Festivals in Iceland
A gathering of merry people
The sparse Icelandic population has always enjoyed a gathering of good people. All-year round, you will find creative festivals dedicated to music, film and fashion. During summer, town festivals attract large groups of people around the country, dominating the event calendar. With abundant daylight hours during summer, and the long after hours of winter, nothing beats a good festival in Iceland.
January - March
Annual contemporary music festival held by the Iceland Composer Society. The festival offers an ambitious programme—several concerts take place each day and many premieres. The festival draws foreign guests who want to study Icelandic music today and report about their experiences back at home. The festival is an annual Music Festival organized by the Icelandic Composers Union.
April - June
A music festival in Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords, which has been held on the Easter-weekend since 2003. The idea of the festival came to its creators, popular musician Mugison and his father, as they sat in a bar, having a drink.
The Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður is the oldest and largest event of its kind in Iceland. Since 1995 Hafnarfjörður has been a playground for Vikings demonstrating through the years most aspects of the Viking culture; like ships, cuisine, handcraft, storytelling, archery, games, music and battle demonstrations.
The Festival of the Sea is an annual event featuring lots of fun for the whole family, and serves as a reminder of how important the sea and its sailors are to Iceland‘s history, economy and people. Various program is offered from 10am on Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. The celebration takes place at Reykjavík’s West Harbour, Grandagardur. Takes place on the first weekend in June.
A music festival held in an old herring factory in the village of Borgarfjörður eystri in the eastern fjords. It has been a boost to the culture of the east since 2005. Bræðslan is held on the last weekend in July and has one main concert and other off-venue events around the village the days before.
Eistnaflug is no longer the best kept secret in the world of awesome music festivals. Its praises have been sung all over the international press, after the event set in the small isolated town of Neskaupstaður has attracted press, artists and audience from all over the world in the last few years.
A huge outdoor festival in Herjólfsdalur Valley in the Westman Islands. It takes place annually during the Bank Holiday Weekend (the first weekend of august). The festival traces its history back to 1874 and the basis of its program has remained much the same through the decades. The program includes music performances by some of the most popular musicians in Iceland each time, group singing, a huge camp fire and fireworks. Other traditions are attached to the festival, such as the white tent city in the valley and eating puffin.
Reykjavik Culture Night celebrates culture in all forms. The event, which is both created and enjoyed by city residents, takes place all across Reykjavík with celebrations in city streets and squares, in museums, businesses and even in residential gardens!
September - December
It’s 4 a.m. You’ve been to five cool clubs, seen ten great bands, made fifteen new friends and fallen in love twenty times. You’re tired. You’re wired. You’re ready to find a bed. You’re ready to find the after-party. You can’t believe you’re here. You’re already making plans to come back next year. And guess what? It’s still Day One.
RIFF, Reykjavik International Film Festival, takes place every year in late September. The festival shows a wide range of dramas and non-fiction films from over 40 countries. RIFF highlights independent film-making from all over the world with an emphasis on up-and-coming filmmakers.