FESTIVALS IN ICELAND

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

Dark Music Days

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.

Scottish Festival Week

The Reykjavik International Games

The City of Reykjavik welcomes sports participants to a multisport competition in Laugardalur, the Valley of Sport.

February

Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival

Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival is a culture festival that celebrates winter and light with multiple events, exhibitions, poetry reading in a swimming pool, outdoor performances and much more.

Reykjavik Blues Festival

Sónar Reykjavik

Sónar Reykjavik festival is going to portray how a prestige brand can redefine itself in smaller locations and venues. The new concert house, Harpa and the joy of music will be a stark contrast against the Icelandic winter and the arctic darkness outside. Sónar Reykjavik is also an experiment in how music can reach those who truly seek it by those performing it and seeing that it´s not always the largest stage and the biggest crowd that matters but also about the unique relationship that forms and the memories for all involved. Trying to follow in the footsteps of the pioneering Sónar Barcelona festival is hard but hosting a Sónar Reykjavik festival which strives to deliver the experience and artists line up Sónar Barcelona would be proud of is something we truly believe is possible. The line up will include balanced mix of both international artists and the most current ones from Iceland´s thriving music scene.

Rainbow Reykjavík LGBT Winter Pride Festival

Stockfish Film Festival

The Annual Icelandic Beer Festival

March

Food and Fun

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.

Design March

DesignMarch is Iceland’s most important annual design festival. Four days, dozens of events, hundreds of participating designers and all fields of design, from architecture to food to furniture and services.

Iceland Winter Games

An annual winter festival with all types of exciting winter sports: mountain hiking, snow-boarding, downhill skiing, snow scooters, and much more.

April

I Never Went South

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. They wanted to establish a festival in their home town Ísafjörður, where the local people were the stars and the big numbers were extras. The big numbers are an attraction nonetheless, and people of increasing numbers flock to the Westfjords' capital to attend Aldrei fór ég suður. Aldrei fór ég suður

Eve-Online Fanfest

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.

Ak-Extreme

Reykjavik children's cultural festival

Iceland Writers Retreat

Fossavatn Ski Marathon

May

Reykjavik Arts Festival

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.

Peace Choir Festival

Tectonics

June

Midnight Sun Run

The Midnight Sun Run has been held in late June every year since 1993. The Midnight Sun Run is a road race where runners can choose from three distances, half marathon, 10 km race and 5 km race. The runners will among other places run a circle in the valley Laugardalur wich is in full bloom by this time of year. The race starts late in the evening, nearby one of Reykjavik’s wonderful geothermal outdoor swimming pools, Laugardalslaug. All participants are invited to enter the swimming pool, hot tubs and steam baths after the race. Registration and further information about The Suzuki Midnight Sun Run can be found at www.marathon.is/midnight-run.

Festival of the Sea

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.

Viking Festival

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.

Secret Solstice Music Festival

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.

Iceland National Holiday

Iceland’s national day, 17 June, commemorates the creation of Iceland as a republic in 1944. The day is the birthday of the country’s independence hero, Jón Sigurdsson.

MT Esja Ultra

Blue Lagoon Challenge

KexReið

Arctic Open

WOW Cyclothon

The Color Run

Reykjavik Midsummer Music

July

LungA

An ever-growing music and art festival in the eastern town of Seyðisfjörður, where young people gather to celebrate art. First held in 2000, the festival not only showcases the art but also produces it by hosting workshops and lectures for visitors.

Eistnaflug

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.

Bræðslan

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.

Folk Music Festival in Siglufjörður

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.

Music Festival Reykholt

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.

Medievaldays at Gásum

The Golden Circle Challange

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon

KEXPort

August

Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum

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.

Gay Pride

The gay pride parade in Reykjavik has taken place on the 2ndweekend of august since 1999. A lively, colorful event where thousands of people join in the parade in downtown Reykjavik to support the LGTB community.

Reykjavik Culture Night

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 event's slogan "come on in!" is a reference to those good old fashioned customs of hospitality. Culture Night is now a permanent fixture in the annual calendar of events in Reykjavík and marks the start of the city's cultural year, when museums and theatres and other cultural institutions launch their annual program of events. The main objective of Culture Night is to encourage participants to deliver a diverse and rich offering of cultural events with a taste of something for everyone and a few surprises too! Menningarnótt

Reykjavik Jazz festival

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

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.

Bank Holiday Weekend

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 International Theatre Festival

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.

Reykjavik Dance Festival

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.

Innipúkinn Music Festival

European Championship in Swamp Soccer

Gæran

Gæran is a music festival held 14th - 16th of August 2014 in the northern part of Iceland, in the small town of Saudarkrokur. The festival will be held in the only woolskin tannery factory in Iceland. Gæran, which means lambskin rug, is very well described by the name and is very laid back, warm and friendly. The festival focuses on offering a wide variety of genres, from folk to rap and everything in between.

Reykjavik Marathon

Iceland Summer Games

Fireworks at Jökulsárlón

Swampsoccer

September

Reykjavik International Film Festival

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. The festival encourages the interaction of film with other art forms by organizing concerts, photo exhibitions and more. The festival also manages the RIFF industry office, complete with a video library, information and guest services, and co-organizes networking meetings and dinners for the attending professionals. RIFF was founded in September 2004, by a small group of film professionals and film enthusiasts led by festival director Hrönn Marinósdóttir. The goal was to present new and progressive quality films, support innovation in filmmaking, network between professionals from various parts of the world and foster social and cultural dialogue. Reykjavík Internation Film Festival

Reykjavik Literary Festival

Reykjavik Dance Festival

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.

October - November - December

Iceland Airwaves

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. Since the first edition was held in 1999 (in an airplane hangar), Iceland Airwaves has become one of the premier annual showcases for new music—Icelandic and otherwise—in the world. It has made a heap of friends and won many fans along the way, and been lavished with praise pretty much everywhere where there is written about music. Example: Rolling Stone magazine called it "The hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar." Iceland Airwaves

Imagine Peace Tower

A work of art by Yoko Ono dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. Every year the Imagine Peace Tower emerges between Lennon’s birthday (October 9) and the day of his death.

Christmas

Icelanders go in for Christmas in a big way, with 13 Santa Clauses who each have a name and caracters play pranks and sing in the beautifully illuminated streets. Lots of activities all through the holidays.

New Years Eve

With everyone taking part in the biggest firework display you’ll ever see, public bonfires are lit all around the country, followed by very lively nightlife.

New Year's Eve 10 K Run

Cycle Music and Art Festival