Every year, Iceland Airwaves attracts bands and solo artists from around the world who consistently push and challenge the boundaries of music. Iceland is home to groundbreaking artists like Björk, Mammút and Sigur Rós, making it the ideal location for a cutting-edge musical event where the unconventional is conventional and innovation is the star of the show. We found husband and wife Sven and Julia Jordan—two indie-music enthusiasts from Hannover, Germany—lounging in the halls of Harpa Concert Hall, waiting for the next line-up to begin. They described Airwaves to us as a “unique festival in a unique country filled with unique and interesting people.”
Absorbing the Entire Experience
While some tourists travel to Airwaves to see a particular act, Sven and Julia simply wanted to immerse themselves in the entire Airwaves experience in hopes of discovering new musicians and bands.
“We visited Iceland two years ago out of curiosity, on vacation,” Sven explains, while sitting on one of Harpa’s stylish square-shaped couches. “After our first trip, we decided to book tickets to Airwaves and just wanted to come and check out the whole event. We didn’t have any artist in mind beforehand.”
Julia, who works as a graphic designer in Germany, grew fond of one Icelandic artist’s music during her current stay in Rekjavík.
“I loved Máni Orrason,” she says enthusiastically. “We saw him perform both on-venue here at Harpa and off-venue at Bíó Paradís. He was fantastic.”
The couple also attended concerts by local artists Axel Flóvent—a folk musician from the northern fishing village of Húsavík—Icelandic rock band For a Minor Reflection, and Sóley, an up-and-coming Icelandic singer/songwriter, whose work has been praised internationally for its quirky, dark, surrealistic sounds.
Sven and Julia decided to take a break from the city in the middle of their stay, embarking on the staple Golden Circle tour, which takes tourists to the legendary Geysir, the breathtaking national park Þingvellir, and the mighty Gullfoss waterfall.
“Iceland has fascinating nature,” Sven says. “On our previous trip to Iceland, we travelled for a week around the Ring Road, stopped by the glacial lagoon in the south (Jökulsárlón), and enjoyed seeing the puffins along the way as well.”
And, of course, the couple could not leave Iceland this time around without stopping by the Blue Lagoon spa for an afternoon of relaxation and rejuvenation!
Embracing the Unconventional
Both Julia and Sven give Airwaves a rave review, although they readily admit that the festival won’t appeal to every traveler.
“It depends on the person and his or her musical tastes,” Julia explains. Sven adds in agreement: “The festival is great. You have to really like indie music and be willing to keep an open mind. A lot of the music here is pretty unique.”
Iceland Airwaves has come a long way since its humble premiere in 1999, which took place in an airplane hangar at Reykjavík Airport. The now-iconic music festival continues to serve as one of Iceland’s many forums for creativity and ingenuity, as well as a launching pad for fresh, innovative musical talent.
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