Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe, yet when it comes to music, the island punches above its class. According to the nation's official music export office, "With a population of less than half a million, Iceland has the highest ratio of musicians to inhabitants anywhere in the world. "
With all of those musicians it's no surprise that Iceland plays host to numerous music festivals, throughout the year, the biggest being Iceland Airwaves, which started out in an airplane hangar in 1999 and showcases the Icelandic rock/pop/electro music scenes. The festival usually takes place in November and typically sells out weeks in advancce.
But things are different in 2020 and not being able to hold large indoor concerts the organizers instead pivoted to a livestreaming event, Live from Reykjavik suddenly making the festival accessible to us all. While tuning in, ticketholders will also get to virtually tour iconic venues as Iðnó ("the state hall of Reykjavík curiosity"), Gamla Bío, Art Museum Reykjavík, as they host some of the festival's musical acts.
The musicians participating in Live From Reykjavik include Of Monsters and Men (above), whose first album My Head Is an Animal debuted in the United States at number six on the Billboard 200 in 2011, kicking Björk aside for the title of the Icelandic musical artist with the best chart performance in U.S. history. The band just released their latest single, "Visitor."
Earlier this year Margrét Rán, the lesbian lead singer of Vök (which will also perform at the festival) was named singer and songwriter of the year at Icelandic Music Awards.
Another band performing isHatari, the queer-allied techno industrial and punk rock band who wear BDSM inspired clothing as comentary on the binds of capitalism, and who gained international attention when they appeared on the song competition Eurovision 2018. They are the subject of 2021's feature documentary A Song Called Hate.
Other performers include
Ólafur Arnalds who will premiere a special show in support of his upcoming album some kind of piece.
Ásgeir, one of Iceland’s most beloved singer-songwriters, will visit music from his latest, Bury the Moon as well as from his debut, In The Silence.
Daði Freyr will present his new show, including this year’s global viral smash Think About Things (over 50,000,000 streams and counting).
Get your tickets here. Not familiar with the bands or can't make the live stream? Check out the festival's playlist here.