Airwaves

Goodbye, Airwaves!

Words by
Photos by Saskia Vallendar
 
Goodbye, Airwaves!
 

Airwaves is over. Five whole days of running from one venue to another, seeing one show after another, having one beer after another, and one late night after another. Iceland Airwaves 2014 has come to an end— and, for me,  it was great!

Five tough days of Airwaves

Day 1 +2: During the first two days of the festival, the streets of Reykjavík were packed. People at on-venues, off-venues, bars, clubs and in the streets. The queues at some venues were ridiculously long. But, as the festival had just started, everyone’s ‘party battery’ was fully charged. Reykjavík was ready!

Day 3: Those of you that partied a bit too hard during the first two nights, you would have first played with the thought of just staying in and having a quiet night. But then you felt guilty for not making the most of your yellow Airwaves wristband. Plus, you could miss out on a great night of music and fun, so you push yourself to go. You saw more good-and-not-so-good music, got drunk with friends, lost them somewhere in the crowd, found them again… or not. However, it ended up in another late night of musical wonders… and drinking.

Day 4: Saturday finds you wishing you hadn’t gone out the night before. And all those shots of Brennivín and Ópal and the rest of Iceland’s liquor-oddities weren’t such a great idea- ouch! You wanted to stay in bed forever but there was NO WAY you could miss the almost compulsory Saturday night of the festival! Although it was hard, you forced yourself to go and, of course, you ended up having a massively amusing night… yet again!

Day 5: Sunday approaches and you just think: ‘Enough! I need to rest!’ Oh well, too bad Sunday is the day of the Airwaves finale show which you probably had tickets for.

Most of the day was probably spent indoors watching movies or maybe some of you did have the strength to check out some off-venue gigs… judging by those I spoke to, probably not, though.

And in the evening, you make your way to Vodafonehöllin, most likely still as tired and hungover as in the morning. It is freezing cold outside and you wish you were in your bed… but hey, it’s the Flaming Lips – and no one would want to miss how they set that unusual Airwaves venue on fire! Many of us were well knackered at this point, but it is the finale of Iceland Airwaves 2014! Even if you’re normally big a party animal, at this point you would rather just sit down comfortably and watch the band perform. You didn’t want to stand around, you didn’t want to be pushed around. Is that too much to ask for?

…apparently not.

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One last show

The hall was full of people and you expected to get crushed by the crowd or someone pouring half their beer over you while squeezing past you. But finally, at this gig, it seemed like people had decided not to invade one people’s privacy in that spectacularly Icelandic fashion. Finally a show with  enough space for everyone! There was space to dance, space to chill – even space to keep witner coats, scarves and such on the floor without worrying about anything disappearing. You would not be separated from your friends. Nobody was left standing by the ‘unofficial aisle’,  getting pushed around by people that are trying to get passed. You could sway and peacefully sip that beer you decided on getting after all, as you kind of have to celebrate the final night of this amazing festival. And seeing The Flaming Lips with all their lights, glitter, balloons and other colourful props was just a treat for the eyes.

After an overwhelming performance by the Flaming Lips and a few beers you thought you might as well check out what else is happening in the last few hours of Airwaves. You head to Húrra with your friends to hear the Zebra Katz play the last few tunes of Iceland Airwaves 2014. You have a few more drinks, dance, chat and enjoy.

And at some point you realize: It’s time to go to sleep.

Your walk back home is surprisingly quiet compared to the last four nights. The streets are empty. The lively streets have turned to silence. An empty beer can rolled down the street, like tumbleweed in a Western Movie. Reykjavík has gone to sleep.

Some of you might have been clever enough to take Monday off. For those that didn’t, good luck.

It was a good one! Good night, Airwaves. See you next year!

Posted November 12, 2014