Iceland Airwaves 2019: The New Homegrown Icons

Iceland Airwaves 2019: The New Homegrown Icons

Iceland Airwaves 2020

Iceland Airwaves 2020

Reykjavík, Islande

During the 1990s, in the midst of what could be a considered a domestic 'crisis', teenage crime rates in Iceland rose exponentially. I suppose the lack of activities and opportunities for young adults, compounded by the stark, cold weather meant that idle hands were the devil's plaything, as the saying goes. 

Rather than vilify and shun their youth, however, the Icelandic government took the opportunity transform frustrations into a positive force by investing extensively into music and arts programmes for that generation and subsequent generations to utilise their time in a creative manner. 

Iceland Airwaves is arguably a culmination of the carefully nurtured culture that followed, offering an international platform to display the country's flourishing, expressionistic talent; the majority of the lineup is homegrown, and even more impressive that there's an even gender split. 

The country has a series of cultural exports in the shape of the phenomenal Björk, Ólafur Arnalds, and Of Monsters And Men (who headline the festival this year), so we've picked out the artists appearing on this year's diverse lineup looking to follow in their footsteps:



Counting Lapalux amongst her collaborative alumni, prolific multi-instrumentalist Jófríður Ákadóttir aka JDFR synapses to and from chilly electronica and enchanting folk amongst a myriad of other influences, creating a textured landscape to keep her affecting, ethereal vocals afloat. 

Formerly of electronic three-piece Samaris, JDFR is involved in numerous projects encompassing various genres. Dubbed 'Artist Of The Year' in 2018 by the local publications, however, it's her solo efforts that have made the greatest impact to date.


Una Stef & The SP74


A Reykjavik native, Una Stef's powerful, soulful voice doesn't ring true with the typically glacial indie-pop artists that Iceland is renowned for producing, making her all the more unique.

Pioneering an entirely new funk and soul scene domestically, her smooth yet raw, restrained yet evocative vocals (lauded as "one of the greatest vocalists in Icelandic music history”, no less) could comfortably call a classic Daptone Records compilation home. Luckily, she's an ascending artist in full bloom, with the best yet to come.




Nordic black metal bands ordinarily have a penchant for mythical, opulent tales, and in this respect Auðn don't differ. Thematically, however, they're far more introspective, drawing from experiences living in an isolated, mystic tundra.

Having won an emerging artists competition to perform at heavy metal mecca Wacken Open Air, the five-piece are beginning to establish themselves further afield. With an impending album due for release, it may be the time that their brand of atmospheric metal, forged in the land of the ice and snow, will reach new shores. 




Pop stars born of Icelandic heritage aren't precisely what you'd refer to as 'the norm'; heir to the throne of Icelandic pop, Hildur, is exactly that. 

Classically trained as a cellist, she governs most aspects of her songwriting which allows her quirky, colourful personality to prosper in her compositions that are equally empowered (as an outspoken gender rights activist) as they are emotive.


Joe and the Shitboys


Ok, technically not originating from the Iceland's frozen shores, this rambunctious five-piece hail from neighbouring rock the Faroe Islands. Applying a similarly laissez faire, comedic DIY-punk approach to Australian reprobates The Chats (see: 'Smoko'), their snarling, almost thread-bare tracks pack a punch considering the average song-length clocks in around a minute.

Clearly having a lark, their uninhibited nature makes for an unpredictable live performance, drawing parallels with sensitive slacker-rock jester Mac DeMarco who also appears on the bill this year.

Iceland Airwaves 2019 takes place in Reykjavik, Iceland on 6-9 November. For further information, take a look at our guide and join the Iceland Airwaves 2019 Waiting List.


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