Iceland Airwaves: 10 essential reasons why you absolutely have to be there

Festival fatigue might be real, but by the end of the year we reckon you’ll be raring to head to one all over again. Fitting, then, that Iceland Airwaves takes place on November 6-9th in the nation’s capital of Reykjavík – but this isn’t like any other festival. It’s a vibrant city where you can see great music among some of the world’s most beautiful natural sights. If that wasn’t enough, here are 10 key reasons why you simply have to go to Iceland Airwaves this year…

1. See the best new artists on the planet!

Iceland Airwaves have a pretty good track record of getting some of the most exciting new names on the planet nice and early. Last year, they had artists like Fontaines DC, Snail Mail, Sorry and more come and play ahead of their recent successes. This year? They’ve locked in Norwegian indie-pop hero Girl In Red, Irish shoegazers Just Mustardsoon-to-be-pop-titan, Georgia and loads more.

Girl In Red live at Øya 2019. Credit: Press/Maja Brenna

2. You can see some special artists up close!


Snuggle up with some of your favourite artists with these super-intimate and special venues. After triumphant festival seasons, Shame, Mac DeMarco and Whitney will be playing in sweaty venues in downtown Reykjavík, and John Grant will perform in the stunning Frikirkjan Church, which is sat right next to the vast Lake Tjörnin. Here is what you can expect…

3. And catch some local talent too!

Where best for Icelandic’s most recognisable exports to return for monumental homecoming shows? This year, JFDR, Vök, Of Monsters and Men, Mammút and more will return to their stomping ground, with new acts like rising R&B star GDRN and more ready to make a name for themselves.

4. A lineup with Gender Parity!

Other festivals might talk the talk when it comes to booking a festival lineup that has an equal share of male, female and non-binary acts on the lineup, but Iceland Airwaves just do it. For the second year in a row, they’ll achieve Gender Parity with their diverse and intriguing musical lineup.

5. Party in one of the most progressive cities!

Iceland and Reykjavík are noted for their progressive attitudes and inclusivity to all, and the line-up reflects that (Orville Peck, Mighty Bear). The city is one of the most welcoming places for the LGBTQ+ community on the planet.

6. Go to some industry talks!


Airwaves Pro features array of panels, keynotes, networking opportunities with some of the industry’s most esteemed leaders and thinkers. It’s an opportunity to learn something and meet people who love music just as much as you do. There’ll probably be some free drinks, too, if that swings it.

7. Go on some breathtaking excursions

Here is a list of things you can see while in Iceland: volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, black beaches and so much more. All of that plus the killer line-up, surely, makes this a once-in-a-lifetime trip. From Game of Throne Revisted to an Eco-Friendly nature tour there are dozens of excursions to choose from.

Credit: Marino Thorlacius

8. Dance underneath the Northern Lights!

No pyrotechnics necessary at Iceland Airwaves. If you’re lucky, there’s a chance you might get to see the greatest lightshow of them all in the shape of the Northern Lights. Afraid you might miss it? No bother. If they appear, the official app will send you a push notification when to simply look up the sky and witness them in all its glory.

9. They’ve got just about every type of music!

Wherever your musical compass lies, there’s something for you to sink your teeth into. If pop is your bag, there’s Anna of The North. Or perhaps forward-thinking electronica is your thing, in which case there’s Glasgow duo Free Love and more. Rock, hip-hop, R&B, neo-classical, experimental bleeps and bloops – Iceland Airwaves have got a full house.

10. There’s also a 80% chance you’ll also bump into Björk

OK, we’ve made up those odds. But knowing that she’s a big fan of the festival (and played it in 2016) and that the dense population of Reykjavík means you could party with all manner of people.

The full line up and 4 days passes are available over at Icelandair offer travel packages from all over UK, Europe and the US – see here for more details.