No Sleep ‘Til Reykjavik

The waiting is the hardest part…
— Tom Petty

I’m hanging around my house, waiting to leave for the airport. In seven hours or so Icelandair flight #680 will lift off from Seattle to take us to the home of Iceland Airwaves, the promised land, Reykjavik, and I’ll be counting the hours until we land. Tom Petty was right. Waiting sucks. Thankfully there’s a payoff at the end.

This will be the fifth consecutive Airwaves for me, Holly, and our friend Norberto. Every year the festival seems to get a little bigger (approximately 7,000 passes sold this time around), we discover new bands, make new friends, and have an even better time than we did the year before. Reykjavik is a great city and has become like a second home to us – we’re already looking forward to pizza at Eldsmiðjan on the night we arrive, lunch at the Noodle Station, and our annual Sunday night dinner at Salon, and coffee at Sandholt; buying records at Lucky and digging the crates at the flea market; catching up with our friends Ingvar, Gestur, Dr. Gunni, and others. Yes it will be cold. I come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow… The winds will howl. Eyes will water. It will be awesome.

This year roughly 217 bands will take part in the “official” Iceland Airwaves. I put that in quotes because in addition to the official on-venue shows that require a wrist band to get into, pretty much every nook and cranny of Reykjavik will have live music playing – so even if your band didn’t make the cut, you could easily play a week worth of shows in the off-venue locations around town. Of those 217 bands, we’ve seen 34 of them before… which seems crazy, because with four festivals under our belts already I’d have thought the count would be higher. Needless to say, though, we’ll be adding lots of new bands to our lists this year.

It’s only been six months since our last visit to Iceland… and I started the countdown to Airwaves as soon as we got back. There’s no place in the world like Reykjavik. We’ll see you soon…

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