Iceland is in hot water these days. Aside from the Wall Street financial crisis bringing the country to the brink of national bankruptcy, this was certainly not the case in the music and new media business in bustling Reykjavik, the capital of this island nation.
At this time each year, Iceland and Reykjavik host one of the most interesting music events in Europe in the form of the Airwaves Festival, that sees some 200 bands and artists playing in the Icelandic capital over 3 days. Last weekend was the culmination of the Airwaves Festival, and also the opportunity for the Icelandic music industry to stage their annual and important music and cross platform new media conference called “You Are in Control“.
The event was opened by the Icelandic radio legend and vinyl enthusiast Andrea Jónsdóttir, and brought a number of music execs in from London, Budapest, New York and Los Angeles. Speakers included Avril Lavigne manager and Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride, Mike Walsh of XFM Radio, former Sugarcube leader Einar Orn Benediktsson, Paul Brindley of Music Ally and Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News.
Despite the financial gloom, there was much optimism and excitement about the state of musicianship and interesting new acts fomenting and making early waves in Reykjavik, which continues to show amazing vigour for new music and creativity.
One of the Icelandic companies garnering a lot of attention is social networking site and music platform called GogoYoko whose CEO, Haukur Magnusson hosted an event that attracted a big crowd to the “Dead” fashion boutique to show the music professionals their new platform. General reaction was strong and the consensus suggested that GogoYoko reflected the high level of web creativity that seems to have becom a hallmark from Iceland.
The event was organised by the indefatigable Anna Hildur, who has been an extraordinary and energetic protagonist for Icelandic music exports and responsible for significantly raising the international profile of the high levels of musicianship that seem to be common in this island nation of 320,000 Icelanders. It might have been cold outside, but in the many venues hosting Airwaves Festival bands, the tempo and vibe was hot and interesting. In its 10th year, the Airwaves Festival has established itself as an increasingly important event for newly emerging bands from the USA, Europe and Iceland.
Till next time…