The music festival season kicks off every March in the hot, dusty streets of Austin, TX. In November it couldn’t end anywhere more different, or better: the streets of Reykjavik, Iceland at the Iceland Airwaves Festival.
Founded in 1999, Iceland Airwaves has since become one of the most exciting music festivals in the world and a much-anticipated bookend to the global festival season. Iceland’s own Reyka Vodka is a festival sponsor, supporting artists and attendees with multiple activities, events and damn good vodka. In partnership with Iceland Airwaves, the brand hosts the Reyka Breakthrough at Iceland Airwaves Contest, where U.S. bands compete for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to rock the festival stage. Not only that, the bands get to see the sites and sounds of one of the most unique places on the planet.
With Iceland Airwaves 2012 just a few weeks away, Reyka wants you prepared. Whether you plan to be there in person, want to follow along virtually, or want to plan your visit for next year (yeah, the festival sells out that fast..) here are a few tips:
Plan, plan, plan
With over 200 artists performing, 12 venue locations in downtown Reykjavik, and virtually every bar, bookstore, and café turning into an off venue location during the day, you can’t possibly see it all! Check out the festival schedule in advance and plan your strategy: Blouse on Friday, Vacationer on Saturday, Sigur Rós on Sunday with a host of some of the most cutting edge new music and musicians in between. You’ll find the schedule here—don’t leave the festival saying, “Aww, I can’t believe I didn’t see Blouse.”
Bring your guitar
Do you secretly fancy yourself a rockstar? Think you could play to a crowd of the hippest people around? Iceland Airwaves might offer you that chance so bring your guitar, grab your friends, and see what happens. Recognized as one of the most intimate and unpretentious festival cities, virtually everything in Reykjavik turns into a place where music just happens. You might find yourself at an impromptu jam session with the front man from last night’s headliner and the drummer from your favorite band—don’t be left out and instead be ready to go with the flow of whatever this unprecedented city and festival unveil.
Practice Saying “Skal”
That means “cheers” in Icelandic and get yourself in gear to experience the epic party scene in Reykjavik. Just because the shows end at 2:00am doesn’t mean the evening’s over—quite the contrary as after-parties, bars, and special events abound. Get in the know and check out the Reyka stage at FAKTORÝ or check out the Reyka Facebook page to find out where the parties and events will be throughout the week. And bring your bathing suit. Iceland Airwaves is the only festival in the world where you can sip a cocktail with the band from last night’s show that people can’t stop talking about, listen to one of Iceland’s premier DJs spin some cutting edge tracks, all while soaking in the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal hot spring carved into the ancient lava fields.
So take Reyka’s advice and be prepared for one of the hippest and most mind-blowing music festivals you’ll ever attend.