From a longest of many worthy projects, two leapt out of the pack this year for their general excellent service to improving Icelandic music. The first was R6013, a not-for-profit basement venue that provides an invaluable platform for emerging artists at a time when music venue are being priced out of existence; and HÁSKAR, a “doomsday festival” at IÐNÓ that moved the goalposts of just how ambitious and captivating a one-day music event can be.
Shout Out: R6013
Ægir Sindri Bjarnason set up the low-fi concert/gathering venue R6013 in his family’s basement on Ingolfsstræti in May 2017, and has held over 60 concerts since then. When there’s a line-up sign leaning on the fence outside, everyone is welcome to join for experimental performances, vegan food and fun.
A musician himself—some say the best drummer in Reykjavík—Ægir grew up playing in all sorts of bands, from garage practice session to live concerts. “R6013 is a very intimate concert experience compared to most other places, because it’s so small,” he explains, smiling kindly.
The venue is one open room and it’s usually packed. “I decided to switch around the usual setup and raise a stage for the audience at the back, rather than raising up the performers,” he says. “The audience and performers still share the same space. It really does it for me to skip that division.”
There’s always a pot of vegan food to share, which Ægir says is very important to the gatherings. “A connection is created in a space where people eat together,” he says. “Even if you come along and you don’t know anyone, you can have a soup and sit in the corner and listen to others chatting. Just by being there and eating together, you’re a part of what’s happening, even if you’re not talking with anyone.”
With Reykjavík losing several important music hubs in recent years, R6013 feels more necessary now than ever as a home for young musicians and the experimental scene. Follow R6013 on Facebook to keep up with the schedule and consider making a cash donation when you visit so Ægir can open his doors more often for his special events.
Shout out: HÁSKAR
HÁSKAR’s organisers declined to be interviewed about their Shout Out award, and instead offered the following statement from SVIKAMYLLA EHF.
To whom it may concern,
While accepting the Reykjavik Grapevine’s award with moderate gratitude, our board of directors wishes to remain anonymous at this time, due to both legal reasons and recent managerial decisions passed at the board’s latest biweekly meeting here in Reykjavik, Iceland. It it is the sincere hope of our chairman that no offence is taken as we decline the Reykjavik Grapevine’s offer for an interview.
To the readers of the Reykjavik Grapevine, we would instead choose to reiterate our message as stated in a previous interview about our doomsday celebration. Háskar was held to recognise and celebrate the onset of doomsday. Doomsday occurred during Háskar, after Háskar and until the last member of the species posts the last photo on the last of the social media before drawing its last breath. Our days are numbered. Whether or not a second doomsday celebration will take place this year will soon be announced by prestigious Icelandic media company Iceland Music News on their website, icelandmusicnews.com.
In light of this, we would like to thank the artists who appeared at Háskar and made the celebration possible. We would especially like to congratulate members of anti-capitalist award winning Icelandic bondage art group HATARI for their ceaseless, but ultimately pointless, work to unveil the scam that is everyday life. May their short careers be remembered until the end, which is nigh.
Read more about the Grapevine Music Awards 2019 here.