Discover the annual Iceland Airwaves music festival | Icelandair
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From November 7 to 9, 2024, Iceland Airwaves is back to rock Reykjavík!

November is one of our favorite times of the year: Airwaves time! We invite all music lovers to come join us.

Iceland Airwaves is a long-running annual music festival held across venues in Reykjavík. Over the years it's showcased hundreds of acts, ranging from established international talent to Iceland's rich melting pot of domestic rising stars.

As founding sponsors of Iceland Airwaves over 20 years ago, we're proud to be involved in the amazing events that are a trademark of Airwaves. Don't just take our word for it: NME and The Independent gave 2022's festival five stars, and Rolling Stone magazine described it as 'An essential trip for music lovers across the continent. When paired with the natural beauty and magic of Reykjavik, it becomes near unmissable.'

Come and experience the magic they're talking about.

Over 3 days and nights, downtown Reykjavík comes alive, filled non-stop with music. Performances are hosted everywhere from tiny record stores and art museums, to cool bars and stately churches, to nightclubs and large-scale venues. The venues are all within walking distance of each other. 

The first lineup announcement for 2024 is in the works – in the meantime, check out last year's festival highlights.

The 2023 lineup

International highlights included much-loved indie outfit Bombay Bicycle Club, minimalist rock outfit Yard Act, South Korean collective Balming Tiger, the LA-based, New York-born musician Blondshell, Brighton’s Lime Garden, industrial post-punk band Squid, Irish garage punks Sprints, Franco-American brothers Faux Real, Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf, Montreal group Ghostly Kisses, and more.

Local artists included Icelandic sensation Daði Freyr, industrial techno punk-rock and stage performance legends Hatari, homegrown rapper extraordinaire GKR, heartfelt singer-songwriter meets captivating indie-folk Spotify superstar Axel Flóvent, mesmerizing singer-songwriter JFDR, and folk-pop local chart topper Elín Hall, among others.

You can investigate all the artists at the official Iceland Airwaves website, and dig deeper thanks to Airwaves' official Spotify playlists.

Over 3 days and nights, downtown Reykjavík comes alive, filled non-stop with music. Performances are hosted everywhere from tiny record stores and art museums, to cool bars and stately churches, to nightclubs and large-scale venues. The venues are all within walking distance of each other. 

The first lineup announcement for 2024 is in the works – in the meantime, check out last year's festival highlights.

The 2023 lineup

International highlights included much-loved indie outfit Bombay Bicycle Club, minimalist rock outfit Yard Act, South Korean collective Balming Tiger, the LA-based, New York-born musician Blondshell, Brighton’s Lime Garden, industrial post-punk band Squid, Irish garage punks Sprints, Franco-American brothers Faux Real, Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf, Montreal group Ghostly Kisses, and more.

Local artists included Icelandic sensation Daði Freyr, industrial techno punk-rock and stage performance legends Hatari, homegrown rapper extraordinaire GKR, heartfelt singer-songwriter meets captivating indie-folk Spotify superstar Axel Flóvent, mesmerizing singer-songwriter JFDR, and folk-pop local chart topper Elín Hall, among others.

You can investigate all the artists at the official Iceland Airwaves website, and dig deeper thanks to Airwaves' official Spotify playlists.

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Every year we put together packages to fly music fans from around the world to Reykjavík to join the Iceland Airwaves party.

2024 packages will soon be released – in the meantime, you can get an idea of what to expect from 2023's packages.

We offer packages from our gateways in North America and Europe that include 3-day festival pass and round-trip flights, with hotel-inclusive packages available.

Block out your calendar for early November. See you in Reykjavík!

From North America

Iceland Airwaves packages from the USA.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Canada.

From Europe

Iceland Airwaves packages from the UK.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Ireland.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Belgium (in Dutch).

Iceland Airwaves packages from Belgium (in French).

Iceland Airwaves packages from Denmark.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Finland.

Iceland Airwaves packages from France.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Germany.

Iceland Airwaves packages from the Netherlands.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Norway.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Sweden.

Iceland Airwaves packages from Switzerland (in German).

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Since its humble debut in 1999, Iceland Airwaves has not only become the leading music festival in Iceland, it has also established itself as a champion of new music and a significant event on the global music stage.

Whether you’re new to Iceland Airwaves or a seasoned pro, if you plan on joining the party, there are a few things you should know. Take a look at our insider’s guide for some top tips on how to have as much fun as possible during the festival.

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Warm-ish clothing Reykjavík can be cold in November, but not so cold you’ll need to wear thick down jackets and moon boots; just bring what you would normally wear for the season. The main problem you’ll have to deal with is getting too hot once you’re inside. The events take place in a number of different locations in the downtown area and not all the venues will offer a cloakroom service. The best solution is to bring a warm, light coat you can easily tie around your waist, or a nice tote you can stuff your coat in. Also, a coat in a tote makes a good buffer for comfort in crowded places.

Note! If you think you’ll have time for adventures in the great outdoors, then by all means bring your walking shoes and plenty of layers and waterproofs. Don’t forget to ditch the Hyvent and Gore-Tex for your glad rags, though, once you get back to civilization. Still, it's best to leave the high heels at home – you want comfy, sturdy footwear, and November sidewalks can be slippery.

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Fanny packs (bumbags) These are great for festivals, and thanks to a mashup of normcore, dadcore and some other “core” trends, they no longer look dorky if you wear them around your shoulder.

Earplugs Your daily dose of decibels will go through the roof during this festival, so if you care about your hearing, invest in some decent earplugs. They might also help you get some sleep if you’re staying in downtown Reykjavík.

Beer Alcohol is notoriously expensive in Iceland, so stock up at duty-free as you arrive at Keflavík airport. To save money, locals tend to start the party at home or the hotel before they hit the nightlife.

Hangover cure Bring Alka-Seltzer (they don’t sell it in Iceland). In case you forget and are in need of the next best thing, head to the nearest apótek (pharmacy) and ask for something called Treo.

Image credit: Amyl & the Sniffers, Iceland Airwaves 2022. Photo by Keira Lindgren.,

What app?

If there is one available, get the Airwaves app. It lists the full festival schedule and bios of all the bands performing and you can use it to create your own schedules. It has a map of the venues and more. Note: there wasn't an app produced for the 2022 festival.

Barhopp (from the App Store) is an app that lists all happy hours at Reykjavík bars. It’s a great money-saving tool for economic drinkers.

Online resources

It's good to know that winter conditions in Iceland can stretch from September to April (don't worry, it's definitely not all storms!). Here are some resources to check out, and learn what to expect.

safetravel.is – a project of the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue.

vedur.is – the website of the Icelandic Met Office weather and aurora forecasts.

road.is – the official source for information on road conditions, if you're getting out of town.

timeanddate.com – a handy place to see sunrise and sunset times, and how many hours of daylight you can enjoy. Look for twilight times too, when there is some light but the sun is below the horizon.

Image credit: The Flaming Lips, Iceland Airwaves 2014. Photo by Matthew Eisman.,

Avoiding the queues

The best way to avoid the queues is to either get there early or get an Airwaves Plus ticket upgrade, which allows you priority access to venues (among other special festival privileges and some discounts with festival partners).

You can also check with the event’s social media, which give regular updates on how busy venues are and whether or not there are queues.

Explore

Iceland Airwaves is all about discovering new music, so don’t be afraid to go off-piste a bit. Walk, or run (depending on the weather) between the venues and let chance lead you to some new audio dynamite.

Off-venues

Live music sounds from the most unlikely places during Airwaves, with coffee shops, bookstores and even clothing shops getting in on the action. While the official venues are where the main action takes place, most of the artists also play at the off-venues, usually with stripped-down acoustic sets.

Image credit: Laufey at Fríkirkjan, Iceland Airwaves 2022. Photo by Julie Van Den Burgh.,

The atmosphere during this three-day festival is loaded with energy, so you’ll definitely need a place to unwind. Here’s where Iceland’s geothermal pools come in handy.

Swimming pool culture is huge in Iceland and there’s a pool in every district of Reykjavík, and no shortage of fancy lagoons too. The closest pool in the downtown area is Sundhöllin.

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Look up!

The darker the nights, the brighter the lights! With darkness being crucial for northern lights hunting, November brings opportunities to see the impressive aurora borealis in Iceland.

You can’t be in 10 places at once

When it’s all over you can’t help feeling like you’ve missed something, and then you hear about what happened here and there and realize maybe you have. Don’t feel bad, though; hearing and sharing your experience with people is all part of the fun.

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Iceland Airwaves collaborates with Keychange, a global network and movement fighting for a sustainable, gender-balanced music industry. You can take the same approach and embrace the spirit of discovery, supporting all manner of artists outside your usual comfort zone!

Iceland Airwaves is all about discovery. Whether it’s hometown heroes or something entirely new, around every corner your favorite new band might be playing – you just don’t know it yet.

Image credit: Crowd photo, Iceland Airwaves 2022. Photo by Alexander Matukhno.



Text by Lisa Gail Shannen.
Captioned photos courtesy of Iceland Airwaves.

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Iceland is globally recognised as punching above its weight on the world music stage, and we're proud of the role we play in nurturing and showcasing local talent. Icelandair founded the Iceland Airwaves music festival in 1999, and today we sponsor a number of music, design, and arts events.

We're the founding sponsor of Iceland Airwaves, and we support The Icelandic Music Experiments, a 'battle of the bands' type event for young musicians. We also make a point of playing only Icelandic music on board our aircraft.

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Iceland Airwaves was first held in an airplane hangar in 1999, with the goal of emphasizing grassroots acts, up-and-coming artists from around the world, and a few established headliners. Originally, the philosophy behind the festival was to showcase Icelandic music to the worldwide press, but also to increase tourists to Iceland outside the traditional peak season of summer. So, a winter festival was no coincidence.

Iceland Airwaves has since grown to a permanent and sought-after fixture on the Icelandic cultural calendar and draws thousands to Reykjavík every year.

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Does Iceland sound like falling rain? Like wind in the winter? Like birdsong in the summer? Or just like a dreamy travel destination?

We ask the question 'How does Iceland sound?' to many of the Icelandic musicians involved in the Live from Reykjavík events of 2021 and 2020 (when covid denied us the full festival experience, so we turned Airwaves into a global livestream event).

Their answers might surprise you. (Hint: Weather plays a large part.)

When we say we are proud founding sponsors of Iceland Airwaves, this is exactly what we mean: we're proud sponsors of creativity, natural wonder, and the spirit of Iceland.