As well as the official wristband-required evening schedule, Airwaves concerts happen pretty much all day every day during the festival week. Reykjavík’s city centre is already buzzing with free daytime off-venue shows. This means even if you don’t have an Airwaves wristband you can get still into the festival spirit, and see almost any Icelandic band you want, in a wide range of venues from boats to bars to a barber shop. Print out the schedule or download the festival app, and away you go.
If you want to start early, you can watch shows all day.
For those with a limitless appetite for shows, on most days you could watch music from 13:00 through till 20:00 pretty much every day. Dillon and Lucky Records have squeezed in a huge amount of bands, and there are choice lineups at Kaffibarinn, ODDSSON, Hlemmur Square, and many others.
Some bands will play off-venue only.
There are many artists who’ll only play off-venue shows. Lo-fi trio asdfhg. Are one example, playing Oddsson on Thursday at 19:10, and Kaffi Lækur at 12:00 on Sunday. Kiasmos will only one show: a KEXP off-venue at Kex Hostel on Oct 31. Áslaug of Samaris has a solo project that’s well worth checking out, sometimes performing under the name Slugz. And you should take one of the five off-venue chances to catch art-rap trio Krakk & Spaghettí. That’s still just scratching the surface.
Getting planny could save yourself missing out.
Sometimes you might find that two acts you really want to see are playing at exactly the same time in the evening schedule. If you pick off a few must-sees in the daytime, you can save yourself the headache of choosing between two favourites later.
There are some pretty stellar “branded” lineups tucked away in the schedule.
The KEXP-hosted off-venue at KEX Hostel gets a lot of the biggest names and most promising up-and-comers at Airwaves, but it’s very crowded as a result. There are some other “branded” off-venues you could also check out—for example, The Line Of Best Fit x JFDR off-venue at Loft on Wednesday promises to be great, and Kaffibarinn will host a Bedroom Community day on Saturday. The Nordic House has unplugged lineups every day if you want to soothe your hangover. From 16:15 on Friday, you can catch an intriguing lineup curated by students of the Icelandic Art Academy at Oddsson.
Of boats & barbers.
On Thursday and Friday, the Special Tours company are throwing a fun looking off-venue on a boat called Andrea, docked in the Reykjavík old harbour. Up on Laugavegur, The Quest hair, beer and whisky salon is also hosting off-venue concerts, so you could potentially be a master of multitasking and get a haircut whilst simultaneously having a drink and watching a show.
Some shows aren’t even in the official off-venue schedule. For example, the Stofan Kaffihús—home of Reykjavík’s burgeoning self-proclaimed “Weird Kids” scene—has shows every day. And Grapevine’s exhibition will also host off-off-venue shows at Gallery Port on Wednesday and Thursday. Keep your eyes open, there’s music going on everywhere, and who knows what you’ll stumble upon.
See the full off-venue schedule here.
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