Iceland Airwaves 2022 – Reflections

The theme of Iceland Airwaves for us this year was “friends”. After three years of COVID blocking us from travel we were ready to get back out into the world and see our friends again. While many of our Airwaves compatriots didn’t make it out to Reykjavik this year for various reasons (money… still not comfortable traveling… the festival only running three days…), quite a few did, plus after a dozen prior trips to Iceland we’ve established some local relationships too.

Reykjavik is in some ways like a second home – I’m more comfortable there than I am in anyplace other than where we live. We have our favorite restaurants and coffee houses and shops, and having been there so many times we never feel compelled to do anything in particular. It’s not as if I don’t have thousands upon thousands of photos of Iceland – so do I need another one of Hallgrímskirkja? Probably not. Do we need to stop by Harpa even though it isn’t a venue this year? Nope. It’s a much more relaxed experience.

That even extended to going to shows. In years past we’ve filled up most of every day with shows, and while that’s partly why we went, we didn’t feel compelled to hustle from venue to venue all day long. We were a bit more selective and didn’t push ourselves, relishing in a slower pace and the lack of the normal home distractions. There was time to read and relax and talk without feeling like we should be doing something else.

If my math is right, this year marked the 22nd Iceland Airwaves. We’ve attended 11 times – every year it was held between 2009 and 2022, with the exception of 2018. It’s hard to imagine not going. But if Airwaves remains a three day festival it will be harder to justify the expense of the trip. I’m sure we’ll be back, but it may not be an annual thing for us anymore. We’ll have to wait and see. But as long as we have friends in Reykjavik, and others who are making the trek, it will be hard to resist the pull…