Iceland might not be the first place you think about in terms of music festivals, but it certainly should be. For such a small country, they sure know how to party. In this article, we reveal the top 15 music festivals in Iceland that are definitely worth a trip.
For many years, the Icelanders have been credited for being extremely creative people. At first, it was believed that their isolation is what drove this creativity, but in recent years studies have found it to be their social, cultural, educational and individual attributes. Icelanders have a very open and supportive nature and generally place a high value on tolerance and independence.
That’s why it should come as no surprise that this creative streak is also very apparent when it comes to music. In fact, where the music industry has seen drastic declines in recent years, the Icelanders show signs of a steady increase. This is very evident if we take a look at the music festivals the country has to offer - many of which draw international crowds.
Cool Icelandic Music Festivals
So, if you’re an avid music fan that wants to experience your favorite genre in a unique setting such as Iceland, then these music festivals are the ones to add to your calendar:
1. Iceland Airwaves
This is the Icelandic music festival where you binge on hundreds of acts consisting of every genre under the sun. From unknown local artists to international headliners – all will be at Iceland Airwaves. Past acts included Bjork and Mumford & Sons.
Cost: From ISK 17.990 for a 3-day festival pass. Visit their official website to purchase tickets.
2. Secret Solstice
The Secret Solstice festival is just as much an Icelandic celebration as it is an Iceland music festival. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience where you get the opportunity to rock out while feeling the midnight sun on your skin, go to gigs in a 5000-year-old lava tunnel or go to a rave in a glacier cave. Past acts included sets by Martin Garrix and Gus Gus.
Cost: Final prices are usually announced closer to the festival dates, but are generally about ISK 20 000. Be the first to grab yours when they’re released here.
3. Sonar Reykjavik
This festival is more for all the electronic music fans out there. Once again both local and international artists will be entertaining the masses with their house, techno and much more.
Cost: There are various ticket combos and packages available starting from as little as €72. To view or purchase your tickets please go to the official site of the festival.
4. Reykjavik Blues Festival
It’s not always rock and rave that’s blasting through the air in Iceland. For three days before the Easter weekend blues legends such as Super Chikan and local artists gather for the annual Reykjavik Blues Festival. As the name suggests, this is yet another Reykjavik music festival, so you’ll need to make the capital your base during your trip.
Cost: Tickets are extremely limited for this festival, so you’ll need to grab them before they’re sold out. You can purchase tickets via their official site.
5. Siglufjördur Folk Festival
If you want to stick to the more traditional and experience a music festival depicting authentic Icelandic culture, then this is the Iceland music festival for you. This festival literally takes over the entire town of Siglufjördur with various performances in different locations all throughout the town. You can look forward to singing choirs, harp concerts, Icelandic folk songs and jazz quartets. This variety of true Icelandic culture makes this a must when it comes to your Iceland music festivals 2023 bucket list.
Cost: Since the shows are spread out throughout various locations in the town, concert tickets need to be purchased at the venue themselves as well as on tix.is.
Ticket prices start at ISK 3000, but we recommend that you check out the various ticket options first before making your final purchase. For in-depth info, check the official site of the event.
Did you know that the Nordic regions have the highest proportion of metal bands to residents in comparison to the rest of the world? And did you know that Iceland claims the second spot as one of those countries within the Nordic regions? That’s why it should come as no surprise that the Eistnaflug metal festival is one of the best festivals in Iceland. This festival consists of 3 days of head banging to local and international metal and hardcore punk acts such as Primordial.
Where: Neskaupstadur, East Fjords
Cost: Tickets start at ISK 3000. Once again, tickets come in various shapes and sizes; from general festival entry to including campsite accommodation. To view the various options or to purchase your tickets, go to the official Eistnaflug website.
7. Aldrei fór ég Sudur
This is the Iceland music festival to put on the books if your wallet is feeling a little light. This festival in the capital of the Westfjords showcasing the best of the local talent is absolutely free!
If you're a fan of top Icelandic bands, you won't want to miss this even. Featuring the best in local talent alongside bigger acts
The festival’s origin also had humble local beginnings with an Isafjordur local, Mugison, along with his father, decided that they wanted to start their very own home-grown music festival. You would be spot on if you called this festival a family passion project.
Where: Isafjordur, Westfjords
Cost: Absolutely nothing! This festival is completely free. For more information check out the Aldrei fór ég Sudur official website.
8. LungA Art Festival
So, technically Lunga isn’t an Iceland music festival, but there’s still plenty of music doing the rounds during this art festival. It is an entire weekend filled with exhibitions, celebrations and concerts.
Cost: There are various ticket packages available, from day passes to weekend passes. Prices start at ISK 6900. For more information check out the LungA official website or purchase your tickets at Tix.is.
If you’re looking for another truly authentic Iceland music festival Brædslan is the route to go. This festival presents you with everything the local talent has to offer and is quite an experience since it is held in an old fishing factory in a tiny fishing town with a population of only 100!
Where: Borgarfjördur Eystri
Cost: Final prices are usually announced closer to the festival dates, but are generally about ISK 9300. Be the first to grab yours when they’re released here.
10. Westman Islands’ National Festival
This might just be one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. And although not just an Iceland music festival, there are many shows and concerts reverberating throughout the natural amphitheatre during this music and culture festival. Pitch your tent and listen to acoustic guitars and sing along to Icelandic folk songs around the massive bonfires.
Cost: Passes start selling at ISK 16 900. You can purchase your tickets at Tix.is.
11. Dark Music Days
This is a fairly new addition to the Iceland music festival circuit. Performances centre around new and contemporary music with lots of experimental sounds and compositions. The festival started with the intention of giving Icelandic composers exposure but has evolved into an incredible mixture of experimental, digital and classical sounds.
Cost: Tickets start selling at ISK 18500. You can grab your tickets on the official Dark Music Days website.
12. Saga Fest
This festival is for all the story lovers among us. Dedicated to the Sagas of the Icelanders this festival brings some of the best art and music the island has to offer. This is definitely a summer music festival you should not miss if you're visiting Iceland in the summer.
Cost: This is probably one of the only festivals that offers a payment plan for tickets. Ultimately tickets will total about €50 for a 3-day pass. You can get your tickets on the official Saga Fest website.
13. Drangey Music Festival
Come and enjoy a variety of musicians from various music genres gathered to perform on this island. This is quite a festive festival since the locals decorate their houses and visitors can enjoy lummur (a common pastry in the traditional cuisine of Iceland that reminds one of a pancake). Just don’t indulge too much before jumping into the natural thermal pool, you don’t want to get cramps.
Cost: Ticket prices are confirmed and made available shortly before the festival.
14. Reykjavik Pride
Yet another festival that’s not a typical Iceland music festival, but offers just as much musical entertainment. Every year tens of thousands gather in the capital to show colourful solidarity for the LGBTQ community.
Cost: Although there are events and shows attached to the festival, the festival itself is free. Tickets for these specific events and shows can be bought at the venues and their ticketing sites. You can get all this information on the official Reykjavik Pride website.
15. Reykjavik Jazz Festival
This is quite a prestigious event that boasts international acts such as Uri Caine as well as local jazz acts. The festival was launched in 1990 and now proudly wears the title as the second longest running music festival in Iceland.
Cost: Tickets start selling at ISK 24900 and there are various ticket combos available. For more information or to purchase go to the official Reykjavik Jazz Festival website.
Enjoy the best festivals in iceland!
It’s clear that there’s no shortage of music festivals in Iceland. If you need transport to and from the various gigs and venues, you can rent a vehicle from Cars Iceland. Or even better, hire a 9 passenger minivan in Iceland and get the party started even before you get to the gig! Now you’re really ready to start ticking off the top 15 music festivals in Iceland!