Off-Venue shows at Iceland Airwaves allow non-ticket holders the chance to experience some of the many acts to grace the festival stage this year, all without paying a single krona.  

What is Iceland Off-Venue?

The evening schedule for Iceland Airwaves is open only to those with an official wristband. These venues, predictably, are known as ‘Official Venues’.  

However, off-venue shows are also an integral part of the festival. These concerts are held throughout the city, from the Hard Rock Cafe to Iðnó cultural centre and even the Reykjavík Art Museum.

As is to be expected, a number of the city’s most beloved bars have also gotten in on the action, scheduling a number of highly anticipated acts.

For instance, Gaukurinn—the city’s favourite LGBTQ/Rock venue—will be hosting Icelandic performers from the likes of surf-sludge pioneers Godchilla, nu-metal band Toy Machine and heavy headbangers, Dead Sea Apple.

Changes to Off-Venue Shows in 2018

With Iceland Airwaves under new management—the festival was purchased by Sena Live in February of this year—the number of off-venue locations has significantly decreased (from 60 to 25), while the nightly fees for those hosting concerts have increased.


See Also: Iceland Airwaves Begins Today


According to the festival’s new CEO, Ísleifur Þórhallsson, this new approach is a largely a consequence of diminished ticket sales, with concert-goers in the past having chosen to prioritise free shows over the main line-up.  

To simultaneously appease the masses and increase ticket sales from the previous years, discounts on food and drink are available for wristband holders at the off-venue concerts, as well as access to newly introduced special events. These include the 20th Anniversary Party and an opening ceremony at Grund, a retirement home in 101, starring Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Sóley.

Dillon is an off-venue location for Iceland Airwaves this years. Credit: Dillon Facebook.

Notable Off-Venue Locations

Dillon: With its dark, timber interior and wide selection of hard spirits, Iceland’s favourite whiskey bar have crammed in a huge number of artists this year, including the glam 80s inspired Retro Mutants and the mysterious Electropop maestro, Mighty Bear.

Lucky Records: This colourful, vinyl paradise is hosting a blend of local and international acts during the festival run, from Icelandic rapper Cell 7 to the self-described dance/synth/theatrical-metal/shit-indie/perv-pop band, Big Gorgeous, hailing from San Francisco. Lucky Records’ intimate stage is sure to provide a concert to remember!

Kex Hostel: This eccentrically decorated hostel/bar famously hosts live-broadcasts, known as KEXP, during Iceland Airwaves, and this year will be showcasing such local performers as rock-duo Bagdad Brothers and the multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds, as well as the Dublin-heralded quintet Fontaines DC.

Slippbarinn: This cosy restaurant bar will be hosting two of the biggest upcoming names in Icelandic hip-hop, GKR (winner of the Reykjavik Grapevine’s ‘Artist of the Year’ award in 2017) and JóiPé & Króli, who took the country by storm last year with their single B.O.B.A.

The full schedule for off-venue shows can be found here.