I will come right out and say it: I have been in love with the Iceland Airwaves festival ever since I was a teenager. There’s just something about it. Something in the air. I can’t really define it. I guess it’s some kind of amalgam of all the excited musicians gallivanting around town, the way Reykjavík fills up with new and interesting folks, the non-stop barrage of excellent concert action. And all the drinking, too, but of course.
Thinking about it, I feel that maybe the Iceland Airwaves festival’s main appeal has something to do with all the fun, love and solidarity that seems to permeate the air. It feels like everyone sporting those wristbands has some sort of special bond over the course of those five days. Thousands of total strangers take over 101 Reykjavík with the shared and mutual goal of experiencing as much excellent music as they can in the least amount of time possible. Of discovering something new, and reconnecting with something old. Of having a good time.
Yeah, that’s me. I like solidarity and bonding and shared goals, love and fun. Those are all great things.
And sadly, those are all things that have been all too absent from Iceland over the last two years. In conversation with my uncle Gummi the other day, we reached the conclusion that our once proud nation was handling this whole ECONOMIC COLLAPSE thing with as little grace as possible. There is no solidarity. There are no shared, common goals. There is no love.
There is plenty of finger-pointing in all directions. There is plenty of hate and spite. There is lust for vengeance and retribution. There is an unbridled guarding of self-interest.
Reading the local discourse one starts feeling like the nation of Iceland is comprised of several small interest groups that have absolutely nothing in common with one another, no shared memories past, or goals, no common interest, no lineage. It’s like we don’t even speak the same language. It’s like we are totally unwilling to hear one another.
One even wonders why us 320.000 souls choose to live together on this barren island, if we are indeed so completely alienated from one another. Should we just empty the ashtrays and leave? Pack up our shit and try our luck elsewhere?
Wow. That’s grim. Sorry about that. I hope I’m just being pessimistic. I am sure the Airwaves festival and all the currency-bearing Airwaves tourists will inspire us to love one another once again, to celebrate our shared heritage and to keep on moving forward.
We really need to at this point.
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Posted October 8, 2010