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.
The essential component of the festival involves world-renowned chefs collaborating with Reykjavik's finest restaurants, and as an extra serving of food and fun, chefs compete to create a three-course meal using Icelandic ingredients exclusively. The Festival takes place in February/March.
Every year, the Eve-online Fanfest brings together players in a massive celebration of the virtual world of EVE Online. Travelers from all around the world gather in one of the most beautiful and unique locations the planet has to offer. Allies and rivals alike set aside their in-game differences to share drinks with one another and forge new friendships. CCP developers mingle with the community, always up for "talking shop" and getting to know the players.
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.
Secret Solstice is an Icelandic music festival that‘s being held for the first time in June 2014. Bristol band Massive Attack have been announced as the headline act at the festival where over a hundred artists both local and international from a various array of genres will be featured. The festival showcases both established artists as well as exciting up-and-coming talent over the course of three days the 24 hour midnight sun during the summer solstice. It‘s themed after the Norse religion and mythology of old. It‘s set to deliver a unique party atmosphere filled with great entertainment.
The Reykjavik Arts Festival is an annual multidisciplinary festival of the visual and performing arts with a special focus on new commissions. For two weeks in May and June every year it brings together major cultural venues and unconventional spaces throughout the city in exhibitions and performances of contemporary and classic works, presenting richly varied experieces to the widest possible audience. Since its inception in 1970, the festival has been a major force in the development of cultural diversity in Iceland, inviting hundreds of artists from all parts of the globe to perform and exhibit at the festival.
The annual music festival and summer courses Við Djúpið are held in the West Fjords of Iceland around summer solstice, offering series of concerts and master classes. The master classes are held in close cooperation with the Iceland Academy of the Arts, and are accredited by it´s Department of Music.
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.
Landsmót hestamanna has been held since 1950. It is the biggest sport event in Iceland, where from 8.000 to 14.000 people from all over the world attend to see the best horses and riders in Iceland competing or performing in the breeding show. The 2014 Landsmót will be held at the show grounds at Hella, in the southern part of Iceland. If you love the Icelandic horse, this is a festival you have to take part in!
The Folk Music Festival in Siglufjörður, North Iceland, takes place from 2nd to the 6th of July 2014. In 18 performances Icelandic and foreign artists play music from all over the world. A broad picture of the Icelandic folk music will be given during the festival. At the festival in 2014, music from France will be of special interest. During the day, many different courses will be given both on Icelandic and on foreign folk music. Folk dances will be taught as well as Icelandic handicraft.
Reykholt Festival is an international music festival held in historic Reykholt, the birth place of Snorri Sturluson in Borgarfjörður, the last week of July every year. It´s repertoire mainly consists of classical music featuring both Icelandic musicians and well known foreign artists. Reykholt festival has earned a reputation as beeing one of the most interesting cultural events in Iceland.
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!
The Reykjavik Jazz Festival will be held for the 25th time time 14th - 20th August and is dedicated to presenting the best international artists available in a variety of genres within jazz as well as electronia and world music. The venues range from home studios of the participating musicians to the largest hall of Harpa Concert Hall.
The Great Fish Day is an annual festival in Dalvík, North Iceland, held the second Saturday in August. Fish producers and other members of the society invite guests to a sea food buffet between 11:00 and 17:00 at the harbour in Dalvík. The Great Fish Day has been a very successful event and during the first eight years, a total of 200.000 guests have taken part in this fabulous village feast. While enjoying the free fish guests can enjoy various entertainments at the harbour.
The Bank Holiday Weekend is the Icelandic travel weekend and takes place on the first weekend in August. Towns and organizations host various festivals all over the country and whether one prefers hard partying, family-oriented gatherings, music or sport, everyone is sure to find something to their taste.
LÓKAL is an international theatre festival based in Reykjavík, Iceland. Its mission is to bring cutting edge theater from around the world to Reykjavik as well as introducing new Icelandic performance to locals and visitors alike. LÓKAL is an annual festival held around the last weekend in August.
Make Dance Your Priority this August! Skip the gym, turn off the t.v., forget about lunch, and put a hold on all summer plans and make dance your priority this August. Reykjavík Dance Festival has a full programme, from morning until morning, you can realistically do nothing else, but dance and see dance, everyday for ten days if you choose to. What to expect? Performances, workshops, installations, lectures, meals, informal and formal discussions, parties, a festival bar, and a lot of dancing.
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.