The closing of the summer season typically means saying farewell to good weather and preparing for a long winter. But, it isn’t all bad! As it also means that we can welcome back Iceland’s longest continually running music festival: The Reykjavik Jazz festival! So dust off those saxophones and tune up your electric guitars, because Jazz is making its way back to Reykjavik!

Piano player at Reykjavik Jazz Festival

Reykjavik Jazz Festival Details 

Personally, I adore this festival. Jazz is a genre of music that I feel in recent years has lost some mainstream popularity. However, every year this festival reminds us why Jazz isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The unpredictability of the music, combined with the wide range of different sub-genres, makes this festival a can’t miss event in Reykjavik. The festival is almost a week-long affair so let me give you the rundown on what will be happening.

It starts on Sunday, September 2nd at 20:00 (8:00 PM). The festival kicks off with a free pre-party hosted at the Bryggjan Brugghús. This independent brewery and bistro is the perfect location to start the weekend event. Entry is free, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t come on down, enjoy a cold pint, maybe a snack (or two) to jumpstart your week! The festival officially starts on Wednesday, but this will be an excellent opportunity to get ready for the jam-packed jazz filled the week.

Reykjavik Jazz Festival Main Events

The Jazz festival officially kicks off on Wednesday with a parade starting at 17:00 (5:00 PM) which will lead straight to the opening ceremonies. They call Wednesday’s “Hump Day” because usually, they are the toughest days of the week. So why not shake off those Wednesday blues by enjoying some thrilling music through the streets of Reykjavik!

double bass player at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival stage

Often it can feel like Jazz is a tricky genre of music to get into. There is so much nuance and history tied to the style that it can feel too overwhelming for a casual music lover. The Reykjavik Jazz festival seeks to eliminate those worries. The festival will host musical acts that run the gamut of sub-genres within the genre: avant-garde jazz, classical jazz, original jazz, and Nordic jazz will all be on display. No matter where your musical affiliation lies the Reykjavik Jazz festival will have something for concert goers of all ages and backgrounds.

The festival also provides a fantastic opportunity to explore different venues and locations throughout Reykjavik. The festivities will take place between the Hannesarholt House, the Tjarnarbíó Theatre, Iðnó café and Culture house, the Grand Hótel Reykjavik, and several other venues.

Reykjavik Jazz Festival Sunday

Between Wednesday (the official kick off of the festival) and Sunday (the closing of the festival), there will be a total of 22 events across 6 different venues in Reykjavik. The lineups will feature some of the premiere Jazz artists from both Iceland and around the world. Artists will include Una Stef, Shelter, Marcin Wasilewski Trio, Marilyn Mazur’s Shamina,  Dóh Trió, Andrés Þór & Miro Herak, Katrín Halldóra and the Arctic Swing Quintet,  Þórdís Gerdur Jónsdóttir, Ralph Towner, Richard Andersson NOR, Sigmar Þór Matthíasson – Áróra, and many more.

Saxophone on a piano, on the most loved insturments at Reykjavik Jazz Festival

Reykjavik Jazz Festival – Just Let The Music Play!

I would urge you to check out the festival if you can. It will be an excellent opportunity to explore more of Reykjavik. You can make new friends, and learn more about a musical genre. As jazz has been so integral to the foundations of other musical styles. I like to think of Jazz as a building block for all modern music; it seems like every other genre borrows in some way from Jazz. Even if you are intimidated by Jazz, or have never been interested in it, seeing it performed live is a spectacle to behold. The improvisational talent and harmony needed between all the performers is impressive and stimulating to watch. So, if you are looking for something to do the first week in September and you love music, then head to their official site and grab your tickets today!

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