Icelandic Music Scene & Venues

Posted on Categories Events, Festivals, Iceland, Music, our-hotels, ReykjavikTags , , , , , ,

 

Photo by Sigurður Ástgeirsson https://www.flickr.com/photos/icelandairwaves/26332376329/in/album-72157669883815597/

The Icelandic music scene is thriving and has been for years. You probably heard about the big names such as Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Rós, Emilíana Torrini, Kaleo, and of course Björk! Although, there are many more Icelandic artists to discover and adopt! You can find many different venues and events, here in Reykjavik, to discover what the local talent has to offer! This article will help you chose the perfect spot for you to enjoy! Also, find at the end of the article some insights about CenterHotels off-venue concerts for the popular Iceland Airwaves Festival!!!

 

Punk Museum (Bankastræti 2, 101 Reykjavík)

Located in what was previously a public toilet, the Punk Museum opened its door in 2016. Dedicated to honour the Nordicpunk scene of the late 70’s to the early 90’s, this tiny museum is not lacking in personality! The host, Álfur, an original punk, will kindly present the different reliques from the area; posters, vinyls. instruments, clothes, pictures, name it! Interesting visit to do in Reykjavik to understand from where came several known artist of  the Icelandic musical scene, such as Björk and The Sugarcubes.

 

 

Kaffi Vínyl (Hverfisgata 76, 101 Reykjavík)

Kaffi Vinyl is located on the new upcoming trendy street of Hverfisgata. They claim to be the first “Vegetarian Only” resto-bar in Reykjavik and for that matter, offer an appetizing selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes. Not only they excel in dreamy veggie food, but they also offer an impressive wine selection and on top of all, vinyl records and music prestations!

You really can’t miss it! With windows from one edge to the other, Kaffi Vinyl offers a very chic atmosphere, but mostly an excellent view for the ones passing by! Once you receive a feel of what is happening inside of the Kaffi Vinyl, you can’t help yourself but to enter and have a seat. Pouring an excellent vibe with records playing the whole day, the hip urban style of the bistro is clearly enhanced by the incredible record collection that the owner Ymir (DJ Sir Dance A-Lot) has been collecting through 40 years; and available for you to acquire! You can also catch live music performance on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and other special events! From Dj sets to live indie rock bands, passing by live jazzy jamming, the chic and welcoming atmosphere of Kaffi Vinyl will know how to charm you.     

 

Húrra (Tryggvagata 22, 101 Reykjavík)

Near the old harbour, Húrra is a casual bar and concert venue in downtown Reykjavík. Metal fans know this is the place to be for a good concert. People enjoying electronic music, jazz, rock and burlesque shows will also find what they’re looking for. They even organize karaoke nights! They mostly welcome major locals bands and Djs during the weekend and always host great Jazz nights on Mondays! Known for its dark, yet hipping atmosphere, the cultural elite and hipsters visit this place frequently knowing they’ll find a good ambiance, a groovy feel as well as good prices of a large selection of tap beer and extended happy hour until 10 PM!

Overall, this bar full of surprises offers bands playing a more alternative and out of the box music. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and it’s a good place to meet new people.

If you enter Húrra and see mostly men’s clothes, then you’re in the wrong place! There is also a clothing store called Húrra Reykjavik selling mostly men’s clothing!

 

Mengi (Óðinsgata 2, 101 Reykjavík)

Mengi is a small concert venue and art center located on Óðinsgata operated, created and managed by artists. Their focal point is experimental, contemporary and classical music. You can go there for live music, performances, art, exhibitions and conferences. It’s a meeting ground for creative minds, and often shows hosted at Mengi are an amalgam of different genres and art forms. Mengi also runs a recording studio, record label and record store.

 

Harpa (Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík)

Harpa is a large concert hall and conference center housing the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the offices of the Icelandic Opera, who also perform there. It has four concert halls, and meeting rooms for groups of all sizes. It’s a popular venue for classical performances, but Harpa also hosts all kinds of live concerts, art exhibitions and theater shows. Located on Reykjavík’s coastline, it is an impressive landmark with a beautiful light show in winter.

 

Gaukurinn (Tryggvagata 22, 101 Reykjavík)

Gaukurinn is an inclusive bar, welcoming people from all walks of life. Go here for rock and roll, electronic and pop concerts, drag shows, poetry nights, pub quizzes, karaoke, and stand-up comedy. Their program reflects their general motto of celebrating diversity and ensuring a friendly and open space for everyone. And if you’re hungry, you can grab delicious vegan junk food at Veganæs, a small joint serving burgers and more inside Gaukurinn until 21:00 on all days except Monday.

 

12 Tónar (Skólavörðustígur 15, 101 Reykjavík)

12 Tónar is a small record store that has so much to offer! You can expect not only an impressive knowledge from the friendly, cultured staff and, but you can also enjoy a coffee while browsing through their diverse selection of music, magazines, rock litterature and discover some art exhibitions. Opened in 1998, they have been producing growing locals artists and bigger figures of the music scene.

They released, since 2003, more than 70 albums of different musical genres and have been licensed also in Japan, US and South Korea!  Every now and then, the special record store also hosts concerts, especially during the summer, when their charming garden turns into the ideal venue for all kind of music!

Not surprising that the store has been made the Number Two record store you must see before you die by BuzzFeed! “While it might not be impressive in size, it is incredibly influential and serves as a meeting place for musicians like Björk and Sigur Rós. PSSSST.. Also, Björk is a fan of this place!  

 

Airwaves (more than 15 different venues)

Half way between North America and Europe, the Iceland Airwaves Festival has been bringing together the most northern emerging local talents and established progressive international artists in a diverse selection of venues around Reykjavik. Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, the 4 days and nights festival starts officially on Wednesday the 7th of November until the 10th.  

This year, the festival will host more than 240 acts from 25 different countries in 15 official venues. Within the official venues you will find, amongst others, Gaukurinn, Húrra, and Harpa.

For those who want to participate in the music festivity but do not wish to purchase the festival pass, you can also find some amazing off-venue concerts. CenterHotels is a proud partner of the Iceland Airwaves and will host three off venue concerts this year at Ísafold Restaurant, Jörgensen Kitchen and Ský Restaurant & Bar. See our Off-Venue Schedule and Line-Up here. 

Come by and enjoy some good Icelandic music and fun bar offers.

Reykjavik celebrates it’s birthday

Posted on Categories Activities, Culture, Events, Iceland, Music, ReykjavikTags , ,

Get ready for the most happening Saturdays of the year in Reykjavik this Saturday, August 18th.

This Saturday we celebrate the birthday day of Reykjavík city and it brings almost a third of the entire population of Iceland onto the streets to celebrate.

The day starts with Reykjavík Marathon which kicks off at 9:00 on Lækjargata, downtown Reykjavik.  Following the marathon, Reykjavik Culture Night will take place with a long program of cultural events throughout the rest of the day and night. The events take place all throughout the city, on the streets and squares, in art exhibitions and in peoples backyards. You will come across art, food and live music events all through central Reykjavík. The public parking lot at Hverfisgata 20 will be turned into an LA style lounge top bar, there will be a Hip Hop festival on Ingólfstorg square and DJ Margeir (one of the countries most popular DJ’s) will host his yearly Karnival party on the corner of Hverfisgata and Klapparstígur.  

The event peaks with a concert by Arnarhóll at 20:00 and ends with a ‘not to be missed’ fireworks show over Harpa and the old harbour at 23:00.

For those who would like to observe the festivities from a comfortable distance, SKÝ Restaurant & Bar, located at Centerhotel Arnarhvoll has an incredible view over Harpa and the old harbor.

Keep in mind that most streets in and around downtown Reykjavik will be blocked off, but who wants to leave the city during the cities greatest celebration of the year.

Verslunarmannahelgin, the Icelandic Labor Day Weekend

Posted on Categories Activities, Culture, Events, Festivals, Iceland, Music, NatureTags , , , , ,

The first weekend in August, just a regular weekend for you perhaps, but for Icelanders this is our biggest festival weekend of the year and the most travelled one. We call it Verslunarmannahelgi or (Labor Day Weekend), a three day long weekend that many people use to get out of town to different camp sights around the country, many of which offer outside festivals with live music and entertainment for the whole family.

Some popular festivals held on this big party weekend are Þjóðhátíð í eyjum held in Westman Islands, Ein með Öllu in Akureyri, Mýrarboltinn in Bolungarvík and Innipúkinn in Reykjavík to name just a few.

 

Þjóðhátíð – Westman Islands

The biggest festival of the weekend and an event that many look forward to all year round is Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum.  It starts on Thursday and ends on Monday and is held in the Westman Islands.  With a population of barely 4.000 inhabitants, the population of the island rises to 16.000 during Þjóðhátíð.

It is a long fun filled weekend with all sorts of entertainment, two music stages, big Sunday night bonfire and firework show.  People gather in the valley in their ‘lopapeysa’ (Icelandic wool sweater) and sing along to classic songs, both in Icelandic and English.

 

Ein með Öllu – Akureyri

A family festival held in Akureyri (the capital of the north). You can expect the city to be full of live with entertainment for the whole family, concerts and a firework show on Sunday night.

 

Mýrarboltinn – Bolungarvík

Mýrarboltinn or ‘Swamp soccer’ is a popular football match held in Bolungarvík in the North West fjords of Iceland.  The match takes place on a mud covered field so get ready to get mud filthy. Everyone can sign up for the match and in addition to the football there is live music and party throughout the weekend.

 

Innipúkinn – Reykjavík

Will you be in Reykjavík for the weekend? Don’t worry..there is a music festival held in Reykjavík as well called Innipúkinn.
Innipúkinn is a small indoor music festival held in Reykjavík on Labor Day weekend at music venues like Húrra and Gaukur á Stöng both located in down town Reykjavík.  You can see the line up and purchase festival tickets here.

Many Icelanders often plan this weekend or their camping location according to the weather forecast because who wants to set up camp in pouring rain.

Happy Verslunarmannahelgin!

Summer Festivals in Iceland

Posted on Categories Activities, Culture, Events, Festivals, Iceland, Music, Nature, Reykjavik, TraditionTags , , , ,

Icelandic summer may not be the warmest or sunniest but that doesn’t stop Icelanders from celebrating it in various ways.

There are tons of festivals, big and small, held throughout the country every summer. The bigger once you may have heard of but the smaller local festivals probably not, but they can be just as fun. It’s a good opportunity to meet and mingle with the locals of the town.

The list of summer festivals is long but here you can learn about a few of our favorites.

 

JUNE

FISHERMAN’S SUNDAY
Fisherman’s Sunday, held the first Sunday in June to celebrate and honor the hard work and sacrifices of the Icelandic fisherman and importance that the fishing industry has had on the Icelandic culture. Each town has a celebration by the harbour with sea related entertainment for the whole family.

Learn more about Fisherman’s Sunday in our ‘Seaman’s Sunday blog’.

 

SECRET SOLSTICE
The Secret Solstice Music Festival takes place in Reykjavik over the summer solstice during the brightest part of the year. With over 150 acts both local and international, performing on several stages this festival has become one of the biggest music festivals in Iceland.

Learn more about Secret Solstice in our ‘Secret Solstice blog’.

 

KÓTELETTAN
A BBQ festival held in Selfoss, a town in the south of Iceland, with the focus on Icelandic meat and barbecuing. In addition to the presentation of Icelandic food there is an impressive program for the whole family from morning until night.

 

JULY

IRISH DAYS
An Irish festival held in Akranes, a port town located on the West coast of Iceland. The town was supposedly settled by the Irish in the 9th century so every July, the town celebrates so-called Irish days to commemorate their Irish heritage and celebrate the summer at the same time. It’s a family festival with Irish themed entertainment from morning until night.

 

FJARÐARBYGGÐIN HIKING WEEK
This is one of Iceland’s biggest outdoor recreation events held in Fjarðarbyggð located in the East fjords of Iceland. It is 8 days of entertainment and organised activities to suit the entire family which spans from family walks to historical walks and even to challenges for hiking mountaineers, as well as categories in between.

 

EISTNAFLUG
A metal festival held in Neskaupstaður a quaint little town located on the Norðfjörður fjord on the Eastern coast of Iceland. Eistnaflug is held annually on the second weekend of July each year.

 

BRÆÐSLAN
A fun annual music festival held the last weekend of July in Borgarfjörður Eystri which is located in East Iceland about 70 km from Egilsstaðir. The line up is usually mostly local bands. Most people camp and many bring their whole family.

 

AUGUST

VERSLUNARMANNAHELGIN / LABOR DAY WEEKEND
The first weekend of August is the Icelandic Labour Day weekend, a three day long weekend and the most travelled weekend in Iceland. Icelanders pack their camp gear and wool sweaters and flock out of town to set up camp at various festival sights around the country.  The main festivals are Þjóðhátíð in the Vestman Islands, Neistnaflug in Neskaupsstaður and Innipúkinn in Reykjavík to name a few.

 

FISKIDAGURINN MIKLI / THE GREAT FISH DAY
An annual festival held in North Iceland in a town called Dalvík,  held the first or the second Saturday in August. Fish producers invite guests to a sea food buffet between 11:00 and 17:00 at the harbour in Dalvík. The reason for this generous offer is to get as many people as possible together to taste fish and enjoy a good day in Dalvík. In the evening there is a big concert down by the harbour.

 

GÆRAN
Gaeran, which means lambskin rug, is a music festival held in Mid-August in the northern part of Iceland, in the town of Sauðárkrókur. The festival focuses on offering a wide variety of genres, from folk to rap and everything in between.

 

CULTURE NIGHT

Another annual event held in Reykjavík on the Saturday on or around August 18th, the anniversary date of Reykjavík city. It is by far the biggest celebration in Reykjavík and brings almost a third of the entire population of Iceland onto the streets to celebrate with music, arts and more.

See more on Culture Night in our previous blog.

A weekend of patriotism

Posted on Categories Events, Football, history, Holidays, IcelandTags , , , ,

There is a lot to feel patriotic about this upcoming weekend..well for us Icelander at least.
On Saturday, June 16th, Iceland breaks history by playing their first world cup match ever against Argentina in the World Cup 2018 in Russia. CenterHotel Plaza and CenterHotel Miðgarður will create a true World Cup atmosphere by broadcasting the match along with all other matches in the tournament. See more on our World Cup events here.

After Saturday’s World Cup celebrations, Icelanders will celebrate their Independence Day on Sunday, June 17th.
The day will be celebrated all over the country with customary parades led by marching bands and other family festivities and ceremonies. Ceremonies often include a poetry reading by a woman dressed as ‘fjallkonan’ (‘The Lady of the Mountain’). Fjallkonan is considered to be the female incarnation of Iceland and every year a young female figure (often actress) is chosen to read for the crowd in the national costume.

In Reykjavík the June 17th parade will start at 13:00 on the corner of Laugavegur shopping street and Snorrabraut (walking distance to all CenterHotels) and will end downtown at Hljómskálagarður. The parade will be lead by a pick up truck loaded with a popular local band playing fun tunes for participants.

At Hljómskálagarður there will be variety of entertainment throughout the day. The Icelandic circus will perform for the children, there will also be a puppet show for the youngest once and variety of live music on the big stage. So something for everyone. Enjoy!

Gleðilegan 17. Júní! Happy June 17th!

Bring on the World Cup 2018

Posted on Categories Activities, Events, Football, IcelandTags , , , ,

Here we are again, anxiously waiting to cheer on “our boys” (as we like to call our men’s national football team) when they compete against football giants like Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2018 that starts next week. HUH! (viking sheer)

 

Two years ago we watched the Icelandic team successfully reach the quarter-finals in the Euro Cup 2016, beating huge football nations like England. Being the total underdog and making it so far; the team along with their dentist coach became one of the most talked about teams of the tournament. Their indomitable team spirit and enthusiasm and of course the infamous viking cheer; made the Icelandic team a new favorite of many in the world. HUH!

 

The next challenge for the team was to qualify for the World Cup finals. Surely they did just that by winning their group outright, proving that their success at the Euro was no fluke. Being the smallest nation ever to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals makes this a remarkable achievement for a nation so small. HUH!

 

So here we are, 7 days away from the World Cup kick off on Thursday, June 14th and 10 days away from Iceland’s first match against Argentina on June 16th. The second match of the group is against Nigeria on June 22nd and the final game on June 26th against Croatia. If you happen to be in Iceland during these matches get ready for some craziness. All bars, restaurants and many other places will most likely be broadcasting the matches and you will hear screaming and cheering and hopefully Icelandic people celebrating until the wee hours of the night. HUH!

 

You might as well join in on the festivities and celebrate with us.
Centertainment will be hosting World Cup events at both CenterHotel Plaza and CenterHotel Miðgarður, where all the World Cup matches will be broadcasted, offering Happy Hour prices on drinks and other fun bar specials. See more on the events here.
So, next Saturday  let’s all cheer for the underdogs when Iceland meets Argentina and hope that Iceland will beat the odds once again!

ÁFRAM ÍSLAND! HUH!!

 

EUROVISION, can’t help but to love it

Posted on Categories Events, News Feed, TraditionTags , , , , ,

EUROVISION song contest 2018 will be held this Saturday, May 12th.

It is the world’s biggest music show and is held every year, usually in May. The contest has been broadcast for 62 years or since 1956 and is one of the most watched non-sporting event in the world. The show is always held in the country that won the previous year and this year it is held in Lisbon, Portugal.

Eurovision is a great exposure and stepping stool for participating artists and  several winners of the Eurovision song contest have had successful careers after the contest such as Abba, Céline Dion, Cliff Richard and Julio Iglesias.

Icelanders are generally very enthusiastic about Eurovision and particularly since Iceland started participating back in 1986. Some Icelanders would beg to differ but that is probably because they are closet fans and too embarrassed to admit that they love Eurovision. 

In fact there are few things that bring out extreme patriotism in Icelanders, the success of the national football team is one of them (Duhhh) and Eurovision is another. The contest unites Icelanders every year with its glitz and glamour, over the top outfits and of course with it’s (debatably) great song performances.

CENTERTAINMENT will host a Eurovision party at Centerhotel Plaza on the evening of May 12th for our Eurovision loving guests. The show will be broadcasted on a big screen, the bar will offer extended Happy Hour and Portuguese tapas, and to make things even more exciting there will be score cards for guests that would like to participate in the fun.

Free event so give in to your guilty Eurovision pleasure and join in on the fun.

CENTERTAINMENT

Posted on Categories Events, Music, our-hotelsTags , , , , , ,

We understand how important entertainment is, especially when on vacation.

So, to make sure that our guests get the most out of their hotel stay we decided to offer regular entertainment for both guests and other visitors.

CENTERTAINMENT, as we call it, is a line up of all sorts of fun events and happenings, hosted at our hotels and restaurants. The events vary from live music or DJ nights, to yoga, Happy Hour, art openings, cocktail nights, wine tastings and more.

This summer CENTERTAINMENT is featuring ‘Music in the Garden’.
Music in the Garden is a series of musical events hosted every other Thursday at CenterHotel Miðgarður. There will be various genres of live music, DJ’s and bar offers and outside BBQs in the garden (when weather allows).

The next Music in the Garden event is tonight, May 3rd and the talented Andrés Thor and Haraldur Ægir will perform well-known jazz standards and pop songs in jazz form. The event is from 18:00 – 20:00.
Admission is free, extended Happy Hour and 20% discount off bar snacks during the event.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our events. See full line up here.

Eventful March

Posted on Categories Culture, Events, Food, Iceland, Music, News Feed, Reykjavik

The days are finally getting longer in Reykjavík with more sunlight, and the city is as vibrant as ever, offering two spectacular events this weekend.

 

Design March

Design March is Iceland’s most important annual design event and celebrates it’s 10th anniversary this year. The event will take place March 15-18th and will be the largest and most significant yet.

Design March offers a unique chance to see and experience Icelandic design, spiced with a handful of the most interesting international names.
From fashion to furniture, architecture to food design, the festival showcases the best of the local design scene alongside exciting international names.

So for four days, Reykjavík, the most northern capital in the world will host dozens of openings, exhibitions, workshops and other events. There are over 100 events-exhibitions, workshops, seminars and parties spread across the city. Usually, these sort of fairs are only open for professionals, however we Icelanders like to have fun, so everybody is invited to join in.

 

Sónar Reykjavík

Another event that is taking place this weekend AND celebrating it’s anniversary is Sónar Reykjavik music festival which will take place for it’s 25th executive year on March 16th and 17th at Harpa music hall.

Sónar is a well known music festival featuring mostly electronica, hip hop and advanced music both from the vibrant Icelandic music scene as well as international talent. The festival will be spread out across 4 different stages, all located indoors within the walls of the beautiful Harpa Concert House and headlining the SonarClub stage will be long-standing electronica innovators Underworld.

If you’re planing to going to Sónar Reykjavík, remember that SKÝ Restaurant & Bar is located right across the street from Harpa concert hall at CenterHotel Arnarhvoll and is the perfect place to grab a pre show dinner or a cocktail while enjoying a spectacular view over Harpa and the bay. And the best part is that CenterHotel guests receive 10% discount of the a la carte menu. It’s a win win win.

 

Happy Beer Day!

Posted on Categories Culture, Events, history, Iceland, Tradition

On March 1, we celebrate the National Beer Day in Iceland.

In 1908 Icelanders voted in favor of a ban on all alcoholic beverages and the ban went officially into effect in 1915. As soon as Iceland stopped purchasing Spanish wines, Spain refused to buy Icelandic fish (our main export at the time), so therefore the ban was partially lifted in 1921 with legalization of wine.

Then in 1935 the prohibition of alcohol was lifted  EXCEPT for beer (with alcohol content of more than 2.5 %) and the argument was that beer would lead to debauchery due to it’s low price. So in other words; Icelanders weren’t trusted to handle their booze.

During the time of the prohibition, smuggling and underground brewing was not uncommon and many pubs would serve light beer (Pilsner) with stronger liquor added to it (like vodka). But soon that was also banned by the minister of justice.

74 years and a few rallies later, the beer prohibition finally ended on March 1, 1989 and people were able to buy beer again legally in Iceland. This is the reason why some Icelanders celebrate Beer Day on March 1st. “We had to fight, for our right to party”.

Today beer has become the drink of choice for most Icelanders.
You can find local and imported beer in all pubs and most restaurants in Reykjavík. Beer is also sold in wine stores, however grocery stores only sell the light beer called  pilsner (less than 2.5%). There are several breweries in Iceland and some popular Icelandic beer is Viking, Thule, Einstök, Kaldi, Brío, Boli, Gull.

So if you like beer; March 1st is a great day and an excuse to go out and have an Icelandic brew..or two.

Skál!