Planning to travel to Iceland? Then don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of Iceland’s fine music festivals. (Well, the first one you probably missed, because it just finished.)
Aldrei fór ég suður 18-19 April
Isafjordur in the Westfjords is home to the annual, sweaty, joyous, fun-filled grassroots music Festival of “Aldrei fór ég suður” – or “I never went south.” The festival is the brainchild of the Icelandic music legend Mugison and his father and it is becoming Icelanders’ favourite way of spending their Easter weekend. True to Mugison’s rules and egalitarian values local school acts support the bigger names from Reykjavík.
Artists: Cell7, Dj. Flugvél og geimskip, Grísalappalísa, Hermigervil, Highlands, Hjaltalín, Kaleo, Mammút, Maus, Retro Stefson
Heima i Hafnarfirdi 23 April
The concept of this music festival world comes from the Faroes, Faroese claim to actually have gotten the idea from Iceland. Musicians from various genres will hold short concerts in 13 homes located in the town and festival visitors walk between houses and listen and enjoy. Each artist appears at least twice in different homes and plays for 40 minutes.
Artists: Ylja, Vök, Mono Town, Elíza Newman og Anna Magga (Kolrassa Krókríðandi), Strigaskór nr. 42
Secret Solstice 20-22 June
Secret Solstice is a festival that‘s being held for the first time on the 20th-22nd of June 2014. The festival features over a hundred artists both local and international from a various array of genres. It showcases both established artists as well as exciting up-and-coming talent over the course of three days in the 24 hour midnight sun during the summer solstice. It‘s themed after the Norse religion and mythology of old. It‘s set to deliver a unique party atmosphere filled with great entertainment.
Artists: Massive Attack, Woodkid, Schoolboy Q, Múm, Carl Craig, Hjaltalín, Gluteus Maximus, Banks, Damian Lazarus, He, Eats Everything
Raudasandur Festival 3-6 July
Rauðasandur Festival is a small music and experience festival set in the stunning scenery in the Rauðasandur region of The West Fjords of Iceland. The festival takes place during the first weekend of July each year. It focuses on country, blues, folk, reggae and anything in between, as well as outdoor activities such as beach volleyball, sandcastle competitions, yoga and hiking.
Artists: Emilíana Torrini, Sam Amidon (USA), Moses Hightower, Lay Low, Ylja, Amaba Dama, My Bubba (DK), Pascal Pinon
Braeðslan 26 July
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Braeðslan. It takes place in a tiny seaside community called Borgarfjörður-Eystri which is located in the far north-east of Iceland, home to just around 100 people. The line-up gathers some of Icelands most beloved bands at the moment.
Artists: Drangar (Jónas Sigurðsson, Mugison og Ómar Guðjónsson), Emilíana Torrini, Lára Rúnars, Mammút, Pollapönk, SúEllen
Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum 1-4 August
The last weekend of July or on the first weekend of August, Icelanders have their annual shopkeeper’s holiday, named Verslunarmannahelgi. All over the country they celebrate in their own tremendous way by numerous parties and festivals. The most known as well as the biggest one is Þjóðhátíð, located in Westman Islands. Although some people look at this as a music festival, some even say that the music doesn’t matter; it’s all about the atmosphere. There are three highlights during the weekend, the bonfire at the Friday evening, followed up by a firework exhibition on Saturday night and the Sunday sing-along event.
Artists: Mugison, Hjálmar, Jón Jónsson, Ham, Retrobot, Friðrik Dór, Blaz Rocha, Ingó og Veðurguðirnir, Magnús & Jóhann.
Iceland Airwaves 5-9 November
The Iceland Airwaves Festival has become one of the world’s top showcases for new music. Since the first edition was held in 1999 (in an airplane hangar) it’s been lavished with praise pretty much everywhere they write about music. The festival encompasses a main program as well as off-venue events that give newcomers a chance to be heard.
Artists: Flaming Lips, The War On Drugs, Caribou, Future Islands, Oyama, Samaris, Kaleo, Highlands, Rökkurró, Skurken.