From Iceland — Harpa: The Safe Option

Harpa: The Safe Option

Published November 8, 2014

Saskia Vallendar
Photo by
Matthew Eisman

Those Airwaves venues: they’re scattered around the downtown Reykjavík area, just a few minutes walking distance from one another. But if it is raining, snowing, hailing or you have no idea what you want to see, Harpa might be your best option.

The music mall

The Harpa concert hall has been part of  Iceland Airwaves  for three years now. It’s big, it’s warm and you have options. The entire building dedicates three rooms to Airwaves: Kaldalón, Silfurberg and Norðurljós. If KRAKKKBOT’s electronic drone-y doom, beats and noise were too much to handle, you could for instance catch UK singer , songwriter and guitarist Anna Calvi at Silfurberg. But if you’re more in the mood to listen to Vök’s low key electronic melodies and singing, all you have to do is walk to the next room. Harpa gives you options all night long and you don’t have to leave the building and deal with the weather outside. I like that.

The safe option for Airwaves veterans

I met an older Airwaves veteran couple (attending for their tenth year now!) at Húrra on Thursday during the Ojba Rasta set. They did not seem to be feeling the reggae beats, honestly. After a short chat, they said that for them, it is far more comfortable being at Harpa. They enjoy music and have been for the past ten years, however, having reached the geriatric stage, they have no interest in standing around in long queues outside, or arriving at gigs and realize the music sucks. “Now that we’re a bit older, we don’t need that much excitement. Last year we spent the entire Airwaves at Harpa and it was great! There will always be something we can or want to see in one of the three rooms.” They had spent the whole of Wednesday night at Harpa and decided to be more adventurous on Thursday by trying a few different venues. “Tonight was not too great. We feel a bit out of place here and we are too old to jump from venue to venue. It is too chaotic for us,” they said. They shortly left after our conversation, noting they would spend the entire next day at Harpa.

So it seems like Harpa is not only the place to be when the weather is bad or you have no clue what you want to see.It is also for those Airwaves veterans that have just come to enjoy a more sophisticated night of music.


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