000 booster shots per day and hope to offer all those who have been fully vaccinated a booster shot by March.

Those eligible will receive an invitation

The mRNA Pfizer vaccine will be administered at Laugardalshöll between 10 am and 3 pm today, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Everyone eligible to receive booster shots will receive an invitation; however, those who received a second dose of the initial vaccine six months ago may also show up to Laugardalshöll to receive a booster. Those who were jabbed during the first round of vaccinations this spring, individuals sixty years or older, or those suffering from underlying conditions will be given priority. (No vaccines will be adminstered on Suðurlandsbraut 34 on those days that shots are given in Laugardalshöll.)

According to the Capital Area Healthcare Centres’ website, six months must have elapsed between the second dose of the initial vaccine and a COVID-19 booster shot. Likewise, 14 days must have elapsed between influenza shots and booster shots. Those who have completed their initial round of vaccinations and have been infected with COVID-19 are to wait further instruction.

An open house for the unvaccinated on Thursday and Friday

Those who have yet to receive a COVID vaccination, or those who have yet to receive the second dose of the initial vaccine – or those who require a different type of vaccine – may show up at Laugardalshöll between 10 am and 3 pm on Thursdays and Fridays. The Pfizer mRNA vaccine will administered on both days. The AstraZeneca and Moderna will be offered on Thursdays and the Janssen vaccine on Fridays.

COVID-Recovered Offered Vaccination in Iceland

Icelandic healthcare system

Icelandic authorities will now offer vaccination to residents who have recovered from COVID-19 infection, Vísir reports. While the country’s vaccination program was originally only open to those who had not been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, new research shows vaccines offer more protection than antibodies formed in response to COVID infection. Iceland will have administered one or both doses of vaccine to all residents 16 years of age and over by the end of this week.

Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason recommends vaccination to those who have recovered from COVID-19. “Now we’re getting findings from studies that show that it’s a good idea to vaccinate those who have contracted COVID as their immune response is narrower and less significant than after two inoculations. We will invite them for vaccination on that basis.”

AstraZeneca Second Doses Delayed

Over 64% of Iceland’s population has received at least one dose of vaccine against COVID-19 while over 41% are fully vaccinated. All adults in the country that have not yet been vaccinated have received an invitation to the jab this week. Some 20,000 residents of the Reykjavík capital area who received one dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait until next week at least to receive the other one due to a delay in shipments from the manufacturer.

Around 10,000 doses of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine will be administered at Laugardalshöll mass vaccination centre in Reykjavík tomorrow and the same number of Pfizer doses will be given on Wednesday. After 2.00pm tomorrow, those who have received an invitation for the Janssen vaccine but did not attend their appointment can drop by the centre for a vaccine. The same applies to those who received, but did not attend, an appointment for Pfizer: they can drop in after 3.00pm on Wednesday to get the shot, while supplies last.

Iceland Symphony Orchestra Accompanies COVID-19 Vaccination Today

First mass vaccination in Laugardalshöll arena.

Some 5,000 people who will receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Reykjavík’s mass vaccination centre today will be serenaded by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra while they get their jab, Vísir reports. The ISO contacted vaccination officials and asked if they could play a concert at the centre, and the offer was readily accepted. People of all ages with underlying chronic illnesses are being vaccinated in Reykjavík today.

Around 8% of Iceland’s population has been fully vaccinated while a total of 19% have received at least one shot. The first priority groups to be offered vaccination were frontline workers and nursing home residents, followed by the oldest demographics. Now over 95% of residents over 80 have been vaccinated and most residents over 70 have received at least one dose. This week authorities are vaccinating residents with underlying chronic illnesses in all age groups. Iceland is administering COVID-19 vaccines from three manufacturers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna.

“This is a very large group overall, but we have started on the lists of people with the most serious illnesses, this is about 30,000 people in the Reykjavík Capital Area so it will take us a few weeks or the next few weeks to work through this group,” stated Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir, Director of Nursing at Capital Area Healthcare Centres. While those vaccinated today will receive the Pfizer vaccine, others with chronic illnesses that are scheduled to get the jab tomorrow will receive the Moderna vaccine. The 60-70 year old demographic (without underlying illnesses) will be offered vaccination starting next week, Ragnheiður says.

Read More: What’s the Status of COVID-19 Vaccination in Iceland?

It is standard procedure for all individuals to remain at the vaccination centre for 15 minutes after receiving their dose. This allows healthcare staff to monitor them and provide medical care in the rare case they exhibit allergic reactions to the drug. “It was great that the Symphony Orchestra contacted us and asked whether they could come and play for people, because everyone has to wait 15 minutes until they can leave,” Ragnheiður explained. A little bit of music should certainly help soothe nerves and pass the time for today’s vaccine recipients.

Icelandic authorities have stated that they are on track to reach their goal of vaccinating 75% of the population by the end of July.

Reykjavík To Host League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational E-sport Event in May

E-sport tournaments the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational and the Valorant Champions Tour Masters will take place in the Laugardalshöll indoor sporting arena in May. Visit Iceland helped facilitate the event’s organisation and hopes that it will be good for local tourism.  Athletes are unhappy with the arena closing for practice for several weeks.

This will Riot Games’ second in-person competitive event since the pandemic began as last year, the League of Legends Mid-season Invitational was cancelled due to the pandemic. In an interview with the Washington Post, Riot Games representatives state that Iceland’s methods of dealing with the global pandemic were a significant factor in choosing Iceland as the location. Around 400 people will come to Iceland for the tournaments, Visit Iceland states. Contestants and staff will follow infection prevention regulations to the letter and quarantine before the start of the tournament. Contestants will also be tested regularly during the event and there won’t be an in-person audience.

The LOL Mid-season Invitational starts on May 6 and the final is May 23. The following day marks the beginning of the Valorant Champions Tour, ending on May 30th.  Visit Iceland and The Icelandic E-Sports Association are happy with the event, hoping that it will bring revenue as well as marketing opportunities for Iceland’s tourism and even be the first of many international e-sports events. Visit Iceland assisted Riot Games in communicating with the city of Reykjavík and other domestic service providers. “it’s clear that this is an immense opportunity to introduce Reykjavík as a destination for foreign tourists.”Not as thrilled are Icelandic athletes working towards the Olympics. In a Facebook post, Olympian javelin thrower Ásdís Hjálmsdóttir Annerud called closing the arena for practices for the duration of the tournament a sign of grave disrespect towards track-and-field athletes.

League of Legends is one of the world’s most popular video game and tournaments attract large audiences. Visit Iceland representative Karl Guðmundsson stated that Reykjavík was one of the 15 cities vying for the opportunity of hosting the event. Visit Iceland also states that this is the foundation for attracting more e-sport events in the future and a unique opportunity for Iceland to create connections with leading individuals within the industry.

Fifty Years Since Led Zeppelin Played in Iceland

“A massive queue formed when tickets for the Led Zeppelin concert were sold, unlike anything that had been seen since overshoes were sold in Reykjavík for ration coupons during the war,” stated an Icelandic reporter in 1970 during the lead up to the band’s concert. Today marks exactly 50 years since the band’s sold-out show at Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík.

Around 5,000 people attended the concert on June 22, 1970, which was part of the programming of Reykjavík Art Festival. The band’s trip to Iceland is said to be the inspiration for Immigrant Song, which begins with the lines: “We come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow.”

Reykjavík Art Festival has uploaded some original video footage of Led Zeppelin’s visit to Iceland.

Duran Duran Returns to Iceland

Duran Duran will play a concert in Iceland in late June, RÚV reports. This will be the iconic band’s second time visiting Iceland—they last visited the country fourteen years ago, in 2005.

Known for such classic pop songs as “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio,” “Notorious,” and “A View to a Kill,” Duran Duran’s tenure has spanned four decades, during which time they’ve sold over 100 million records, won two Grammys, two Brit awards, and been awarded seven Lifetime Achievement Awards.

“If the show Duran Duran played in Iceland in 2005 is anything to go by, our show on June the 25th at Laugardalshöll is set to be a magnificent celebration – a blowout!” singer Simon Le Bon was quoted as saying in the press release on the band’s website. “I look forward to staying up all night like I did last time.”

The concert will be held at Laugardalshöll on June 25. Tickets will be sold on Tix.is starting at 10 am on April 24.