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Iceland Airwaves 2016

1860 Amiina Apparat Organ Quartet AMFJ
Bloodgroup Dj. flugvél og geimskip FM Belfast For a Minor Reflection
Futuregrapher In the Company of Men John Grant Jónas Sen
Kimono Knife fights Lay Low Legend
MAMMÚT Momentum Ojba Rasta Oyama
Pétur Ben Sin Fang Snorri Helgason Sudden Weather Change
Þorvaldur Þór Þorvaldsson(Doddi) Vigri

Iceland Whatever Vol. 2: 11 Icelandic bands you should get to know.


Iceland continually maintains a wealth of musicians and bands.  There isn’t a genre missing on the small island, and there is a lot of talent found almost everywhere you look.  From atmospherically haunting soundtracks to the darkest metal, you can always find something you’ll dig.  And while this list doesn’t encompass all said genres, it’s my personal list of bands I’m enjoying at the moment.

Full disclosure, this blog post is about the 11 bands I’ve been lucky enough to compile on the new Icelandic Whatever compilation.  They are 11 bands I truly dig, and I hope you will as well.  The new compilation is released on November 11th, and is available for pre-order for $3 here.  These bands are presented in the order of the compilation.

Most of these bands will be at Iceland Airwaves 2016.  So if you’re going, make sure to check them out.  The schedule and more info for Iceland Airwaves can be found here.

Berndsen – “Alter Ego”

David Berndsen is Berndsen.  I try to describe Berndsen not as 80’s retro, or a blast from the past, but as a continuation of the 80’s, with unique beats, heavy synths, and a booming voice.  It’s not just a pinhole representation of what we loved about the 80’s, it’s a feel good modernized trip back to what we dug.  In my opinion, he’s taken what can be a very dated musical genre and made it timeless.  His music videos are also something of pure genius and are frequently on almost all of my house party playlists.  The video above is “Shaping the Grey” featuring the talented singer/songwriter Elin Ey, and Högni Egilsson of GusGus fame.  It is from his new album “Alter Ego.”  The title track  is on the compilation. Other videos you should watch are  Lover in the dark, and Game of Chance.

Dr. Gunni – “Ég er aumingi”

Dr. Gunni is a veteran punk, he’s been at it since the 80’s.  And as well as the band Dr. Gunni, he has been in the legendary bands:  SH Draumur, Bless, and Unun.  He wrote, “Blue eyed pop” which is the most comprehensive book on the history of rock in Iceland and has also has released a few compilations in his time called the Snarl series which was the inspiration for me to begin releasing compilations.  The song “Ég er aumingi” is on the new comp, and it’s from his upcoming album, “ATVIK”.

Milkywhale – “Invisble”

MilkyWhale began as a musical project between choreographer Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir  and Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (FM Belfast, and Pluseinn.)  It’s dance pop, with unique breaks and as with their music, their live shows are filled with high energy moments that somehow bring both band and audience together almost as if everyone in attendance had rehearsed their dancing.  “Invisible” is on the compilation.

Boogie Trouble – “Moldun”

Yes, Icelandic Disco does exist, perhaps it’s not well known, but one of Donna Summers favorite songwriters was Icelandic.  I fell in love with Boogie trouble the first time I saw them at Iceland Airwaves years ago.  It’s a super group of talented and seasoned musicians, and their new album, “Í bænum” is one solid disco dance-fest.  I’ve written about it before, and I still thing the song, “Moldun” is about the quest of a lonely space cowboy to find his electric-slide line dancing space cow folk.  Thankfully, the band has let me put said track on the compilation.

Pink Street Boys – “Let it down”

I like contrast, and Pink Street Boys delivers said contrast.  Dirty, sludgy punk infused garage rock.  practically insane in everything they do, they’ve been my go-to rock out band for quite a while now.  I originally wanted “Evel Knievel” for the compilation, but they delighted me with a new gem, “Let it down” and it does not disappoint.

Æla – “Rólegur!

Æla continue to be a treat.  They are a punk band whose live shows are always a must-see for me.  Every year after their gig I say “that’ll be tough to beat next year,” and every year they beat it.  The dedication they put into their show antics are only beat by their dedication to their music, and their new-ish album, Vettlingatök (Handle with kid gloves) is solid.  “Rólegur” is the track on the compilation, and the performance above was at the Iceland Airwaves KEXP stage at Kex last year.

Myrra Rós – “One amongst others”

Myrra Rós, is well known in Iceland for her solo project as well as a vocalist for the band Var. She is an enchanting chanteuse, her soothing  voice soars only grounded by heavy instrumentation below her.   Her new album, “One Amongst Others” is an atmospheric collection of other-wordly songs.  The title track shown above is on the compilation.

Svavar Knútur – “Wanderlust”

Svavar Knútur is the traveling troubadour.  From the west side of Iceland his folk songs are a contrast of serious topics happily sung.  He takes his audiences on comedic journeys and with or without a backing band an audience is never left without.  The song above is an acoustic version of the song”Wanderlust” from his newest album, Brot (The breaking) and the album version is on the compilation.

Cyber – MÁVAR

Cyber is an interesting duo.  Formerly they were what I can only describe as disco/metal/rap duo, and now they are hip hop. I was stoked when they agreed to be on my comp, as I really like their music + lyric combination.  Typically they rap in Icelandic, but the video above is in English. MÁVAR is the track they’ve let me use for the compilation, trippy beats, Icelandic lyrics.

Reykjavik! – Flybus!

It’s no secret that Reykjavik!  is one of my favorite bands.  They are somewhat garage/punk rock legends in Iceland, and they are a band I thought I would never get to see live.  So last year when they played a surprise gig at Kaffibarinn, I became that happy little kid on Christmas morning.  It was sweaty, and nobody could really move except for the band, which managed to hang off the ceiling, bars tops and audience members, you can see the pics I took of the gig here.  So you can imagine how happy I was when they let me put their classic track, Flybus! on the compilation.

Futuregrapher – Shemale

I was beyond stoked when Futuregrapher agreed to be on the compilation, even more so when he sent a brand new track.  he mixes multiple layers of trippy broken beats combined with the atmospheric noise to create unique songs you can’t help but get wrapped up in.  He’s a breath of fresh air to see live, and you get sucked in not only by the music, but by his unique style behind the machines.  I’ve written about him before, and the new song, Shemale, which is on the compilation is something different I’ve never heard from him before.  It’s the perfect ending to a great list of musicians on the compilation.

Airwaves banner logo

Icelandic Bands at Iceland Airwaves

Here it is, the 2016 Iceland Airwaves Icelandic musicians page.  I’ve loosely sorted them into categories in the hope that you can quickly reference bands to dig as you explore the many possibilities this year.  On top of the 210 bands performing this year,  Bedroom Community will be celebrating their 10th anniversary as a musician collective in Iceland and I would highly recommend you check that out.  And Airwords is back, the poetry/literature/music event that began in 2013.  All part of Airwaves and all worth checking out.  Also,  you can check out my Tips to get the most out of Iceland Airwaves.

143 of the 210 bands are Icelandic this year and they span the deck in style and genre.  This year, I split them into five categories:

  • Rock / Singer Songwriter / Jazz / Blues / Reggae
  • Pop / Rock / Dance / Electro / Disco / Indie
  • DJ’s / Electronic / Atmospheric / Classical / Composers
  • Heavy Rock / Metal / Hardcore
  • Hip Hop / Rap / R&B Soul

Diversity and genre bending are two things Icelanders are rather good at which makes defining bands a bit difficult, so if you feel a band belongs in a different spot please comment below and I will check it out.

Rock / Singer Songwriter / Jazz / Blues / Reggae
Amabadama Amber Amber Axel Flóvent
Benny Crespo’s Gang CeaseTone DALÍ Dikta
Fufanu Helgi Jons Hinemoa Jónas Sig & Ritvélar framtíðarinnar
Júníus Meyvant Kórus Ljóðfæri Major Pink
Magnús Jóhann Máni Orrason Markús & The Diversion Sessions Moji & the Midnight Sons
Moses Hightower Mr. Silla Myrra Rós Par-Ðar
Pétur Ben Prins Póló Rósa Guðrún Sveinsdóttir Skelkur í bringu
Skrattar Soffía Björg Snorri Helgason Stafrænn Hákon
Stroff Teitur Magnússon Una Stef Valdimar
Pop / Rock / Dance / Electro / Disco / Indie
Árstíðir asdfgh AUÐUR AVóKA
Berndsen Boogie Trouble Crystal Breaks Dream Wife
East of my Youth FM Belfast Gangly Glowie
Grúska Babúska Hausar Hildur Himbrimi
JFDR Karó Kiriyama Family Konsolat
Lára Rúnars Milkywhale kreld Lily the kid
múm Of Monsters and Men One week wonder Oyama
Puffin Island Rythmatik RuGL Samaris
Steinar Sóley Sykur Tilbury
Tonik Ensemble Útidúr Vagina Boys Vio
Vök Wesen
DJ’s / Electronic / Atmospheric / Classical / Composers
Ambátt Ayia Bára Gísladóttir Ben Frost
BLKPRTY DJ Yamaho dj. flugvél og geimskip EinarIndra
Futuregrapher Glerakur Halldór Eldjárn Hermigervill
Hugar Iamhelgi Jafet Melge Kosmodod
Kristin Thora Mike Hunt Reptilicus RVK DnB
Sigga Soffía & Jónas Sen Sigrún sxsxsx Tómas Jónsson
Hip Hop / Rap / R&B / Soul
Alexander Jarl Aron Can Alvia Islandia B-Ruff
Bróðir BIG Cryptochrome Cyber Emmsjé Gauti
Epic Rain GKR Glacier Mafia Herra Hnetusmjör
Kött Grá Pje Krakk & Spaghettí Landabois Lord Pusswhip
Mælginn Reykjavíkurdætur Rímnaríki Shades of Reykjavik
$igmund Sturla Atlas Þriðja Hæðin Tiny
Úlfur Úlfur Valby Bræður
Heavy Rock / Metal / Hardcore
Auðn Beneath Dimma Dr. Spock
Endless Dark Hatari Kælan Mikla Legend
Mammút Pink Street Boys Singapore Sling SÓLSTAFIR

And here is the Spotify playlist, it includes ALL bands playing Iceland Airwaves, not just the Icelandic musicians:

Reykjavik! at Kaffibarinn Airwaves 2015

8 Tips for Iceland Airwaves 2016

With a little over 10 weeks to go before the 2016 Iceland Airwaves Music festival the time has come to begin prepping for the crazy 5 days on a volcanic rock in the middle of the ocean.

Yet again, the Iceland Airwaves crew have come up with an amazing 5 days of music.  Digable Planets, Boogie Trouble, PJ Harvey, Snorri Helgason, Santigold, Of Monsters and Men, and many more.  In fact, 128 bands have been announced so far, with what I believe will be another announcement coming up shortly.  And this is just the on-venue set of bands, there is still the daytime 0ff-venue gigs with even more bands for you listen to and discover during the day.

This year I will be working with Zombie Popcorn  to bring you recaps, interviews with bands, interviews with fans, and a lot of photos. Also, soon we will begin highlighting the bands on our Facebook page. Start following it for a daily dose of music.

And with that, here are some pointers on prepping and enjoying the festival:

  • Sign up to the Iceland Airwaves Mailing list
  • Be relaxed, be social
  • Be prepared
  • Be a tourist, in and outside the city
  • Respect the land, yourself, the people, and your fellow festival folks
  • Support the artists, buy their music
  • Food, alcohol and favorite places
  • Have fun
Iceland Airwaves Iceland Music Reykjavik Grapevine
airwavesfacebook imxfacebook grapevinelogo

I highly suggest you follow the above pages on Social Media, the Iceland Airwaves page will give you the quickest updates and information on bands.  IMX is an awesome source for finding out the history of bands, and they also shoot out information on tours and new music to look for.  And the Grapevine is an English language newspaper, in an informal sometimes snarky manner they discuss the happenings around Iceland and you can gain more knowledge on things to do while you’re visiting.  They typically put out a special Iceland Airwaves edition, as well as run a blog during the festival dedicated to Airwaves.

Be Relaxed, Be Social

Combining the normal tourist activity with over 9000 festival folks makes Reykjavik a busy busy city.  Relaxation is key to enjoying yourself.  You may have to wait a little longer for drinks/coffee/food/entrance into a venue, so just relax and breath in the fresh air.  Be social, if you’re stuck in a line chances are you’re stuck with people of like mind, so don’t be afraid to ask your queue cohorts why they are there, what bands they’ve seen, what they are going to see and why.  There are quite a few unannounced gigs that will be going on around the city, and being social is the only way you’re going to find out about them.


dj. flugvél og geimskip surprising the audience by performing with Dr. Gunni at Airwaves 2015

There is a lot of music, a good deal you may have never heard of.  Listening to the Spotify link  and/or checking out the page I’ve created of Icelandic bands playing are both extremely easy ways to begin prepping for the festival, and most likely you’ll find bands you never knew you couldn’t live without hearing live.

The Airwaves crew have done an ace job of making it easy for you to plan ahead and navigate these different venues with an app they will announce closer to festival time.  Make sure you download it so you can start putting together a game plan of what you want to see when they release the official schedule.  The app will save you a lot of time with maps, time schedules, alerts and reminders of upcoming gigs.  It really will keep you on schedule, or help you alter your schedule in seconds.

Be a tourist, in and out of the city


Nobody needs to tell you, but Iceland is gorgeous, so make sure you take some time to enjoy it. whether it’s just walking around Reykjavik looking at all the murals and art, or taking daytrips, get out and experience Iceland, there are plenty of options.  Here are two of my favorites:


I Heart RVK

I heart Reykjavik is a fantastic walking tour company that will take you around Reykjavik discussing it’s history and unique attributes.

They book up quickly, so I would suggest trying to reserve a spot now.  It’s especially nice during Airwaves as there will be more music in the streets than usual while you walk around learning about old famous hangouts, and the history of the capital city.


Kexland is another fantastic touring outfit, more designed for smaller groups of tourists to take you out of the normal touring zones.  Quite often an Icelandic musician will accompany you for a day of tours.  I also suggest you check them out earlier than later to make sure you get a spot.

Also check with your hotels, or the tourist office located in the city center.   there are plenty of day trips to take you to see waterfalls, geysers, and the gorgeous landscapes of Iceland.

Respect the island and it will respect you Built on multiple volcanoes with lava in its veins, The island may try to kill you if you give it the chance.  Just be aware of your surroundings, footing, and the weather.  Common sense goes a long way, and Icelanders fully believe folks should use said common sense.  Have a good time not an out of control painful time. There’s a lot to do and even the half day you spend recovering from the night before will result in you missing a lot.


Lucky Records

Support the artists, purchase their music while you’re there.  There is a lot of music you won’t find off the island, or if you do it’ll cost crazy shipping.  So purchase it while you’re visiting.  Iceland has some amazing record shops, Lucky Records, 12 Tónar, and Reykjavik Record shop are the ones I’m most familiar with.  All ran by folks who love music, and love talking about music. 

Food and favorite places.  There are a lot of solid places for quick bites or sit down meals.  And there is the Bónus grocery store in the event you want to grab your own stockpile of munchies.  I tend to go for the lighter side of things such as the Noodle Station or Núðluskálin.  Noodle Station is your quick simple three option noodle place, good for warming you up and filling yer gullet quickly and cheaply.  Núðluskálin gives you more options, including spice level.  “Noodles in a fen number 6” just so happens to be my favorite noodle dish in Iceland and required at least once when I’m visiting.   For a very quick simple fix, there is also the famous Pylsurs (hot dog).   the famous “Clinton” stand down by the Reykjavik art museum.  Cheap, and they are good. 

Bars are plentiful in the city, and the prices only slightly vary.  There will be bands or DJ’s playing in most of them.  During the week the bars close at 1 or 2am, but on the weekend the bars will be open until 4.   Find a bar with the atmosphere you dig and have at it.  Alcohol purchased at the liquor store is taxed pretty heavily.   I suggest picking up a bottle of wine or spirits at the duty free shop while you wait for your baggage, It will be considerably cheaper that way.

And finally, the most important factor, have fun.  Don’t get too wrapped up in details, maps, or must sees.  You are going to experience one of the most unique festivals in the world, and you’re going to do it with northern lights above your head.  If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to comment below, or send me a Facebook message at Ragnaarbastiaan.






Boogie Trouble – Í Bænum

Iceland is one of the most musically diverse countries in the world.  You can find everything and anything your heart desires so it’s no surprise to find a full-fledged Disco band in 2016.  Disco isn’t all that strange for Iceland, Þórir Baldursson was rather successful in the 70’s working with Donna Summer during the global disco hay-day, and I’m pretty sure there are closets and caves with hidden disco balls and way too tight disco pants all over the island.

Klara Arnalds, Ingibjörg Elsa Turchi, Sunna Karen Einarsdóttir, Sindri Freyr Steinsson, Arnar Birgiss and Sigurður Tómas Guðmundsson are all Boogie trouble.  I first saw them a few years ago at Iceland Airwaves, their live gigs are more parties than gigs and it only took a short time before they became local favorites.  I’ve written about them before And this review is about their highly anticipated new album Í Bænum.

Quite frankly,  Í Bænum is the perfect rump shaking album for summer.  There are layers of horns, percussion, strings and a good share of bwap-bwap guitars all wrapped around a solid dancing beat that just doesn’t quit.  Klara Arnald’s voice is perfect for this style of music, strong enough to rival the brass yet nimble while it dances in between the other musical players, such as on the title track:

My second favorite track on the album, “Gleymmér ey.” opens with almost a disco-80’s fusion type of sound before Arnalds voice comes to us in a lower pitch.  The beat remains a highly energetic roll of percussion reminiscent of a stampede of horses rolling over the countryside.

I wasn’t going to translate any songs as my Icelandic is limited to colors, time, and asking where the bar is.  But  “Moldun” has become my favorite track on the album because when you listen to it, it basically translates itself.  It’s fairly obvious that the song is about a disco space cowboy who has landed on a strange planet in search of his beloved disco ball which has gone missing.  Feeling all alone and run out of town for being a strange disco space cowboy, he finally finds the disco ball in rafters of an old Icelandic countryside church shining down on many disco cowpeople grooving away.  I mean, I could be wrong but I’m 99.2% sure I’m correct:

All in all this album will make you dance.  It has become a necessary album on our party playlist,  and DJ sets.  Even my local bar has begun playing a few tracks off of it to keep the night interesting.   You can listen to the entire album and purchase it here on Bandcamp, and I highly suggest you follow them on Facebook.





Taste of Iceland 2016

It’s time again for the annual Taste of Iceland event here in Boston.  The cultural event that brings a sampling of Icelandic culture to different cities around the United States every year.

Food, film, music and writing are all part of this year’s event.  For us music-minded folks there is a two-fer of sorts.  Along with the Reykjavik calling concert, they are also showing “Rokk I Reykjavik” at the Brattle theatre.

This year’s cuisine event will be held at The Merchant, a great little spot located in the finance district /downtown crossing area.  The Merchant’s chef Matt Foley will collaborate with Thrainn Freyr Vigfússon of LAVA, the Blue Lagoon restaurant in Iceland.  Learn more about the menu here, as with all of the events of Taste of Iceland, it’s highly recommended you reserve your spot sooner than later.

For the literature lovers and writers out there, I suggest you attend “The Write stuff” led by Eliza Reid, a co-founder of Iceland’s writers retreat.  On March 5th, 1:00-2:30pm she will go into the hows and whys of Iceland’s strong written word history at the Barnes and Noble in the Prudential Center.  Also, there will be a lot of great books written by Icelandic authors available for purchase, including Halldór Laxness, and Jon Gnarr.  Learn all about it here

For Film:


Rokk í Reykjavik is playing at the Brattle Theater, March 6th at 3PM!  This documentary is one I suggest everyone watch.  It’s chock-full of music goodies and interviews and concert footage of a lot of classic Icelandic musicians.  You’ll see a lot of the folks you already know, and most likely, you’ll learn about new artists and bands you really should know.  Not only does Boston get treated to this documentary, but Sigtryggur Baldursson, A man who happens to have been in a lot of my favorite classic Icelandic bands including Sugarcubes, Kukl, and Þeyr, will be on hand afterward for a Q&A.  Here’s the band Þeyr doing “Rúdolf” from the Rokk í Reykjavik documentary: 


And now, Reykjavik Calling. On March 5th at 8pm the annual concert at the Middle East will happen.  This concert combines both local Boston bands with Icelandic bands, typically the atmosphere is uplifting, and it feels like a giant party.  This year Boston locals Neme and Adam Ezra Group will play with Axel Flóvent and CeaseTone.  The Concert is free, and I suggest getting there early as it always fills to capacity quickly.

You can see photos of previous Reykjavik Calling’s here.



From Boston, Nemes is an indie folk-ish band, with high energy and excitability their charm comes in exciting crowds a mix of folk, country and rock.

Axel Flóvent


In excellent contrast, Axel Flóvent from Iceland will be there.  Calming, mellow and harmonic music reminiscent of Nick Cave.  I’ve seen him live a few times up in Iceland, and it’s difficult not to get sucked into the music.  He’s one of the great new exports of the Island and it’s rare I find folks who dislike him.

the Adam Ezra Group


Also from Boston, the Adam Ezra Group will be performing.  Boston is famous for large bands, groups of friends getting together to make great music.  Adam Ezra Group certainly fits the bill.  a great group of folks churning out good ole rock and roll.



And last, certainly not least CeaseTone will be here.  CeaseTone is just as much about guitars and rock as electronics, expertly combining the two creating great music.  Another band I’m looking forward to seeing here in Boston.

It’s going to be a great couple of days here in Boston.  I highly suggest you RSVP on Facebook or the Taste of Iceland website, as things fill up quickly and sell out every year.

I asked CeaseTone the standard 4 questions, and Hafsteinn Þráinsson was kind enough to answer:

  1.  What’s your favorite place in Iceland to play:  A place called Húrra!
  2. What is you or the band’s favorite color:  Deep Blue
  3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin:  In The Company Of Men, Gangly, Muck and soo many others
  4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song:  Do you mean favorite song in general or with the band? If in general I’d like to be Yoda rapping “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar.  If with the band I’d like to be Gandalf The White playing “Full circle”

See you there!








Tips for Iceland Airwaves 2015

We’ve got less than 2 weeks to go!!  The week of November 4th will bring approximately 9000 festival go-ers to the city of Reykjavik to enjoy 5 days of music and entertainment.  It’s a crazy time, and the city definitely gets filled to the brim.  It can get hectic, but if you go prepared you can’t help but have fun.

This will be my 8th year attending the festival.  A friend and I will be blogging about the festival throughout with photos and highlights, but for now here are some tips I’ve learned that will make your experience better, and help you get the most out of Iceland and the festival.

Before the tips I want to bring up something new and cool Iceland Airwaves has this year.  It is the “Wall Poetry” installations located all over the city.

Wall Poetry:

Urban Nation Berlin and Iceland Airwaves matched artists with musicians to create “Wall Poetry” around the city.  10 gigantic murals placed all over the city, each one an artist’s interpretation of a band’s song.  You can check out the artist/musician combos and learn more about the project, including a map of where they are, here.

Now for the tips:

Research Research Research:  Show up prepared


This is probably the most important tip I can give you, and that’s why it’s the longest.  There is nothing wrong with winging it, and if you are there for the adventure and have no agenda then I suppose doing research isn’t all that necessary, but if you have a plan at all, then a little research will go a long way in making things more enjoyable.

There are over 230 bands performing at Airwaves with slightly over 9000 attendees this year.  Chances are a lot of folks are going to want to see the same bands that you want to see, and it’s possible that you may not get into your favorite acts.  This is why I always say you need to do research, listen to the Spotify playlist Iceland Airwaves created, check out my loosely categorized list of the 155 Icelandic bands playing, and check out the line-up page to discover the bands you don’t know much about.  Late night plan changes will go so much smoother if you have a few bands in your back pocket in the event you’re not feeling a gig, or can’t get into one.

There are a lot of social media outlets to get information from as well.  Reykjavik Grapevine is an English speaking newspaper online and in print located in Reykjavik.  They run a pretty solid Airwaves blog that I suggest you follow. Iceland Music Export (IMX) is another great resource, they will be doing live interviews throughout the festival on their website. and have many biographies of Icelandic bands that will be performing.  KEXP always has something going on at Kex Hostel, and you can typically find live performances and interviews with the bands on their website as well.  And of course, the Iceland Airwaves website and Facebook page will have loads of information to help you prepare for the musical week.

I highly suggest you start following some of these informational hubs now on Facebook and twitter as they will be highlighting bands, giving suggestions, and informing the masses of the different things going on during the festival.

Get the App!


The Iceland Airwaves App is now available for Download.  It has maps with all the venues, customizable schedules, friend locators, off-venue and official schedule times, reminders of upcoming shows, and a whole slew of other things to make your life easy.  This app is necessary for having a beneficial experience at the festival, I can’t recommend it enough.

Be social, no really, be really social

Iceland is a friendly place, and there are going to be a lot of folks from a lot of different countries so make some new friends and be social.  Before or after a band plays, while in line waiting to get into a show, or out and about touring around, take a moment to meet the folks around you.

You’ve got at least two things in common, you’re all there to listen to music, and you’re all on an incredibly unique island with things to see.  There’s no better way to find out new stuff to listen to or see than by asking the person next to you who they are digging.  I’ve met some rather cool folks over the years at Airwaves, so be as social as you can.

Be patient, be kind

Keep in mind that there are 9000 of us that will devour Reykjavik for the week.  Businesses, restaurants and services in general will be well over normal capacity. So be patient and be a decent human being.  Huffing and puffing because something isn’t going as quickly or as smoothly as you like is just not needed and will never get you the results you’re looking for.  Icelanders take pride in what they do, and while they will go to great lengths to help you, they’ll have no qualms in calling you out for rude or asshole-ish behavior.  Your attitude will have a direct result in how you are treated around town, so civility and decency will make your trip a much better one.

Do your music shopping there, or you may miss out

This took me a few times to learn.  A lot of the Icelandic bands you’ll see and hear will only have their product available in Iceland, which means if you don’t pick it up at one of the music stores or booths at the shows you’ll miss out.

There are some pretty fantastic music shops in Iceland, they’ll serve you coffee, and answer any questions you have about the music up there. Smekkleysa, Lucky Records, and 12 Tónar are traditional visits for me, and this year I’m excited to check out Reykjavik Record Shop.

Lucky Records and 12 Tónar both will have off-venue gigs going on as well, so find them on Facebook to follow along with who is playing when or look them up in the app.

Get out and tour a bit


With the off-venue schedule and the official schedule you can get overwhelmed, but you are in one hell of a naturally majestic land so I highly recommend you get out and tour a bit.  Hotels or the Information center located downtown will have all the tour outfits to take you outside of Reykjavik for a half day or so, and the scenery makes it well worth it.  A few simple things to remember as you’re touring around will keep you out of trouble and in good favor with the tourist gods:

  • Do not litter, a lot of areas you go to will be free, and that is because they don’t have regular cleaning crews.  Help keep it free for everyone and put your trash in garbage cans.
  • While the city is full of art and graffiti, the countryside is not.  Icelanders have been known to feed tourists to the sharks that live in the volcano for marking up their nature.  At the very least you’ll pay a lot of money and get kicked off the island.
  • Iceland’s moss takes a very very long time to grow.  So if you’re around it and you want to pick it off the ground please don’t, it’s very damaging.

IHRIf getting out of town seems like too much effort, I would suggest going over to I heart Reykjavik’s website and checking out their tours.  They do tours around the city focusing on multiple things from the Northern Lights to the history of Reykjavik.  I would suggest booking the tours sooner than later because they are smaller tours and they fill up quickly.  As of this posting, there were limited slots left and they do fill up quickly.

Most important tip, have fun!

Relax and enjoy yourself, treat folks the way you like to be treated and just open yourself up for good music, a great Island, and a good time.


Iceland Affair 2015

It’s time again for another Iceland Affair.  This charming Icelandic festival celebrates it’s sixth year on Saturday October 17th.  Nestled in the picturesque towns of Winchester and Norfolk CT, Iceland affair will take over the Winchester center and Infinity Hall for cultural presentations, unique items for sale, food, and a night of music.

During the day Winchester center will play host to multiple presentations, Icelandic horses, food and merchandise.  there will be a silent auction table as well as a slew of products from Lopapeysas (Icelandic sweaters), cakes, soaps and other Icelandic items for sale throughout the event.  There will be Pylsur (Icelandic Hot-dogs) on site, and their free!  They are the best hot dogs you will ever have, in my opinion.

The presenters will lecture on topics such as the science and beauty of the Aurora Borealis, geology of Iceland, Viking lore, ICESAR (Iceland’s search and rescue teams,) Arctic foxes, and there will be a Gyrfalcon, Iceland’s national bird giving a show.  The day festivities are free, and you can learn more about the schedule here

FireandIceNighttime will bring the Fire and Ice concert.  A cozy evening with 5 fantastic Icelandic artists at the Infinity hall in Norfolk, CT.  The artists tend to play together and interact with the crowd making it a rather unique and intimate night of great music, laughter and fun for both the artists and audience.

Kristjana Stefánsdóttir, Svavar Knútur, Sóley, Björn Thoroddsen and Myrra Rós will be gracing the stage this year, all of them veterans of the festival.  Most everyone playing has new material or albums that have been released recently, so I’m envisioning a lot of fresh material will be performed.

The festival typically sells out, and with less than half tickets left I would suggest getting them sooner than later.  Along with the the bands, there are always surprises that pop up during the concert.

IcelandaffairmusicianI’ve put a very brief description and sample of the artists music below:

Kristjana Stefánsdóttir has been a vocal coach to many Icelandic singers over the years.  her command of Jazz is rivaled only by her smooth and strong voice.  No matter what or how she’s singing it’s rare not to be completely sucked in to her songs.

Svavar Knútur is a riot, he not only entertains with great music, but his personality and ability to naturally engage the audience makes for a good time for everyone.  He has a new album out, and so there will be plenty of new material to enjoy.

Sóley has been touring all over, but this will be only one of the few times we on the East coast get to see her this year.  Her new album was so impressive I actually attempted a review on it.  And I can’t wait to hear the new stuff live.

Björn Thoroddsen is a magic man with a guitar, and always puts on a good show with original or highly improvised versions of classic tracks.  Not only does he command complete attention when he’s center stage, but he has this amazing ability to play back up for anyone at any time and not miss a beat.  He never disappoints.

And Myrra Rós, with her haunting vocals and up-beat melodies are just right for an autumn concert.  her new album, “One amongst others” was just released and I really enjoy it.  I can’t wait to hear some of the new material live.

So come get a hot dog, learn about Icelandic culture, and spend the night being entertained by an extremely engaging group of musicians.