From Iceland — WTF ICELAND AIRWAVES!? Pt. II: Advice for getting through your first (or fifth!) festival experience

WTF ICELAND AIRWAVES!? Pt. II: Advice for getting through your first (or fifth!) festival experience

Published October 8, 2012

WTF ICELAND AIRWAVES!? Pt. II: Advice for getting through your first (or fifth!) festival experience

My husband and I are festival bound this year for the first time and couldn’t be more excited. We have been trying to pick up some simple Icelandic phrases to use, (or at least attempt to use), while there. We’ve searched the web, watched YouTube videos… needless to say it’s a pretty daunting language to grasp. Even “thank you” sounds intense. Can you recommend a good site or phrase book that might help us out?

Thanks in advance!


Dear Jenn,

You already get an A for effort! Truth is though, if you find yourself struggling to even pronounce our standard form of gratitude, you may not want to attempt it at all. Not that I don’t firmly believe you’ve been trying—it’s just that Icelandic is spoken in such a singular way that the novice speaker is frequently not understood. It’s a bummer, I know. Also, since the country will be so totally full of foreigners that week, no one will think a wit less of you for just sticking to your native tongue. It might speed things up in some cases!

That being said, if you insist, the Lonely Planet has a pretty good guide of Scandinavian phrases, Omniglot has a page on their site of practical Iceland phrases along with pronunciation recordings, and of course when you get here, you can pick up the Grapevine for your Kreisí Æcelandic Frase of Þis issue! Takk og gangi þér vel!


My friends are visiting me the weekend of Airwaves but don’t have tickets. Is there any way to sneak them in? If not, what should they do while I’m at Airwaves?



Dear Arit,

I presume your friends didn’t know about Airwaves when they booked their tickets or they sadly came in just under when the festival SOLD OUT! Luckily they won’t feel like complete nitwits when they see the off-venue programming, which is simply astounding this year, if I may say so myself! I’m not the only one saying it actually; see our fancy article with recommendations a few pages ahead.

Sneaking them in is close to impossible (unless you find a wristband on the ground, lucky you!) so they’ll have to fend for themselves when you go to official venues, but otherwise, they can totally enjoy the marvellous feeling that overtakes the city during this festival!


My brain feels like it’s bleeding, my ears are still ringing from last night and this morning I think I woke up next to a Portuguese hooker. Where is the best place to get some nice, greasy food to eat away hangover?



Dear K.,

Good news! That is most likely NOT a hooker lying next to you! The sex industry in all its forms is super-duper illegal here so the only way you have a sex worker next to you is if you’ve gone on the black market. In which case they were probably trafficked and they need your help. Oh man I really hope that’s not the case…

ANYWAY! You need to get yourself what Icelanders appetisingly refer to as “sweaty” food. Mmm. If this is 9 AM we’re talking about, head over to Prikið for their Airwaves Rock & Bacon breakfast, get the Truck with a Bruce Willis shake and listen to some cool tunes. You could also head uphill to the dive-bar goodness that is Vitabar and get the Gleym Mér Ey, one of the best damn blue cheese burgers in town. That place is just caddy-corner to Sundhöll pool too, a one-two punch to K.O. a hangover if there ever was one!


Are you coming over for Airwaves and looking for some protip guidance? Send your questions to and see the answers to them on airwaves.grapev

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