All year round, you can attend festivals in Iceland and especially in Reykjavik. Even though the worldwide Covid situation is not the best time for it right now, we want you to discover the best festivals in Iceland through this article. Indeed, you will find creative festivals dedicated to music, film, and food. Around the country, a lot of town festivals also attract a lot of people.
The Winter Lights Festival is an annual event taking place on the first weekend of February that stimulates the capital in the winter. Held in February, the festival celebrates winter as well as the growing light after a quite long period of darkness. At the festival, you’ll discover a mix of art and industry, environment and history, sports and culture. The programme reflects the many faces of Reykjavík´s capital area; with the participation of all the major museums, thermal pools and a ski resort. Both locals and guests are welcome!
Sónar Reykjavik is the Icelandic event of the global alternative festival series. The other festivals are held in Barcelona, Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Bogota : each of them is set in a cultural hotspot. The festival aims to highlight creators and innovators through performances and conferences. It takes place at Harpa cultural centre, in the center of Reykjavik. Each year, the festival puts together some of the best rising national talents, as well as a selection of international artists.
The Secret Solstice Festival is one of Iceland’s most famous music and culture festivals. It is held in June, under the Midnight Sun. This unmissable experience is about music, culture, and fun! The festival combines music with Icelandic characteristics to provide a unique and special experience to all attendees.The event share the natural beauty and the culture of Iceland through music: from the world’s only rave in a glacier cave to intimate performances in 5000 year old lava tunnel or journeying to the centre of the earth for a concert. Definitely a once-in-lifetime adventure.
Þjóðhátíð is a festival that takes place in the Westman Islands on the weekend before the first Monday of August. This multi-day festival is held on Herjólfsdalur, which looks like a natural amphitheatre that can welcome a lot of attendees. On Friday, there’s a bonfire in addition to the musical offerings, mainly Icelandic Country & Western. On Saturday Night, as the party gets into full swing music, DJs and dancing vibrate through the night until early morning. When the night is dark enough, a fireworks display lights up the sky. The Sunday Night is much like a campfire: childhood songs will play and Icelandic ballads are sung by everyone. The finale comes when thousands of torch wielding bearers gather round the rim of the volcano to recreate Eldfell’s famous lava eruption.
The Airwaves Music Festival is held each November for four days and nights. The event brings together Iceland’s emerging musical talent and international artists. This is a time where downtown Reykjavik comes alive with music, performances hosted everywhere from tiny record stores and art museums, to cool bars and stately churches, to nightclubs and large scale venues. Launched in 1999 as a one-off event in an airplane hangar, Airwaves has since become Iceland’s longest-established festival and best recognised music brand, and an integral part of Reykjavík’s yearly cultural calendar.
August is the Pride Month in Iceland. The Reykjavik Pride is a big event in the National Calendar. It celebrates love, diversity, happiness and equality. It is a very important event in Iceland. If you are visiting in August, you’ll get to see a lot of rainbow flags everywhere. The second weekend of August, you should definitely add the Gay Pride Parade to your to do list in Iceland. Today the parade is an annual celebration, awaited by many and is one of the best-attended festivals on the island. The event attracts over 100,000 people from all over the world and a large percentage of Iceland’s population takes part in the celebrations!
The Food and Fun Festival highlights the country’s agricultural background and specialties and seafood products. The guest chefs are required to use only Icelandic material for the centrepieces of their dishes. This way, they can see how much freshness and variety can be found in Icelandic products; the fresh fish, the free range and unique lamb and the smooth organic dairy products, which are considered to be one of the finest in the world. All products are grown sustainably and locally in the clean surroundings of the unspoiled nature of the country. The origins of the Food and Fun Festival can be traced back to the fact that the late winter months of February and March are off-season months in the Icelandic tourism industry.
The Reykjavík International Film Festival is one of the biggest and most diverse cultural events in Iceland. For eleven days every fall since 2004, Icelandic locals and tourists alike are able to go to the cinema and enjoy the best and freshest of international film making. The guests can also meet and chat with directors about their works, attend panels and workshops, concerts and exhibitions, and even watch interesting films under even more interesting conditions, for instance in a swimming pool or in the filmmaker’s home.