Published October 29, 2014

Festivus for the rest-of-us

Melissa Coci
Photo by
Michelle Schaffer
Jimmy Baikovicius
Flickr user BestKevin

Festivus for the rest-of-us

In Iceland, some lies are ok, or even border on essential. Little, sweet ones, like, “oh yeah I’ve heard of your shitty experimental band, you guys are cool,” or “I would love to eat that whale dish you’ve prepared for me, but I’m vegetarian.” As Airwaves descends upon Reykjavík, I find myself lying all the time. A forced smile is perma-plastered on my face as my friends and colleagues talk non-stop about what bands they’ll see, where they’ll party, how great everything is going to be, etc., etc. If I am in a jovial mood, I will add in a feeble “Yeah!”

But you know what? In reality, I hate music festivals. If, like me, you are being dragged along to Airwaves in the name of ‘fun’, please take heed of my essential tips.

Alcohol is overrated—stay sober

I don’t understand why people like alcohol, especially at a festival. I could write a book on the subject, but let me highlight some key points:

  • How is it enjoyable to spend a ridiculous amount of money to force an uncomfortable amount of bad tasting liquid down your throat? I thought people paid professionals to do that.
  • Said liquid then makes you need to urinate approximately every five minutes. And this goes against rule number one of ancient festival lore: “avoid the toilets at all costs—unless you’re looking to develop PTSD”.
  • Said toilet going makes you miss your favourite acts. After you factor in the time it will take you to get to the toilet, line up to use one, then cleanse other festivalgoers’ waste off your shoes, you may as well have just gotten a hot dog over at Bæjarins beztu.
  • Alcohol makes you feel dizzy and nauseous. Couple this with being surrounded by idiots, and you have yourself a shitty situation.
Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius

Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius

Drunken people are dickheads. Avoid them

People at festivals are annoying enough when they’re sober. Throw in alcohol and prepare for your hate to festoon immensely. Drunken festivalgoers forget they are not the only ones there to have a good time. They will spill their drink on you without even realising (fun tip—give them a hard shove in the back if they do this, they won’t notice, but it’ll make you feel slightly better). Worst of all, drunk punters are wont to strike up conversation with you.

Festivals make it difficult to get away from these drunkards. I recommend sticking to the peripheries of crowds at all times, so there is always an escape path. I come from Australia, so usually drunks at a festival end up getting heat stroke and pass out pretty early on. Sadly, the sun will not be making an appearance at Iceland Airwaves.


As a female of quite small stature, at concerts and festivals I am seen as ‘non-threatening’, and seem to always be standing in a makeshift thoroughfare. No matter where I move, people see me and immediately surmise that they can easily push me aside and make their way through the crowd. Usually, this is prefaced with an apologetic ‘excuse me’, which does not lessen my hate the slightest.

When at a festival in Iceland, the pushing, touching and imposing on personal space hits a whole new level. Shoving is all par for the course, whether in a ‘mosh pit’ or not. There is no way to avoid this. As such, I suggest you buy yourself a nice pair of knuckle-dusters and push back (just joking, I think).

Say goodbye to your self-esteem

Musicians have a certain “je ne sais quoi,” which makes them appear ridiculously good-looking.  I mean, just ask Mick Hucknall from Simply Red. He certainly ain’t no oil painting but apparently bed three women a day in his “wild years.” Umm, what?!

Photo by Flickr user BestKevin

Photo by Flickr user BestKevin

At festivals, with each act I feel my self-esteem getting increasingly lower until I feel like a sub par human with no talents/skills or redeemable features.

Also, this is an Icelandic festival so if you usually get this way you can pretty much expect to magnify these feelings three fold thanks to the unbelievably good genes of this isolated island.

I hate you all.



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