Icelanders do like to let their hair down come the weekend. And with a music scene that’s as active as the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Reykjavic.
Although a third of Iceland’s population live in the centre of Reykjavic itself, for such a sparsely populated island, they sure have a large musical output of world class quality. From the shapeshifting queen of avant garde that is Bjork, to the ethereal sounds of Sigur Ros, the local music scene is the star of the show, grabbing the spotlight from the surrounding fjords, glaciers and geysers that everyone flocks to see.
Taking place from 16th-17th March, Sonar Festival is an export of the Barcelona-based festival of the same name, and the Icelandic version offers up a heady mix of electro artists, eclectic sounds and big name headliners like Underworld. Fear not, with average March temperatures of around 4°C, the festival is all indoors! Housed in one of the city’s most distinguished landmarks, the Harpa concert hall is an architectural beast. Situated by the harbour, the venue has four indoor stages – including one in the underground car-park, so your festival experience won’t be a freezing one.
Discovered some new musical gems at the festival and want to take a piece of them home with you? Make a beeline for Lucky Records or 12 Tónar to pick up a record or two. And while you’re there, you can grab a cup of coffee, listen to some tracks or even hang around for an evening gig too.
Reykjavík is famous for its weekend nightlife. Icelanders are night owls and tend to go out late, making the most of the late closing hours of bars and clubs. Head to the Laugavegur street area for all your nocturnal activity needs. First make the most of happy hour at Petersen Svítan on the rooftop bar with views overlooking the city. Once a cinema and then later the home of the Icelandic Opera, the historic Gamla Bíó building is now a popular music venue. Next, take the party the Kex Hostel, one of the coolest places in town to hang out. Don’t be fooled by its run-down exterior, inside you’ll find sleek industrial design with touches of folly, local beers on tap and regular live music nights. And once you’ve danced your socks off, you can even stay the night! Yes, it’s even a hotel too, sleeping up to 142 guests. Sweet dreams!