Reykjavik is considered to be a pretty trendy place. From record stores and art museums to cool bars, lots of travelers enjoy making their way around this hip capital city. Every year the sounds both Icelandic and international music fill the streets of Reykjavik with the Iceland Airwaves Festival. With this being the 21st edition of the music showcase and industry gathering, the music festival is still going strong.
Iceland: Land of Fire, Ice, and Outdoor Festivals
Iceland is known for its festivals, particularly in the summertime when the country floods with tourists. The nice weather means people come out in droves on this tiny island located nearly halfway between North America and Europe. From Viking festivals to the Lunga and Reykjavik Art Festivals to Swamp Soccer to marathons, there’s something for everyone. And Iceland’s music festivals are another added part of the fun.
Iceland Music Festivals
Every music festival has its own focus, from the Eistnaflug heavy metal music festival to folk music, jazz, and blues festivals in Reykjavik. There are also more international events with a wider selection of genres like the Bræðslan and Secret Solstice music festivals. The Iceland Airwaves Music festival features groups from both Iceland and abroad and seeks to highlight new talent from all over.
Iceland Airwaves History and 2019 Edition
The first Airwaves was supposed to be a one-time event held in an airplane hangar at Reykjavik Airport back in 1999. It proved so popular that they decided to keep producing it year after year. The festival is co-sponsored by Icelandair and the City of Reykjavik. Over the years performers such as Björk, Florence and the Machine, Vampire Weekend, Kaleo, The Flaming Lips, Mumford & Sons, and Thievery Corporation have graced its stages.
Many of the performers who appeared here have gone on to have hugely successful music careers. This festival is a jumping off point for many Icelandic bands looking to gain more exposure in the international arena.
The venues vary and musical acts have played everywhere from a tiny records store to churches to large scale performance spaces. The industry festival situated in Iceland’s capital brings together up-and-coming-talent from Iceland and progressive groups from around the world.
The Festival Lineup
You’ll definitely find some familiar names on the Iceland Airwaves 2019 official lineup. Probably the biggest headliners are Of Monsters And Men. This Icelandic band has garnered plenty of international success with hits such as Little Talks and We Sink. They will surely be one of the highlights of the 2019 festival.
Another featured Icelandic band is Hatari. Fresh off their Eurovision appearance in May, they will no doubt perform their controversial hit Hatrið mun sigra. They went from being relative unknowns to having global infamy in a very short about of time with their dark, industrial techno punk style of electronic dance music.
Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco will also perform. With six studio albums under his belt, he has gradually started gaining global attention with songs like Nobody. He plays multiple instruments and his relaxed style of music which has been described as blue wave or slacker rock. DeMarco himself prefers to call it jizz jazz, which is an original term.
Mac DeMarco will appear alongside with Whitney, Vök, and over 25 other bands and singers.
Be sure to check out the official Spotify playlist to make sure you can sing along to all of your favorite tunes at the concerts.
Purchasing Tickets and Passes
The festival is four days long (November 6th to 9th) and you can buy tickets for individual dates or a festival pass. There are also travel packages available. It all depends on how many of the acts you want to see on stage and which days they are performing. Tickets are moving quickly and some of the early bird options have already sold out. I suggest heading to their website to see what’s still available.
Keep up with the latest developments following them on Instagram with the handle @icelandairwaves. You can also sign up for the newsletter on their website.
The Iceland Airwaves Music Festival
You definitely don’t want to miss out on this annual gathering of some of the newest and best talent on offer. November is also the perfect time of year to come to Iceland. Prices are lower and the Northern Lights are on full display. I can’t think of a better way to kick off or end your Iceland trip than with a rocking music festival. And who knows, maybe all of that jumping around will help to keep you warm.
This is a great chance to discover some unknown bands and see some old favorites live. I highy recommend this 4-day festival to all music lovers out there looking for an excuse to come to Iceland. You are guaranteed to have a great time.