Iceland Airwaves – A Music Festival on Volcanoes

A cheering crowd in front of a stage at a music event
A cheering crowd in front of a stage at a music event

Iceland Airwaves took place 4th – 8th of November 2014. Since the first one was held in 1999, Iceland Airwaves has become an annual celebration for local and foreign music lovers.

When you think of Iceland, images of fiery volcanoes, imposing mountains, craggy peaks and vast glaciers come to mind. Iceland also has rich green land, vibrant cities, and farms, but more importantly, it has a rich creative culture that has bound its society together from ancient history to modern times.

Icelandic culture and lifestyle is unique in that it is deeply rooted in ancient heritage. It’s a close-knit, relatively small population with an enterprising spirit, especially when it comes to honing its creative crafts. From writing to painting, to composing and designing, Iceland has a definite creative edge. Iceland is well known for its ancient sagas, such as Egil’s Saga, which go back as far as the 1200s. These days, it is known for its award-winning films and music.

The most recent of these creative waves to hit Iceland was the Airwaves music festival, a yearly event that rocks for five days with a variety of music. This year’s festival was graced by a huge range of sound, from the delicate and rich work of Icelandic Symphony Orchestra to the screaming poetry of Kaelan Mikla. Five days of music in Iceland can barely scratch the surface of what the country has to offer, but it’s certainly a great time.

In fact, the Airwaves line-up held more than just Icelanders. If you found yourself there on the right day, you’d also be able to listen to the cathartic music of the U.S. group Future Islands, the wistful melodies of Norway’s Farao, or the “sound bombs” of Poland’s BNNT.

For five days, this spectacular festival invites artists to perform both on venue and off, rollicking in musical creativity and freedom. 219 bands and their fans from various countries around the world came to Iceland to celebrate. The island may have been a bit crowded for a week, but that’s really what Iceland loves to do: share creative endeavours.

Five Essential Souvenirs from Iceland

The blue water between the lava stones covered with moss just outside The Blue Lagoon Resort
The blue water between the lava stones covered with moss just outside The Blue Lagoon Resort

Iceland is full of exciting adventures waiting for you at every turn.

If you’re going to travel to an exotic destination like Iceland, it’s a good idea to get a souvenir or two. Whether it’s for yourself or someone else, there are some very special things travellers should see (and possibly bring home).

1. Volcanic Jewellery

While volcanoes may not immediately come to mind when thinking about Iceland, appearances can be deceiving. In fact, Iceland has many active volcanoes, and they can be quite disruptive. The country’s famed volcanic glass jewellery, with accents of pure silver, is something you won’t find anywhere else.

2. Sweaters, Scarves, and Knitted Things

Iceland is a country with Scandinavian heritage, so it knows how to stay warm when things cool down. While it may sound like a bit of a cliché souvenir, wool knitwear from Iceland is warm, soft, stylish, and it has a distinct look and feel, so you definitely won’t regret it. Best of all, it pretty much lasts forever, so you’ll always have a warm memory of your trip.

3. Gifts from The Blue Lagoon

This is one of Iceland’s most famous tourist attractions. While it’s something to see all on its own, the Blue Lagoon also boasts a gift shop full of unique products that will keep your skin soft and hair gleaming. Naturally made with minerals, geothermal seawater, and other materials from the lagoon, there’s nothing else quite like them. If you get the chance to see the lagoon and try out its beauty treatments, you’ll definitely want to take some of the magic home with you.

4. Atson Leather

Famed far and wide, Atson Leather produces quality, handmade leather goods that come in a wide variety of styles of choices. From jackets and coats to backpacks and briefcases, Atson has something for everyone’s budget level. Even if all you can afford is a spotted seawolf keychain (it’s a very special sort of fish found in Iceland), it’s a unique, attractive souvenir that will be sure to hold all kind of memories.

5. A Guide to Trolls

While Iceland isn’t geographically speaking part of Scandinavia, it shares a great deal of Scandinavia’s culture. This includes trolls, often-gigantic magical creatures who turn to stone in the sun. There are several locations all throughout Iceland where these troll rocks still stand, and for those who want to come and see something unusual a collected guide of famous troll locations would make for a great sightseeing aid. Some of these books even have places inside them where you can mark off the trolls you’ve seen and the ones you want to get to.