From Iceland — Freewaves: The Best Off-Venues For The Wristbandless This Weekend

Freewaves: The Best Off-Venues For The Wristbandless This Weekend

Published November 4, 2016

Ciarán Daly
Photo by
Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir

Airwaves! What’s it all about? Well, music, for a start. Other things, too, like drinking. Drinking isn’t free, and musicians need to eat—and if you’re a total cheapskate, you might not have money for music or beer.

But wait, what’s that I hear in the distance? Music, not from Harpa! Music, in the streets! Music, in the library! Music, to my ears! Thanks to the power of Airwaves, you don’t need to pay for a wristband at all to show up to the party. Airwaves laid a sound egg, and it hatched into a beautiful baby called: “the off-venue.”

Off-venues are everywhere in Reykjavík, and they’re the common man’s chance to get a taste of the wonder of Airwaves as most musicians will also play at least one free off-venue show. Before the main events kick off at Harpa in the evening, the days are dominated by the off-venue. So if you’re ticketless, you owe it to yourself to spend all of your time at these shows, you stingy bastard.

So, take your protein pills and put your daytime beer helmet on—here’s the best of the free this weekend.

Bergstaðastræti 1

An institution of Reykjavík nightlife for decades, Kaffibarinn’s off-venue lineup this Airwaves does not disappoint. Friday to Saturday sees the old warhorse being taken over by Bedroom Community. Highlights include aYia, perhaps the stand-out newcomers of Airwaves who deserve all the praise they get; Sexy Lazer, Sonur Sæll, and DJ Katla will meanwhile be taking us deep into the night (until 4:30, at least) on both Friday and Saturday. Sunday does not have much going on across the festival, which makes it the perfect day to head to Kaffibarinn for the BRNLV PARTY (feat. Mat Riviere, Crispin Best, and Kira Kira, among others); later, BLOKK PARTY will see you through to the end of Airwaves, with Simon Fknhndsm playing us out.

Kaffi Vínyl
Hverfisgata 76

Airwaves marks the 1st birthday of Vínyl, which has already hosted some stellar performances from dj flúgvél og geimskip and Fufanu. Who really stands out, though, are ULTRAORTHODOX, who will warp our minds at 1700 with his evil brand of bass noir electronics, and BÖRN, who are making a rare appearance at 1600 on Saturday to grace us with their intense feminist death punk. These two acts alone make Vínyl an off-venue worth visiting, but the café will also host sets from Sir Dancelot & Ravenator; Teitur; and Eardoctor.

Bankastræti 7

Loft Hostel has one of the coolest bars (and balconies) in Reykjavík, and their off-venue line-up doesn’t disappoint either. Dream Wife will be playing later today along with THROWS, Realms, Strange Fruit, and Meltybrains?, and tomorrow JFDR (singer for Gangly, Pascal Pinon, and Samaris) will be treating us to some of her ethereal solo work. Sunday is a highlight, with Sofar Sounds taking over Loft from 1530 onwards with Blindur, The Living Arrows, Owls of the Swamp, and Ceasetone. Get down! Well, metaphorically speaking—it’s upstairs, in a loft.

Hitt Húsið
Pósthússtræti 3-5

Normally a youth center, Hitt Húsið is smack-bang in the middle of downtown and has already played host to some unique events this week such as pop-up punk yoga. It’s this weekend that things get really interesting though—today sees performances from 1500 onwards from a broad international lineup that includes Sleeping Minds, Morning Bear, Andy Hates Us, Omotrack, Wayward, Sacha Bernardson, Amber, and more. Similarly, tomorrow they will host VAR, The Anatomy of Frank, Deer Daniel, The Living Arrows, and Gringlombian.

But wait, there’s more! Click here for the full off-venue schedule this weekend for all your free wristbandless fun!

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