The Icelandic music scene is thriving and has been for years. You probably know big names in music like Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Rós, Emilíana Torrini, Kaleo, and of course Björk, but Icelandic music has a lot more to offer. Would you like to discover local talent during your stay in Iceland? In this article, we will tell you where to go.
Húrra is a casual bar and concert venue in downtown Reykjavík. Metal fans know this is the place to be for a good concert. People enjoying electronic music, jazz, rock and burlesque shows will also find what they’re looking for. They even organise karaoke nights! Overall, bands playing there will be more alternative and out of the box. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and it’s a good place to meet new people.
Mengi is a small concert venue and art centre located on Óðinsgata operated, created and managed by artists. Their focal point is experimental, contemporary and classical music. You can go there for live music, performances, art, exhibitions and conferences. It’s a meeting ground for creative minds, and often shows hosted at Mengi are an amalgam of different genres and art forms. Mengi also runs a recording studio, record label and record store.
Harpa is a large concert hall and conference centre housing the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the offices of the Icelandic Opera, who also perform there. It has four concert halls, and meeting rooms for groups of all sizes. It’s a popular venue for classical performances, but Harpa also hosts all kinds of live concerts, art exhibitions and theatre shows. Located on Reykjavík’s coastline, it is an impressive landmark with a beautiful light show in winter.
Gaukurinn is an inclusive bar, welcoming people from all walks of life. Go here for rock and roll, electronic and pop concerts, drag shows, poetry nights, pub quizzes, karaoke, and stand-up comedy. Their programme reflects their general motto of celebrating diversity and ensuring a friendly and open space for everyone. And if you’re hungry, you can grab delicious vegan junk food at Veganæs, a small joint serving burgers and more inside Gaukurinn until 21:00 on all days except Monday.
The Nordic House
The Nordic House, designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, is a cultural institution just outside of the downtown area of Reykjavík. It opened in 1968 and is operated by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Its goal is to strengthen cultural connections between Iceland and other Nordic countries. It organises a diverse programme of cultural events and exhibitions. It’s also a venue for film and literature festivals, The Nordic Fashion Biennale and Iceland Airwaves.
Classical music enthusiasts should make a beeline for Salurinn in Kópavogur, one of Reykjavík’s neighbouring towns. It is Iceland’s first specially designed concert hall, built in 1999. Since then, two-weekly concerts have been held, along with many conferences and other events. Salurinn seats 300 people, offering comfortable chairs and good sound quality in an intimate setting.