Reykjavík must be one of the most touring-band-starved capital cities in Europe. So, when Airwaves makes an announcement of new performers, few of whom I have heard of (outside of the smattering of Icelandic names), I find myself in the unusual position of thinking: “Yay! I hardly know who ANY of these bands are!”
Because part of the fun of Airwaves—and, in fact, a cornerstone of the festival’s M.O.—is about bringing fresh, emerging music to Iceland. It’s why, for a long time, the festival would sell out year after year without even having what would traditionally be considered a main headliner. The brand of Airwaves has always been very much about saying: “Just trust us. You’re gonna love this.” And trust them we do.
These days, things have evolved—as the festival has grown, so have the big names. We now get the bigger acts like The Knife, The Flaming Lips and—performing this year—PJ Harvey. Of late, Airwaves also includes the odd heritage act, like Kraftwerk, Mercury Rev and The Pop Group. This year, we get searing garage rock pioneers The Sonics.
Even so, the new names are the real lifeblood of Airwaves. So take in the list below. And if many of the names are new to you… that’s a good thing. Airwaves is still a few months off, and it gives us some fun exploration to do in the meantime.
Frankie Cosmos (US)
Jesse Mac Cormack (CA)
The Hearing (FI)
Kevin Morby (US)
The Internet (US)
Show me the body (US)
Let’s Eat Grandma (UK)
Nap Eyes (CA)
Anna Meredith (UK)
Of Monsters and Men
Tickets for Airwaves are on sale here.