Right about now, I should be chilling in a hot pot in the land of ice and snow for the annual Iceland Airwaves music festival, which I’ve been covering for nearly a decade. The coronavirus pandemic has put a hold on pretty much everything entertainment-wise though, and it’s become impossible to draw large groups of people in person from all over the world.
However, Iceland Airwaves is doing something no other musical fest scheduled for 2020 has done thus far, by going virtual with the country’s foremost musicians banding together for “Live from Reykjavík,” a new, streaming festival taking place Friday, Nov. 13 and Saturday Nov. 14. It’s been put together to by the team behind Iceland Airwaves, who routinely do a solid job.
“We wanted to find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast talent of the music scene here in Iceland, as well as support the larger industry and show some innovation,” says festival director Ísleifur Þórhallsson in a statement. “To have all these artists in Iceland at the same time is a ‘lighting strikes once’ moment, and we wanted to seize it with both hands.”
The incredible assembly of local artists collected for the ambitious online event makes it one of the biggest ever celebrations of Icelandic talent for the world to see, and the first major livestream event from the world’s most Northerly capital. The lineup reflects the creativity, dynamism and diversity in Iceland’s music scene, with confirmed performers including Of Monsters and Men, Ólafur Arnalds, Ásgeir, Daði Freyr, Júníus Meyvant and more.
“Live from Reykjavík” features both internationally established acts and artists on the rise. Riding high on another success with their new single “Visitor,” Of Monsters and Men will perform a set in one of the most intimate venues they’ve played for many years. Ólafur Arnalds will play a special show in support of his forthcoming album ‘some kind of piece.’ Ásgeir, one Iceland’s best loved singer songwriters, will visit music from his latest LP, ‘Bury the Moon,’ right back to his debut ‘In The Silence.’
Elsewhere, Daði Freyr will present a new live show including this year’s global viral smash “Think About Things” – over 50,000,000 streams and counting – alongside techno provocateurs Hatari, who caught the world’s imagination at Eurovision 2018, and are the subject of a new feature film ‘A Song Called Hate.’ Icelandic troubadours Júníus Meyvant and Mugison will take the moment to perform some of their most loved tracks alongside premiering new material.
Other acts set to appear include the sax and synth heavy tracks of dream-pop trio Vök, chamber pop group Hjaltalín, the brightest new faces of the Icelandic pop scene Bríet, Auður and GDRN, darkwave breakthrough band Kælan Mikla, longstanding Iceland Airwaves Alumni MAMMÚT and upcoming rap artist Cell7.
Performances will be captured across iconic Airwaves venues such as Iðnó, Gamla Bío, Art Museum Reykjavík and more. To celebrate this unique moment around the world, the performances will stream here on the East Coast beginning at 7:30pm each night via the livestream app DICE, which can be accessed here.
Ticket options include a two-day pass for both days for $50, a one-day pass for either day at $40 or standalone shows for Ásgeir, Ólafur Arnalds, Daði Freyr at $20 each. Despite the current dread associated with Covid-19, “Live from Reykjavík” is a fantastic opportunity to take your mind off the goings on in the world – at least for a little bit – and to be introduced to a wide array of music from another land.
A version of this article appeared in last week’s print edition of The Daily Times in my weekly Rock Music Menu column under the title “Visit Iceland – virtually – for ‘Live from Reykjavík’ music fest.”