Nei, I’m not going to Airwaves

If you read any other blogs or news about Iceland, you will have noticed that a lot of the talk at this time of year is about the upcoming Airwaves music festival. Many of the foreigners like me who are “into” Iceland are really into the music and this is reflected in the large number of tourists who go to the festival.

I’m probably one of the few Iceland bloggers who would say NOT to go to Airwaves.

There’s a lot that I don’t like about music festivals generally – crowds, drunk people, you’re miles away from the band, there’s mud, sleeping in tents – ok, that’s pretty much everything. Airwaves is different and has bands mostly playing indoors and mostly in small places and it’s the one time that you get to see just about every Icelandic band at once and then hang out with them in the bar afterwards. So to be fair, it’s the one music festival that I can’t apply the usual negatives to. Here are my grumpy reasons for not going:

1. You can see great bands in Reykjavík throughout the year. There are so many bars and clubs that even if you have a limited knowledge of Icelandic music there might be someone playing that you have heard of and if not you will still hear good music.

2. For some reason the organisers have pushed it back by a few weeks this year. I think it’s to generally spread out the presence of tourists more, but that few weeks makes a big difference in daylight hours and potentially the weather. It’s just a nothing time of year – in my opinion you’d be better off going up until mid-October when the days are longer or around Christmas when there is a festive atmosphere. It also happens to be a time when it would be really inconvenient for me to be off work (don’t the organisers take this into their planning??).

3. Finally there are going to be way too many young, hip and glamourous people all gathered in one place during this time. If you are over 25 you will feel like their mother and worry about whether they are staying out too late and how they are going to get home – and these are just the bands!

I might be a bit jealous when I start reading about everyone’s experiences but I will console myself by watching X Factor while drinking hot chocolate listening to KEXP who are broadcasting live for 8 hours a day. You can also check out this playlist from the Grapevine.

Basically, I think I’d rather just be there without the crowds and paying more for the privilege of being there when something is “on”.  Are there any popular events that you have a similarly grumpy view of?


9 thoughts on “Nei, I’m not going to Airwaves

  1. The age thing isn’t as bad as you might think. I went to Airwaves when I was 56 and 59 and I wasn’t always the oldest person in the room (although I usually was!). The crowds are hip, but not tragically so. KEXP is fantastic- and would be even better if they could live stream from venues, like Aldrei fór ég Suður does. The big problem I see with Airwaves is they are moving many of the shows to Harpa, which is more suited to classical music (no dance floor) and are closing many of the best venues (Nasa already and Faktory soon). The switch to November might be bad as well, usually mid-October weather is beautiful in Reykjavík (I just got back and it was glorious!), time will tell.

    Attending professional sports in the US has become almost unbearable for me- non-stop hype (video scoreboards, ads, noise) and also concerts with over about 300 people: crowd control, bad sound and sight lines, lack of intimacy, all problems the Airwaves usually doesn’t have (except for some headliners.)

    • You’ve mentioned the age not being a problem before – I suppose if I’m ever going to go I should go sooner rather than later! Who knows how long it will be around for anyway. Good point about Harpa, which is soulless compared to the smaller venues. I will watch the weather with interest next week. 🙂

      All these big events seem to be about advertising and costing lost of money these days for a product that isn’t very good, like these crazy prices for Rolling Stones tickets that are a mile away with no view. When there’s no alternative people have no choice but to go anyway, but I hope they at least realise that things don’t have to be so badly orchestrated.

  2. I’m with you on avoiding crowds, often even if it’s something I’d enjoy. I hate crowds and noise more as I get older. Especially if you have to pay more! 🙂 It’s be a much smaller list of popular events I didn’t have a grumpy view of… 🙂

  3. Yes ! I feel the same about festivals – I’m nearly 30 ,I feel too old ( although in some parts of Australia 30 is the new 13 !! ) the crowds do my head in , especially if I get separated from friends and I always seem to miss the one band I want to see because I am watching something else !! Oh and don’t get me started on the line up for a beer … Give me a one band concert any day 😉 Xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s