From Iceland — The Rainbow Road: It’s Pride Time In Reykjavík

The Rainbow Road: It’s Pride Time In Reykjavík

Published July 26, 2018

The Rainbow Road: It’s Pride Time In Reykjavík
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The annual Reykjavik Pride festival returns, running from August 7-12th. The festival has grown year by year, but at its core it’s still a celebration of the variety in life and the beauty of inclusiveness. The largest event this year, as at any Reykjavík Pride, is the Pride Parade. Various floats showcase the ever-growing flora of queer humanity that Pride represents, ranging from the flamboyant and outré to the more pedestrian. The procession begins at the end of Skúlagata, near Harpa, and marches to Hljómskálagarður. There you’ll find a big outdoor concert and party, with the acts still to be announced.

“The floats showcase the ever-growing flora of queer humanity that Pride represents.”

Pride publishes an annual magazine, which this year has a special focus on gay refugees. There’s an interview with a gay Russian couple and their struggles with immigration, and an interview with novelist Þorvaldur Kristinsson—a veteran of the gay rights struggle—who also touches on the subject.

Your makeup is terrible

Among other open-participation events is the annual rainbow painting, wherein the City of Reykjavík paints a rainbow on a city street with help from volunteers. Past years have seen Skólavörðustígur, the entryway to City Hall, and the prominent steps of Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík painted; the location of this year’s rainbow will be announced August 6th.

Kramhúsið hosts a workshop called ‘YOUR MAKEUP IS TERRIBLE’ where Gógó Starr, the reigning Drag Queen of Iceland, fixes your busted mug—and if there’s anyone who knows about fixing busted mugs, it’s Gógó. There are only ten tickets available, and you need to understand Icelandic—as well as the obvious need for fierceness.

Other events include a workshop at Safnahúsið called ‘Dance Like Everyone’s Watching,’ geared towards finding your individual freedom through movement. The national queer organisation of Iceland, Samtökin ’78, celebrates its 40th birthday with an outdoor exhibition on Skólavörðustígur, detailing their 40-year struggle. The lecture programme is rich and varied, including talks about masculinity and queerness, and ‘Rainbow Schools,’ which will examine how the school system can be more accepting for queer (and all) pupils. A Queer Literature Walking Tour will start from the Reykjavík City Library at 7pm on Wednesday August 8th.

Jonathan Duffy will perform a Pride edition of his stand-up show ‘I Wouldn’t Date Me Either’ at Tjarnarbíó, hilariously describing gay dating culture in Iceland. In the same venue you’ll find ‘Coming Clean,’ a play about growing up gay in Milwaukee and moving to New York.

Bears at sea

If you just want to have some fun, there’s many ways to do just that. Geiri Smart hosts the opening ceremony pre-party, where you can eat, drink, and listen to a superb DJ, with buses to the ceremony afterwards.

There’s also a Queer Cruise that departs August 10th at 21:00 (show up early) from Elding in the old harbour. You might see a whale or two, and definitely a few bears. The nautical theme continues at the Shore Leave Dance at Kiki at 22:00.

And remember, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?

Reykjavík Pride is happening all around the city from August 7-12th. Find the full programme at

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