OK, I’m in a slight state of panic. Iceland Airwaves is 3 days away and I haven’t planned a thing. I don’t know who I’m seeing, I don’t know who I’m going with and I haven’t had time to get familiar with all the bands that are playing the festival. The only thing I do know is that I want to see Mugison in Harpa on Friday. That is really not much of a plan at all.
So instead of telling you about the bands you have to see or acts that are worth skipping, here’s a few things that are good to keep in mind while attending Iceland Airwaves 2011
MEET AND GREET
If you are flying in on Wednesday I strongly recommend you check out our CS pre-airwaves party that afternoon at 17:00. Reykjavík is a small city and you will be bumping into the same people throughout the festival. This party is the perfect place to meet so of them over cheap beer before it all starts. Oh, I also planned this so you will be making me very happy by showing up.
Where: Víkingakráin – the Viking bar
When: Wednesday October 12th @17:00
Why: Because it’s going to be rad!
More information: The event on Facebook
OFF VENUE SHOWS
The Airwaves people are very smart/annoying in that way that they will deliberately schedule big acts at the same time . This means that unless you have some sort of a cloning device or you have superhuman powers that let you be in two places at once – you might find yourself having to decide between two acts you desperately want to see. Many of the acts play the off-venue shows as well so if your favorite acts at the same time you just catch one at the actual festival and the other at an off-venue show.
The off-venue shows are also often set in unconventional venues that give the whole thing a more intimate feel to it. Often you get so close to the artists that you can almost smell them – which of course is only a good thing if they smell nice.
I especially recommend the Reykjavík Downtown Hostel off-venue program but the guy who organizes it is amazing and has been doing a really good job of putting the schedule together the past three years. I’ll be there the whole time doing a live broadcast which you can follow on Twitter #RDHOFFVENUE or on Facebook.
For a full Iceland Airwaves off-venue schedule you can click here.
ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B ( AND PREFERABLY PLAN C)
Certain acts draw a bigger crowd than others. This is a given. In 2005 for example I really wanted to see RATATAT in Nasa and when I arrived there was a line all the way from Nasa to the Parliament building and it just wasn’t moving. I was in a group of 5 or 6 people and a few of us decided to try something else while two decided to brave in in the line. Those of us who went somewhere else ended up having a great evening with bands we had never even heard of before and the other two never made it inside Nasa.
Iceland Airwaves is about exploring and new experiences and two hours spent on a line is two hours you could have used getting to know some great new music. So always have some sort of back up plan.
A FEW PRACTICAL POINTS
- Stock up on alcohol at the duty free store before you arrive in Reykjavík since alcohol is expensive in Iceland but much cheaper at the duty free
- Once in Reykjavík you can buy your booze at Vínbúðin in Austurstræti – the state run alcohol shop – that is open til 18:00 Monday to Saturday, except Fridays when it’s open til 19:00.
- Do like the locals and bring a cold one for the road in case you need to wait in line at the venue.
- The venues do sell beer but it’s usually a bit on the expensive side so most people have a drink or two before they go out.
- The venues normally don’t have cloakrooms so make sure you wear something that you won’t have a problem with holding while you are inside.
- The venues are all very close together so don’t worry about getting lost.
- If you want to get some shopping done while in Reykjavík you could check out my posts on Spúútnik Second hand store and four cute designers stores in Laugarvegur. I also recommend Rokk og Rósir and Gyllti kötturinn for second hand.
- If you want to get your hands on one of those great Icelandic sweaters and you don’t fancy knitting one for yourself, check out the Handknitting Association of Iceland but they has a lot of sweaters on offer that are not too expensive.
- For an delicious 3am grub try Hlöllabátar opposite the Iceland Airwaves Media Center. Or have a hot dog – you can never go wrong with a hot dog.
- Go to Kolaportið flee market during the weekend and make a bargain.
- Keep an open mind and above all – ENJOY YOURSELF!