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Iceland Airwaves returns with Live from Reykjavik

The team behind Iceland Airwaves has announced the return of streaming event Live from Reykjavïk in lieu of the brand’s flagship festival.

The festival was expected to take place in Iceland’s capital this November but was called off for a second consecutive year due to the pandemic.

Instead, organisers have announced the second edition of Live from Reykjavik which, this year, will be reduced from two days to one and will take place as a hybrid event.

Sixteen international and domestic acts including John Grant, Ásgeir, Laufey, GDRN and Daughters of Reykjavík will perform across four iconic Reykjavïk venues on Saturday 6 November.

Due to the current gathering and safety restrictions, fans can only purchase tickets to one venue

The venues – Iðnó, Gamla Bío, Gaukurinn and Frikirkjan – will host small live audiences but due to the current gathering and safety restrictions, fans can only purchase tickets to one location.

The global live stream, provided by NovaTV, will open at 20:00 GMT on the same day and remain open for 24 hours.

Tickets are available worldwide from Wednesday 20 October.

Iceland Airwaves will return to the capital from 2-5 November 2022.

 


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Iceland Airwaves 2021 cancelled due to new restrictions

Iceland Airwaves has been cancelled for a second consecutive year due to “new and ongoing Covid-19 measures imposed by the government”.

The festival was expected to return to Reykjavík in November this year after being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic but organisers say the current restrictions “render a multi-venue, multi-capacity, standing event, such as Iceland Airwaves impossible to produce”.

The new measures, just delivered by the local authorities, will see venues capped at 500 people per section, all of whom must be assigned a seat as guests are not allowed to face each other.

The government is also introducing mandatory rapid tests, which must be taken within 48 hours of the event, for everyone attending an event.

Events that do not require attendees to be seated or to take a test cannot have more than 200 people in each section.

The news comes months after the Icelandic government abolished all temporary regulations relating to the coronavirus, as the country was reaching a vaccination rate of 90% in adults.

“It seems these new measures are here for the indefinite future”

“Despite Iceland approaching a vaccination rate of over 90%, the Icelandic government has, to date, not laid out any plan to get large-scale music events started again,” reads a statement from the organisers.

It continues: “It seems these new measures are here for the indefinite future and everything regarding the execution of, and access to the obligatory rapid tests is still unclear. This means that for the time being, planning any all large-scale events in Iceland is not possible.

“Even though it is our belief that events like Iceland Airwaves can now be executed in a safe and responsible manner, using all available safety measures, the authorities apparently disagree. It goes without saying, the team at Airwaves is devastated to have to move the festival for yet another year.”

According to the Reuters Covid-19 tracker, infections are actually decreasing in Iceland, with 73 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 62% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on August 5.

Arlo Parks, Sad Night Dynamite, Eydís Evensen, Bartees Strange, Daði Freyr, Daughters of Reykjavík, Metronomy, Mammút, Squid, Dry Cleaning, Porridge Radio, Black Pumas and more were due to perform at Iceland Airwaves 2021.

The festival will return to Reykjavïk from 2-5 November 2022. Visit icelandairwaves.is for more information.

 


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Will Larnach-Jones, Iceland Airwaves

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Laura Nagtegaal, guitar technician and tour manager at MsGyver, here.


Will Larnach-Jones
him/he/his
Managing director and head of bookings, Iceland Airwaves
London, UK/Reykjavík, Iceland
will@icelandairwaves.is

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
I felt quite fearless with The Presets and the campaign around their 2008 album Apocalypso. It was a zeitgeist moment for the band in Australia, and some other markets. I was galvanised in my belief in the band’s music and its potential, and my conviction could not be broken.

We cracked commercial radio when no one said we would, and the album entered the charts at #1, hit triple platinum, sold more than 150,000 tickets in Australia across two tours, did all the major festivals around the world, ARIA Album of the Year, J Awards album of the Year, APRA Songwriter of the Year and so on.

I walked over fire and ice with that band. It was luck, timing and amazingly talented guys to work with, and while it was a real rollercoaster, it’s a time I now look back on with real pride.

 

“Your life journey as a queer person has equipped you with more problem solving, truth-seeking, empathy and lateral thinking”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I often hear of deals in the straight world being struck on the golf course, or over long boozy lunches. This is a world I’ve never been a part of. You won’t find me out boozing with the lads. At the end of the day, I guess I’d rather let my work and my passion speak for themselves.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Your life journey as a queer person has equipped you with more problem solving, truth-seeking, empathy and lateral thinking than many other people. You see cultural connections and musical threads where others may not. Trust and follow your instincts and passions.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
More visibility of queer and under-represented professionals at an executive level. I really struggled to find queer mentors and individuals to look up to as I fumbled my way through my early years in the industry.

“The generation of execs who have led out of fear, favouritism and deplorable morals is coming to the end of the road”

A cause you support.
I’ve invested a lot of energy in working with PRS’s Keychange programme over the past four years, striving for better representation of the gender spectrum in the music industry.

I’m pleased that with the campaign in Iceland, the number of signatories has grown hugely in the last six months. Again, as a festival we like to show, not tell. We are always pushing ourselves to be more representational, and with so much talent out there, it’s not hard.

What does the near future of the industry look like?
Without bullies and dinosaurs. The generation of execs who have led out of fear, favouritism and deplorable morals is coming to the end of the road.

I remember sitting in meetings with phones thrown against walls, promoters calling me to tell me “you are nothing,” having strips torn off me about an artist’s physical appearance. I won’t tolerate any of this shit anymore, and I think the rest of the industry is finally seeing that you can be good at your job and still be a kind person.

How would you like to see the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
It’s been humanising for all of us, in a good way. The highs and lows of the last twelve months have given us insight into each other’s lives like never before – Zoom calls with people’s bookshelves, dogs, sweaty post workouts, kids etc. It’s forced us all to prioritise better, and I hope we don’t forget this as we head back to ‘normalcy’.

 


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LGBTIQ+ List 2021: This year’s queer pioneers revealed

IQ Magazine’s highly-anticipated LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – the first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – can now be revealed.

The landmark list is the jewel in the crown of IQs first-ever Pride edition, which was published on Monday (28 June) and followed by our Loud and Proud agency-curated playlist.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The inaugural cohort comprises agents, promoters, COOs, CEOs, event producers, wellness specialists, tour managers and more, all of whom identify as LGBTIQ+ and, in the face of adversity, have made enormous contributions to their respective sectors.

“IQ received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials”

In no particular order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 is:

Steven Braines, co-founder, He.She.They (UK)
Sean Hill, director of tour marketing, UTA (UK)
Zoe Williamson, agent, UTA (US)
Will Larnach-Jones, managing director/head of bookings, Iceland Airwaves (IE)
Raven Twigg, promoter assistant, Metropolis Music/founder, Women Connect (UK)
Nadu Placca, global event & experience architect, The Zoo XYZ (UK)
Maxie Gedge, Keychange project manager, PRS Foundation (UK)
Mark Fletcher, CEO, Manchester Pride (UK)
Maddie Arnold, associate promoter, Live Nation (UK)
Lauren Kirkpatrick, promoter assistant, DF Concerts (UK)
Laura Nagtegaal, guitar technician and tour manager, MsGyver (NL)
Joanne Croxford, wellness + diversity specialist/ live touring/ tour assistant (UK)
James Murphy, chief operating officer North America, See Tickets (US)
Guy Howes, music partnerships executive, CAA (UK)
Doug Smith, SVP field operations UK & Ireland, Ticketmaster (UK)
Chris Ibbs, agent, CAA (UK)
Rach Millhauser, coordinator, Wasserman Music (US)
Austin Sarich, director of touring, Live Nation (US)
Daniel Brown, event producer/programmer, Birmingham Pride (UK)
Rauha Kyyrö, head promoter, Fullsteam Agency (FI)

“I never imagined I’d be so thrilled to see my inbox soar into triple digits – that is until we opened nominations for the LGBTIQ+ List 2021,” says IQ staff writer Lisa Henderson, who guest edited the Pride issue. “We received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials from across the business but, thanks to the help of our revered steering committee, we’ve ended up with 20 exemplary individuals who continually prove that diversity is the industry’s greatest strength.”

Full profiles of the individuals on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 will appear online in the coming weeks. However, subscribers can read the entire feature in the Pride edition (issue 101) of IQ Magazine now.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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90%-vaccinated Iceland lifts all restrictions

The government of Iceland has abolished all temporary regulations relating to the coronavirus, including restrictions on mass gatherings and the requirement to wear masks and socially distance, as the pandemic effectively comes to an end in the Scandinavian country.

In contrast to the likes of Denmark and Sweden, which are crawling towards a return to normal activity, Icelanders no longer have any restrictions on their freedom as of midnight on Friday 25/Saturday 26 June. Some 87% of adults in the country, which has a tiny population of less than 400,000, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 60% are fully vaccinated (having received both jabs).

With all adults now having been offered the vaccine, “government plans for the vaccination programme and the lifting of restrictions on gatherings have therefore been completed”, according to the Icelandic government.

“We are regaining the kind of society which we feel normal living in, and we have longed for ever since [emergency legislation] was activated because of the pandemic more than a year ago, on 16 March 2020,” says health minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir, who adds that decision to lift all restrictions is in line with recommendations of Iceland’s chief epidemiologist.

At press time, Iceland had only 23 active cases of Covid-19, with just one person in a serious or critical condition.

“We are confident our contact-tracing capabilities will prove sufficient to handle any new outbreaks”

Víðir Reynisson, Iceland’s head of civil protection, says that while “small clusters of infection may [re]appear in future], he is “confident that our contact-tracing capabilities, with the public’s willingness to abide by both quarantine and isolation requirements, will prove sufficient to handle any new outbreaks.”

As of Friday, there were 12 people in isolation due to testing positive for Covid-19. Currently, the dominant domestic strain of the disease, which has just killed just one person this year, is the Alpha (‘Kent’/‘British’) variant.

“The contact tracing and quarantine efforts here in Iceland seem to have contained its transmission to a similar level as the original variant, with slightly more than 5% of quarantined individuals turning out to have been infected, regardless of which sub-type of the virus we have been dealing with,” comments chief epidemiologist Thorolfur Gudnason.

From 1 July, new rules on border screening come into force, exempting travellers from testing if they can produce a certificate of full vaccination.

This means it’s full steam ahead for Iceland’s remaining festivals, even those which welcome a large number of international visitors, such as Iceland Airwaves. (Iceland’s other main international festival, Secret Solstice, has already postponed to 2022.)

From 1 July travellers are exempt from border testing if they can produce certificate of full vaccination

Airwaves, taking place 3–6 November, will feature performances by the likes of Arlo Parks, Metronomy, Black Pumas, Sad Night Dynamite, Bartees Strange, Sin Fang, Vök, Daughters of Reykjavik and Mammút, marking a welcome return to a physical festival after last year’s Live from Reykjavik livestreaming event.

The popular festival has also announced a new partnership with Japanese ticketing technology firm Zaiko that sees a digital festival offering, Iceland Airwaves Japan, launch with 15 on-demand live performances available to fans in Japan.

Iceland Airwaves Japan will stream content throughout the year, culminating in giving fans the opportunity to go to the festival in person or online. After the event, they can relive their favourite moments through video content, access exclusive after-parties and check out performances they missed.

Zaiko’s founder and CEO, Malek Nasser, says: “As someone who has enjoyed music festivals for over ten years, not to mention worked for many of Japan’s best festivals, I am excited to come together with Iceland Airwaves to bring the festival format into the digital event world. I believe this collaboration will become a model for the entire industry on how festivals can connect with fans year-round.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Iceland Airwaves releases volcano-watching soundtrack

Iceland Airwaves has put together a Spotify playlist to soundtrack the spectacular eruption of a volcano at Geldingadalur, on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, which started on 19 March and at press time is still ongoing.

Featuring the likes of the B-52s’ ‘Lava’, John Grant’s ‘Magma Arrives’, Carole King’s ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ and Björk’s paean to Iceland, ‘Jóga’, the playlist – billed as ‘some cool tunes to enjoy while Iceland heats up’ – is intended to accompany visuals of the eruption, which is being livestreamed by Iceland’s state broadcaster, RÚV, and can be watched in real time above.

“If you don’t know what soundtrack best suits a volcanic eruption, we have you covered,” says the showcase festival, which returns to Reyjkavik from 3 to 6 November 2021. Four-day festivals passes for Iceland Airwaves 2021 are on sale now, priced from 17,990 kr. (€120).

While the eruption at Geldingadalur could, according to geologists, continue for weeks, months or even years, volcanoes in south-west Iceland do not typically produce much ash, meaning it is not expected to affect air travel – unlike in 2010, when the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption ruined a number of international tours.

Listen to Iceland Airwaves’ volcano-watching playlist below:


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Live from Reykjavik: A Rey of light

After a strict lockdown in March, and a huge effort to contain Covid with track-and-trace measures and widespread testing, it felt like Iceland and its live music scene was gearing up to return to normal for the second half of 2020.

Then the second wave hit, bringing in measures that rendered live shows next to impossible – strict curfews, distancing rules, and significant reductions on gatherings. While Iceland Airwaves, which was scheduled for 4 to 7 November, had been optimistic about going ahead in real life, we were forced to pivot quickly.

Thus, Live from Reykjavik was developed – a two-day virtual Iceland Airwaves. For this edition, the decision was to focus entirely on local talent and to use the moment to showcase Icelandic music to the world.

Given the situation this year, there was an unprecedented number of Icelandic acts “at home”. It was important for us to give this special edition a real Icelandic focus. The idea for the stream event was to combine some better-known names with some newer artists, or artists who had yet to enjoy significant exposure outside of Iceland. We’re spoilt for choice in Iceland; the musical talent in this country and the creative output is oversized in comparison to its population.

Iceland Airwaves has, for many years, worked to balance gender in its programming. Reaching the pledge in 2018 (and having worked to this brief before Keychange’s inception) meant that it felt entirely natural to bring the same approach to the digital space.

When it came to finding gender parity in the stream, it felt like an easy choice for us. The remit for Iceland Airwaves has always been talent first, not meeting quotas. We choose who we believe to be the best talent out there, and we believe as a festival there’s more than enough talent across the gender spectrum for us to make balanced choices.

Nanna from Of Monsters and Men and Emilíana Torrini have been some of Iceland’s biggest success stories. For bands working hard to break through internationally, we had so much strong and diverse talent to choose from: the dark synthwave of all-female trio Kælan Mikla, the jazz-nflected cool soul of GDRN, longtime Airwaves rockers Mammút, the sucker-punch delivery of rapper Cell7, and Bríet, who’s currently Iceland’s most popular radio artist.

The response from viewers to the performances and how they were captured was phenomenal

Many of these artists are award-winning performers at home, and leaders in their respective genres and on top of their game, so it’s no surprise that many of them are part of the Keychange programme.

The four core team members were also split evenly, gender wise. Over 50% of the team leaders from our stakeholders and sponsors were female. While the production and film crew was predominantly male, the chief producer/director on the film side was female.

As with any other year of our festival, gender equality is part of our identity and the Keychange gender pledge is an important marker of success for us. I would encourage all music organisations to get involved and to keep monitoring representation, so we’re all, as an industry, working towards wider progress and sustainability together – whatever your genre, sector or location.

For Live from Reykjavik, it was was important to select performers who had honed their live shows and that were willing to embark on this adventure with us, stepping up to the challenge of performing with no audience and being filmed in such an intimate way.

The artists were filmed in some of the venues and spaces we normally use for Iceland Airwaves, such as Gamla Bío, Iðnó and the Reykjavík Art Museum. We also went further afield with Bæjarbíó in Hafnarfjörður, and to a couple of recording studios. We had around 90,000 viewers, including around 12,000 from outside of Iceland.

As a boutique festival, Iceland Airwaves typically enjoys 4,000–5,000 international visitors per year, so we were very happy with this as a first step into streaming/broadcast. The response from viewers to the performances and how they were captured was phenomenal – we’ve learned so much from the event.

We know that while not everyone can attend Iceland Airwaves each year, many people are keen to stay in touch with the festival and the Icelandic music scene, and giving some people the option to view online creates more opportunities and excitement for all.

 


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Iceland Airwaves announces streaming festival

The team behind Iceland Airwaves has announced a two-day streaming festival, Live from Reykjavík, taking place on 13–14 November.

The brand’s flagship festival was due to take place in Iceland’s capital this November but was postponed until next year due to the pandemic.

Instead, the festival will assemble some of the country’s most established artists including Of Monsters and Men, Ólafur Arnalds, Ásgeir, Daði Freyr and Júníus Meyvant, for performances in iconic Airwaves venues such as Iðnó, Gamla Bío and Art Museum Reykjavík.

“We wanted to find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast talent of the music scene here in Iceland, as well as support the larger industry and show some innovation,” says festival director Ísleifur Þórhallsson.

“To have all these artists in Iceland at the same time is a ‘lighting strikes once’ moment and we wanted to seize it”

“To have all these artists in Iceland at the same time is a ‘lighting strikes once’ moment, and we wanted to seize it with both hands.”

Performances will be broadcast domestically on TV, radio and online; streamed in the UK and Europe from 19:30 pm GMT, and then across optimised time zones on Nov 13 and 14.

Tickets range from £15 for a standalone show to £30 for a one-day pass and £40 for a two-day pass.

Iceland Airwaves has moved to 3–6 November 2021.

 


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Björk to perform to live audience in August

Björk is performing a series of shows across three consecutive weekends in August in her home country of Iceland, to celebrate the start of the country’s post-coronavirus reopening.

The shows, which are organised in conjunction with showcase festival Iceland Airwaves, will see the singer perform at Reykjavík’s 1,800-capacity Harpa Hall on 9, 15 and 23 August. The performances will be some of the first from a major artist in front of a live audience since the coronavirus shutdown.

“Dear friends, I would like to invite you to some concerts,” reads a statement from Björk. “We are going to celebrate that we are all healthily exiting quarantine together.”

Björk also states the concerts aim to honour “folks who got hit hardest [by] the coronavirus and the black lives matter movement”, as well as acting as a celebration of the Icelandic musicians that Björk has worked with over the years.

“We are going to celebrate that we are all healthily exiting quarantine together”

Each concert will showcase new instrumental arrangements of scores from Björk’s back catalogue. Björk will perform alongside the Hamrahlid Choir on 9 August and will be accompanied by the Icelandic symphony orchestra on the other two dates.

The concerts will also be streamed live online, where there will an option to donate to women’s shelter Kvennaathvarfid. For those attending in person, money raised from food and drink sales will go to the shelter.

Björk had been set to perform special orchestral shows at Moscow’s Crocus Music Hall and Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena this summer, as well as at festivals Waldbühne Open Air in Germany, Siene Musicale in France and Bluedot festival in the UK, before the pandemic put a halt on global touring.

Tickets for the Harpa Hall shows are available for pre-order on 2 July at 10 a.m. GMT, with general sale commencing on 3 July. Tickets will be priced in five tiers, starting at ISK4,990 (€32).

Iceland Airwaves is taking place from 4 to 7 November in Reykjavík, featuring acts including Metronomy, Courtney Barrett, Black Pumas, Squid and Iceland’s Daði Freyr.

 


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Keychange 2.0 unveiled at Reeperbahn Festival

Artists Kate Nash and Peaches revealed details of the next phase of music industry gender parity project Keychange at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg today (19 September).

A presentation, hosted by Kate Nash and Peaches alongside Pitchfork editor Puja Patel, laid out the foundations for the next four-year stage of the project. A new management structure, headed up by lead partner Reeperbahn Festival, was also announced.

The news follows the recent announcement that the gender balance initiative received €1.4 million in funding from the European Commission.

Keychange 2.0 will support 216 music creators and industry professionals – 74 each year – from countries including Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The participants will take part in a talent development programme of showcases, panels, workshops, training sessions, networking events and creative labs at 13 festivals across Europe and Canada, including two full network meetups in February and September.

A global database will list all participants and the more than 250 signatories to Keychange’s 50/50 gender-balanced line-up pledge, as well as a mentoring scheme, Keychange conference, online resources, ambassadors and an expanded management team.

“Its encouraging to see all these organisations involved with Keychange because it means that things can finally start to change,” says Nash. “Music is about feeling part of a community and feeling included – it’s about being seen and heard.”

“Its encouraging to see all these organisations involved with Keychange because it means that things can finally start to change”

An open call for Keychange 2.0 participants will launch in October 2019 through the initiative’s website. “Innovative and boundary-pushing” applicants from all partner countries are encouraged to apply. Six participants will be selected per country – three artists and three industry professionals.

Reeperbahn Festival, alongside other leading festival partners from each country – Iceland Airwaves (Iceland), BIME (Spain), Oslo World (Norway), Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), Ireland Music Week (Ireland), Way Out West (Sweden), Linecheck (Italy), Liverpool Sound City (UK), Spring Break (Poland) Mutek (Canada), BreakOut West (Canada) and MAMA (France) – will each host six to twelve international Keychange participants.

“With Keychange 1.0, we have been addressing the necessity of gender equality in the music business since 2017,” comments Reeperbahn chief executive Alex Schulz.

“Phase 2.0 not only extends Pledge 2022 for balanced line-ups in festivals to other organisations and music sub-markets, but also expands our mentoring programmes and workshops as well as the European database, so that our innovators and artists can implement the transformative power of Keychange in the best possible way and carry it out into the world.”

Reeperbahn will work closely with Keychange founder PRS Founder and Sweden’s Musikcentrum Öst to lead Keychange 2.0.

 


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