From Iceland — Tips & Tricks From Veterans

Tips & Tricks From Veterans

Published October 30, 2014


In lieu of writing our annual “Guide To Not Losing Your Shit At Iceland Airwaves,” we decided to solicit advice from some of our Airwaves savvy friends. Best of luck out there!

“General rule: If you’re too cold during Airwaves, it means you’re not partying hard enough. Take extra vacation for recuperation, plan out everything in advance including how far apart venues are from each other, and don’t forget to factor in the off-venues. If you want to make sure you get to see all of your favorite bands, I find it helps to make a multi-page spreadsheet and treat it as an optimization problem. Or you could not compete with me to be Queen of the Nerds, I guess it’s your call.”

-Karen Pease, has attended two, soon to be three Airwaves

“Don’t chase popular bands around; you’ll just get caught in a really long line. Pick one venue for the first portion of the night, stick around there for at least two or three bands, then switch to another for the second portion, and maybe switch again even later if you feel so inclined. Be open and receptive to new bands you haven’t heard of.”

-Sindri Eldon, has attended nine Airwaves

“Don’t go to the Blue Lagoon and don’t buy from 10-11. Both are expensive and lame. Instead visit a local swimming pool (1/10 of what you pay for the Blue Lagoon) and shop at Bónus. Use what you save to buy Icelandic music at 12 Tónar, Smekkleysa or Lucky Records!”

-Dr. Gunni, has attended the festival most years

“Every once in a while I’ll get really into a band, and I’ll be kicking myself because I’ll realize that they’d played Airwaves a year or two earlier and I’d missed it because I hadn’t realized at the time how amazing they were (or would become). So I recommend giving yourself *plenty* of time to go through and get acquainted with the festival line-up. Your future self will thank you.

Get out early to the shows. Many of the best bands are playing 7, 8, and 9 pm slots. As the hours wear on and your fellow festivalgoers get sloppy drunk, the atmosphere can get pretty lame. They will shove you instead of walking around you. (Don’t take it personally, welcome to Iceland, we don’t have manners.) They will converse at the top of their lungs over your favorite bands. It will be crowded, hot, and sweaty, and you’ll probably get stuck in a long queue out in the cold and rain trying to get in.”

-Þórir Bogason, has attended four Airwaves

“Don’t drink the Opal and Topas shots unless you want to be sick or lame.”

– Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, has attended nine Airwaves

“Lose all your friends and go rogue. Make new friends and support the local artists performing at the off-venues. Leave your hipster attitude at home and go naked in the Blue Lagoon ;)”

-Krummi, has been there every year except one (he was there when it wasn’t even called Airwaves)

“Don’t stand in the same line for too long. Explore and experiment. And don’t listen to any of the bands online beforehand, it’s a lot more fun to be surprised!!”

-Bowen Staines, has attended nine Airwaves

“Dress in easily convertible layers that don’t require coat-check. You will be freezing outside and boiling inside and there will be few places to stash your jackets. And for the love of crumb cake do not bring big backpacks and purses into venues! Not cool. Fannypacks and pockets = VERY COOL.”

-RX Beckett, has attended five Airwaves

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