From Iceland — Grapevine Events: Culture Night, Swim-in Cinema & So Much More

Grapevine Events: Culture Night, Swim-in Cinema & So Much More

Published August 18, 2023

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Can you believe what date it is? How are we already more than halfway through 2023? It seems like yesterday that August still felt like a holiday, the lazy hazy days just lolling away with not a care in the world. But here we are, zooming through the climate crisis and human rights violations with many cares about the state of the world. But the good news is that there’s great events over the coming week to keep our spirits lifted! Be kind to each other out there in the chaos.

Don’t forget to check out our events site for even more options!

Culture Night

Saturday August 19 — All day, all over Reykjavík

It may be out of order but we’re not gonna bury the lead, because this Saturday is Culture Night! Although “night” is right there in the name (Menningarnótt in the native tongue), it’s actually an all-day and all-night city-wide celebration of Reykjavík’s birthday, while also saying goodbye to the summer and welcoming back the dark nights. Covering culture of all brow levels, there are literally over 400 events happening across Reykjavík! That’s crazy!

A few that popped out to us are the full takeover of Hafnarhús by Art Without Borders, the iconic DIY punk block party at R6013, a massive Street Food Fair in Hljómskálagarðurinn, a guided journey of perfume over at Fischersund’s dissection of a scent, and the soft-launch of the Upprásin concert series at Harpa. Or you can just walk through town eating free waffles and chatting with the neighbours! The whole thing ends with a big fireworks show and sightings of first-time-drunk teenagers. You can find the whole programme, map of street closures and practical information on the city’s website. Happy culturing! RX

Whale Gala

Friday August 18 — Whales of Iceland — 20:00 — Free

This Friday, the creative community gets together at the Whales of Iceland museum to celebrate the life of 150 whales that would have been killed if this year’s hunt hadn’t been suspended. The Gala starts at 20:00, but for everyone interested there’ll be an art exhibition and a whale film festival starting at 16:00. The evening music programme includes GDRN, Högni, Inspector Spacetime, Ólöf Arnalds, Ragnheiður Gröndal, Sigríður Thorlacius and an FM Belfast DJ-set. Sounds like a whale of time! IZ

Post-Punk & Darkwave Night with DJ Melerito de Jeré

Friday August 18 — 12 Tónar — 21:00 — Free

If you’re a lover of the sun and heat and things that say “summer”, it sure has been a cruel one. But if you’re a photosensitive, sun-allergic, nightcrawler, it’s been delightfully grim. Up-and-coming DJ Melerito de Jeré lands in the former but will embrace the latter on Friday with an eclectic mix of obscure, rare darkwave and post-punk delights, bringing a groovy gothy dancefloor to 12 Tónar. Diverging from his signature array of avant-garde post-club electronic sets, Melerito will release the bats and harsher the boys. Throw on some black glitter and go dance. RX

Two Nights of Arto Lindsay

August 18 & 19 — Mengi — 19:30 — 5.000 ISK per night, 8.000 ISK for both

New York has always been one of the main arteries of cutting-edge music, and Arto Lindsay was among those emerging from the ‘70s experimental scene. A wildly prolific musician with a distinctive gentle voice, he came to prominence with his no wave band DNA and his CV just unfurled from there. He will hold court for a two-night extravaganza of experimental music and poetics with some close friends, including his local besties Skúli Sverrisson and Ólöf Arnalds, and celebrated Canadian-Icelandic poet Anne Carson. RX

Hamraborg Festival

August 23 – 30 — Hamraborg, Kópavogur — Multiple events, free of charge

Ever walk into a convenience shop and wonder why there’s no experimental art installation? Confused why there’s never a performance artist at your local video lottery casino? Craving a side of punk rock with your plokkfiskur? All these questions and yearnings will be solved by the Hamraborg Festival! Taking place for the third year in the centre of Kópavogur’s old town centre turns the mundane into the magical, making everything a venue for great art. The programme is packed with exhibitions, happenings, and parties, and will give you a new appreciation for this charming suburb. RX

RIFF Swim-In Cinema

Friday August 25 — Laugardalslaug — 19:00 — 4.890 ISK

The Reykjavík International Film Festival doesn’t get started until September 28, and this event isn’t until August 25 — meaning we should be featuring it in next week’s event roundup — but tickets are on sale now and it sounds so cool, so we’d be remiss if we slept on it for a week only for it to be sold out.

RIFF fans are familiar with the festival’s fan-favourite swim-in movie screening nights. In honour of the festival’s 20th year and the reopening of the bleachers at Laugardalslaug, the festival team is erecting a massive 100 square metre screen for al fresco filmgoers to enjoy the 2012 Oscar-winning flick Life Of Pi. If sitting on bleachers — albeit historic  bleachers that haven’t been sat on for decades — doesn’t sound “swim-in” enough for you, then suit up and enjoy the film from the warmth of the hot tubs, or grab a seat in one of the row boats (like from the movie!) floating in the massive pool.

The whole party will be augmented by dancers, food trucks, a light show and live music from Teitur Magnússon and Dísa Jakobs. The legendary Björgvin Gíslason will be rocking on the sitar. CF

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