When going on holidays in the middle of autumn people usually head to the beach to stock up some sunshine and Vitamin D for the winter. I decided to spend my days off near the Arctic Circle and let off steam at Iceland Airwaves festival.
Reykjavik has been my home for two years, so I had several good reasons to visit. Seeing the precious, familiar faces again, walking on the streets of the beloved city, sitting in my favourite cafés and enjoying some amazing concerts really made my days in Iceland.
Before first experiencing Airwaves, I could never imagine a festival without the summer heat, tents and having fun in the middle of nowhere with thousands of other people. Here it happens a bit differently, and it has its pros and cons as well.
Imagine a festival spread all over the city – there are concerts in small pubs, concert venues, museums, book stores, restaurants, and basically anywhere where there’s a possibility to fit a few people. The really good thing about it is that there are lots of off-venue events so those ones who didn’t get to buy a ticket can also enjoy some shows. Most of the bands – except the “big names” – perform off-venue as well, and as I’ve experienced, these events are sometimes more amusing than the ones requiring the ticket.
A thing that I really don’t like about Airwaves is the horror of standing in line even for half an hour to get to see someone. Even if you have a ticket. Even if the wind is about to blow you away. (They somehow always manage to pick the dates with the worst weather possible. I remember two years ago the wind was so strong that people were advised to stay indoors. I have kind of a nostalgic feeling when I think of flying trampolines on the street.) After seeing that the queue to one of the main acts was at least two blocks long, we decided to check out smaller local bands, and we didn’t get disappointed – it’s true that the density of good musicians in Iceland is way above average.
All in all, I’m happy that I didn’t choose a tropical island as my holiday destination. Spending these days in Iceland gave me an experience that I’ll be talking about for quite a long time. I might not have gotten a tan, but nothing can be compared to the feeling of walking home dead tired but happy, with the Northern Lights dancing above my head.