From Iceland — What could have been better about Iceland Airwaves 2010 and why!

What could have been better about Iceland Airwaves 2010 and why!

Published November 11, 2010

What could have been better about Iceland Airwaves 2010 and why!

Hate brings out the best in people. Or at least in writers. You know that. Bad reviews are so much more fun to read than the good ones. LOL. So we thought that aside from asking our Airwaves team to pick their favourite performances at Iceland Airwaves 2010, we should also ask them to tell us ‘What could have been better about Iceland Airwaves 2010, and why’. Their responses follow.
An oversimplification of taste by Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir
There was a tendency on the part of the festival organisers to group together “likeminded” bands on the venue line-ups, resulting—in particular—in mostly all the Icelandic bands being scheduled together. This approach was something of an oversimplification of taste, I think; people are not such sticks in the genre-mud. If the festival can’t convince people to venture outside their perceived ‘comfort zones’, I think it ought to trick them into doing so. By having more diverse line-ups.
MORE ROCK AND ROLL PLEASE by Anna Margrét Björnsson
I found Airwaves pretty well organised this year, and the PR machine was running very smoothly. However, there were a few things that needed improvement. Firstly I found the line-ups at times very schizophrenic and not particularly well thought out.  I also found the musical spectrum a bit limited with regards to the international bands.  I would have liked to see more diversity and more of an adventurous spirit. More rock and roll.
The weather by Wiebke Wolter
Someone needs to talk about the weather and that’s me. I mean, it was totally sunny before the festival; I could count the rainy days of the last two months on my two hands. The minute the festival started it began to rain, so I had to stand in the drizzle in front of the venues waiting to get in. Totally uncool. The day Airwaves was over, the weather changed again; it was cold – all right – but sunny and dry. I demand rain-free Airwaves 2011! Come on people, dream with me here.
The photographers by Florian Zühlke
One thing that I got a little angry about was the sheer amount of photographers, which was especially crap at smaller concerts. Sometimes you had more photographers in front of the stage than audience members. And they stayed there for the whole show – or switched with newly arrived colleagues. Of course the festival has to be documented in their pictures, but this gave me the feeling it restrained people from dancing and cheering (and, in some cases, being unable to see the band). At many other festivals, there is a rule that photographers are allowed to take photos of a band for the first three songs performed. Applying that for Airwaves would be dope!
Sound and punctuality by Bob Cluness
The first thing would be the sound quality: only about 60% of the music I head sounded great. The rest was either badly mixed or just too loud to appreciate. From the sound engineers to the bands themselves, most of them need to get a crash course in producing decent sound in a venue before they ruin our ears once and for all. Secondly: the punctuality at the off-venue places. My time is money… literally. I missed so much music because bands and venues couldn’t get their arses together and start when they were supposed to. Get it right next year!
Metal middle finger – Bogi Bjarnason
As always, Airwaves gave the middle finger to Metal. Have you ever heard of Rolo Tomassi? Neither have I.
Among rumours of Cathedral, Immortal and even the mighty Mastodon, we end up with a bunch of limey teenagers with a keyboard obsession. This might be the reason metalheads don’t buy Airwaves tickets, and consequently the Kerrang!-cum-Metal Hammer nights lack any kind of a respectable attendance. 
At least a few years ago Airwaves delivered Gojira, but probably only because they were cheap (or free) and not yet popular at the time. 
Everything and nothing by Sindri Eldon
What could have been better about Airwaves? Hmmm… everything and nothing. It was it was, and everything could always be a little better or a lot worse. I don’t mean to wax philosophical all of a sudden, but every music festival has its own special pros and cons, and Airwaves is no exception. Some things I think could have been better were:
    First of all, this shit is getting WAY too expensive. Fifteen thousand? We could almost buy our own ship for that.
Bands should have mixed up more, genre-wise, and for the last fucking time, DON’T PUT ALL THE BIG ACTS IN THE SAME VENUE ON THE SAME NIGHT. Seriously, no offence to all the garage bands out there (I was in one of them), but we can see local kids any time of the year we want for free, so spreading the foreign headliners around a bit might be a good idea.
Everything, period by Kári Tulinius
Everything. Does “everything” count as an answer? No? Then, to give a short list, the following should have been better: 1) The few rock bands I saw all suffered from terrible sound mixing, generally overpoweringly loud drums that drowned out everything else. 2) Dance music was treated as a complete afterthought, largely getting stuck in venues where dancing isn’t possible. 3) Poor, unimaginative scheduling. As far as I can tell the entire festival was planned on the principle “this bunch of bands is vaguely similar, let’s all put them in the same place,” with no thought given to how to build momentum or atmosphere
Apótekið, in a word by Eimear Fitzgerald
In a word, Apótekið. The selection of this venue as the base for all dance/weirdcore/electronica acts just boggled the mind. Aside from its plain bizarre atmosphere, placing the stage at the slimmest part of its dumbbell shaped layout, which is also where the bar is, did nothing but invite overcrowding and frustration to the extent that I just gave up and left on several occasions, even though I was enjoying the music. There’s all this empty space at either end that sure, you can go and sit in – if you enjoy the feeling of watching all the fun from your seat in the morgue! Please, PLEASE Mr. Airwaves, do us all a favour and don’t inflict this venue upon us next year.
I… don’t know! by Anna Andersen
Well, apart from the rain… I really don’t know. As a newbie to Airwaves, I thought it went pretty well. I noticed a monstrous line outside of Iðnó to see Lay Low and Seabear. Perhaps these big names should have been assigned a bigger venue. Or perhaps all the more famous bands should not have been stacked one after the other at the same venues (NASA on Friday night). Some random, chaotic programming might have been fun, which would have had people dashing about town from venue to venue, but then again…it was raining and that might have contributed to more inefficient lines. 
Greedy venues by Bergrún Anna Hallsteinsdóttir
Airwaves is a great festival, but like all great things, it can always be better. Next year (however naive this may sound) I would hope to see that NASA won’t be greedy capitalists who charge people for drinking water and create waste with their stupid plastic NASA water bottles. Secondly, though I would probably not frequent it myself, I hope that the ‘dance’ venue will be somewhere with a dance floor, not a three metre strip between the bar and the stage where dancers have to contend with those trying to buy drinks and vice versa
Check out the super Grapevine Review Team’s ‘Best shows of Airwaves 2010’ here.

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