The strong culture of music in Iceland has brought us pioneering artists like Bjork and Sigur Ros, and a burgeoning scene is now attracting some notable musical migrants too. So you’d probably expect a disproportionately busy music festival calendar on this tiny, chilly island, and you’d be right. Music festivals in Iceland are now attracting discerning visitors from across the globe and celebrating an international music scene alongside the home-grown talent. We look at just a few of the many vibrant events on offer in this intriguing country across 2015.
Launched in Barcelona in 1994 to support and celebrate the avante garde of electronic dance music, Sónar has since presented more than 50 festivals across the world. Three-year-old Sónar Reykjavik is a comparatively intimate event which takes place across five venues in Harpa, Reykjavik’s state-of-the-art harbourside concert and conference centre, bringing vibrancy and energy to the city in its darker, colder months. The many stars on the bill include Skrillex, Paul Kalkbrenner, SBTRKT, Jamie xx, Todd Terje, TV On the Radio, Kindness and Nina Kraviz.
12-14 February, Harpa, Reykjavík. Three day adult passes are still available at £98
All Tomorrow’s Parties
Yes, the people who broke our hearts in 2013, by calling a halt to their holiday-camp gatherings for the hedonistic musical intelligentsia of the UK, USA and Australia, are still producing their newer Icelandic event. For the third year, ATP will take over the Ásbrú former Nato Base in July, presenting headliners including Belle & Sebastian, Spiritualised and Godspeed You! Black Emperor in a disused aeroplane hangar. Nick Cave, who played last year, described the event as “My favourite festival, in my favourite country”. Sounds good to us!
2-4 July, Ásbrú, Keflavík. Super-early-bird weekend adult tickets cost £92.50
Metal, hardcore, punk and indie rock amicably take over the tiny fjord town of Neskaupsstadur each July for four long, light days of good-natured musical mayhem. Eistnaflug, which started life in 2009 as an all-dayer, now boasts a bill of around 40 performances from a mix of Icelandic talent and big foreign names, and has moved to a larger venue at the town’s gym for 2015. Kicking off with an early-evening gig for rockers of all ages, this year’s wild weekend will be headlined by Carcass, Behemoth and Enslaved.
8-11 July, Neskaupsstadur, 15.000 kr
Launched in 1999 as a local DJ showcase in an old aircraft hangar, this international new music festival now presents a comprehensive showcase of up-and-comers, plus some big-name headliners, across several prime Reykjavík venues. A buzzing festival fringe fills the whole town from bar to bookshop with cutting-edge music, leading Rolling Stone to call it the “hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar”. Last years bill featured Flaming Lips, The Knife, Anna Kalvi, Caribou, The War on Drugs and Ezra Furman.
4-8 November, Harpa, Reykjavík.Ealry bird five-day wristbands already available at £136