A few days ago, we reported about how Bakkus Bar was breaking away and going it alone with their own festival, independent of the events that were surrounding the Iceland Airwaves music festival.
Well it seems that they are not the only one doing their own thing for there is ANOTHER independent music festival being held on at the same time as both Airwaves, and B-waves. Held at the Iðusalir event space on Læjkagata (above the Iða book store no less), RAFWAVES is a 5 night festival that aims to highlight and showcase the different aspects of Iceland’s electronic music scene, from it’s myriad of producers and DJ’s, to showcase nights for Electronic music labels and club nights, such as Möller Records, Weirdcore, Thule, Reyk Veek, and Color Me Records.
We spoke with Event organiser at Iðusalir, and organiser of Rafwaves, Isar Logi Arnarsson about the festival and the work that’s gone into it this year.
Can you tell us why you started Rafwaves in the first place? I mean, some of the artists featured on your line up will also be playing or have their own nights during Airwaves itself.
Well I’ve worked for many year with the Icelandic electronic scene in so many ways, as publisher, event promoter, and label manager. I had recently started working at a venue called Square in Lækjargata. This was in 2011 and that year I also worked with my brother, and musician, Ari Arnarsson. However in 2011, I didn’t have a ticket to Airwaves, so the two of us just decided to hold a one off night at Square that year.
Many of the artists that appear on Rafwaves might have had a spot on the Wednesday at 15:00 in some off-venue during Airwaves. But when it came to main festival weekend and the best hours of the night, nearly all the electronic acts would make way for the bigger acoustic, folk, pop bands. And most artists, even electronic ones, want to play for the masses.
What has the response been from the musicians and DJs when you mentioned that you were doing Rafwaves again?
When I heard from my friends in the electronic scene and DJ’s alike, they told me that there was not really a big spotlight being cast on the majority of the electronic acts, so I decided to see if I could do something about it. I made a decision to work with the local electronic music labels, artists and club nights
What do you feel Rafwaves offers that Airwaves and the off-venues lack?
Rafwaves offers a much focused spotlight on the Icelandic electronic music and is a collaboration between us at the venue, and the labels with a backup promotion on the web. Airwaves are the platform on which all other events work in. Different venues and promoters have different agendas according to the area of music they work in, and in my case I really like and have always liked to promote the electronic scene. But these two concepts cannot be compared so much. If Airwaves is the Sun, then Rafwaves is the Earth.
How have the preparations been for this year? Has it been smooth, or have you experienced any problems with respect to Airwaves itself?
This year is basically a repeat of last year’s event, but instead of one night only, it’s 5 nights and has expanded in all ways possible. The planning actually took about 3 days. It was just one day and the line-up filled up in no time. It was a quick and easy work. Everyone involved wanted this to happen. It’s been a remarkably easy set up and I’ve gotten help from so many amazing people that share my vision and desire to expand the electronic scene, make it more visible, and perhaps give the artists a bigger chance to take their music outside of Iceland.
Can you tell us what you feel the highlights of Rafwaves are going to be?
Well, in the beginning of this year’s preparations, I was equally happy with making it a one night only but I got some amazing friends working with me now, guys that have many years of experience with promotion and setting up big parties. These are Frosti Jónsson (aka Bistro Boy), who is also a musician and signed by the Icelandic label Möller, and Gunnar, a experienced event producer and owner of his own company, called G-Events. We had some great meetings and the results came fast. Right from the start, it bounced right up to 4 days and then we added a final 5th day.
I believe that for the general public the 5th day will make most sense. It’s an event held in collaboration with the RafKraumur, a new project set up by the Kraumur music fund to help electronic artists, and there are some household names playing that night, like Ghostigtal (who are celelbrating their 10th brithday), Legend, Captain Fufanu, Oculus and more. This night will be the grand finale to a very nice and versatile event. But for the lovers of electronic music the whole experience, the artists, the music, the atmosphere, the Rafwaves store will be the highlight. Also anyone can go to the website, spend a few minutes there and figure out their own highlights.