Bands going wild in Reykjavik Iceland. But not all are making a buck. PIC Charlyn Wee

Bands going wild in Reykjavik Iceland. But not all are making a buck. PIC Charlyn Wee

You may or may not have heard about the Iceland Airwaves music festival. It is probably the biggest music festival in Iceland or Reykjavik to be exact.

For total novices Iceland Airwaves is a yearly event when every goddamn joint in downtown Reykjavik city offers up some live music. Great idea no? Well, not so fast. Certainly great for music journalists, ecstasy users and those willing and able to shake their butts all over the floor for a n evening. But it can also be a tiny bit boring for all those out for relaxation after a tiring day full of tours and stuff. After all, a place not throwing some loud live music your way is hard to come by.

Another thing wrong with the event is what is called off-venue. You see, the planners pick the cream of places to host the best known local bands and any artist not on that list has to find some other spot to step up and get his voice heard. And since the theme of Iceland Airwaves is to introduce the best and freshest of local music in Iceland this can mean the very best new bands or artist often have to make do with an off-venue. Problem is, off-venue does not pay as opposed to on-venue.

In fact, one of Iceland´s best solo artist, Peter Ben (seen below), warns against this in a Facebook post and rightly so. Reason being that of the rather limited number of pubs, bars and venues in downtown Reykjavik only half is officially an Iceland Airwaves venue. Half is off. Yet, judging from articles about the festival in recent years, it is precisely the off-venue artists that sometimes get the best and most coverage.

Some might be tempted to now say that such exposure is worth its weight in gold for the artist and no other compensation is needed. True enough for the lucky artist but while one or two might be so lucky fifty more get nothing. Not very fair in our view.

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