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How to do Iceland Airwaves Festival Like a Local

The Iceland Airwaves Festival kicked off on November 1999. This inaugural festival was held in an airplane hanger at Reykjavik’s Keflavík International Airport. It is now the stuff of legends and apparently they really did party like it was 1999! The festival has been held annually ever since but it has now moved into central Reykjavik. Iceland airwaves venues are many and varied and dotted all over the capital. From the giant Harpa Concert Hall to the tiniest of backroom bars venues right across the city get involved.

Colourful view of Reykjavik with snowy mountains. Iceland Airwaves Festival.

Today this thriving music festival is very much on the international festival scene. It is well known for showcasing brand new and up and coming acts. As well as many established international artists and home grown talent. This emphasis on introducing fresh faces is a big part of the festival. And music press such as Rolling Stone and Kerrang will always send their journalists to cover the event.


If you would like to buy an Iceland Airwaves Festival pass you should get in quick. The music festival celebrates its 20thanniversary in 2019 so this year Airwaves tickets will go especially fast.


Top Tips from an Iceland Airwaves Regular


Download the App

The Iceland Airwaves App is a real lifesaver when it comes to navigating the festival. It has all sorts of features allowing you to plan your itinerary and find your way from venue to venue. You can build playlists and it will even give you band suggestions based on your tastes. It is a great way to discover new music without trawling YouTube videos. The App is great for the super organised who like to plan in advance. But it is equally as useful for those last-minute emergencies when you can’t find your venue.


Check out unusual venues

The big name acts, of course, play the larger venues with their bigger audience capacities. However, there are so many interesting and unusual smaller venues dotted around the city. From cafes to record stores to art galleries almost any space can be turned into a mini music venue. These are the types of places where you’ll discover something new that you wouldn’t necessarily have planned on seeing. Who knows you might just stumble upon the next big thing! Many of the venues are within easy walking distance of each other. This makes it really easy to pop in for a quick l