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

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

Published October 25, 2012

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

Dear Grapevine,

I’ve heard rumours that getting into the more well-known bands’ shows will be really difficult and I may have to wait in line for a long time. Is this true? I’m just trying to see as much music as possible and don’t want to spend all my time in line. Any advice?

Nervous Nelly

Hey Nelly,

Hmm… I don’t know how I feel about all this rumour spreading! Mainly because it’s not quite complete. Fact is you might have to wait for a while in line for ALL the shows! The festival organisers have been doing their best in the last couple of years to solve this but given the nature and size of the thing, it’s a pretty hard beast to tame!

The other thing is that there is no guarantee which bands, well-known or not, will end up being big attractions – sometimes a little indie band gets some big internet buzz seconds before their Airwaves gig and everyone and their iPhone decide it’s the place to be. Meanwhile, GusGus plays to a crowd of twenty! (Okay I’m clearly lying there…) My point is that there will be lines and they can’t be avoided.

If you really don’t want to spend any time in any line ups, show up very early to one venue and stay there and don’t go outside to smoke or buy food. Or have someone out scouting the exterior of other venues to tell you when they are line free and then RUN. Or you know, just be really lucky and cool!


So, I hear chicks in Iceland are, like, totally up for it. Any tips for meeting an Icelandic honey?


Oy! Again with the rumours. I don’t know who told you this, NordicRim69 (if that is your real name, or if that’s your signature “move”), but let’s set things right here.

The lore about the Icelandic female libido was marketed by a certain airline which shall remain unnamed that decided to cash in on the North Atlantic island mentality of self-preservation and immediate gratification. Icelanders are a pretty unreserved and outgoing people, sexually speaking, because this country is cold and sparsely populated and the threat of volcanic extinction or drowning in a fishing accident loom constantly so fuck it, let’s fuck, and if we have a baby that’s fine and if we get chlamydia we have socialised health care! But it’s not like you’re walking into a country of panty-less fawning nymphomaniacs who are just waiting, no, DYING to have sex with you. Not even close. Such a place only exists in the world of Asterix and Obelix!

Look, just be nice, be cool, be polite, be fun, have good hygiene and manners and, as corny as it sounds, be yourself. (Protip: this kind of behaviour is appreciated in all places, by all genders and sexualities.) Maybe you’ll meet someone really adorable and available who will recognise all these nice qualities you have and will want to play tonsil-hockey with you.


I know it’s going to be cold in Reykjavík, so I’m bringing a jacket. But once inside the moshpit I don’t want to be sweating bullets. How can I find a balance between staying warm outside and sweat management inside?

Sweaty Boy

Dear Sweaty Boy,

Apparel sure does seem to be a big question for a lot of people this year. I answered someone’s fashion woes in the first installment of this column, but this brings up an important point: most venues in Iceland do not have a coat-check!

I would like to officially go on the record right here, once and for all, and say that this is crazy and unacceptable and I won’t stand for it much longer. Seriously – it really is a nuisance to go out in the cold months (which are nearly all of them here) and be burdened with your massive clump of winter gear. You end up having to hold onto it in your hands, find some sketchy hiding spot where your shit is likely to get robbed or you just end up wearing it all night and, yes, being very sweaty.

Harpa has coat-check. Laugardalshöllin has coat-check. The Reykjavík Art Museum has a few lockers and common coat-racks. Iðnó may possibly have some common coat-racks, maybe not. Anywhere else, here are your options:

– Wear the heavy coat over a lighter shirt. Carry, hide or wear said coat inside.

– Layer a variety of shirts over each other. Remove and tie them around your waist as needed.

– Get off-your-tits drunk, forget your coat somewhere, party hard!


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

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Festival Central
A Fishing Warehouse Comes Alive

A Fishing Warehouse Comes Alive


Show Me More!