Most people seem to end up here by accident. Some of them are transit-ting, some of them just have a bad sense of direction. I met an American girl who was in a New York supermarket looking for her biological mother, when she took a wrong turn and ended up in downtown Reykjavik.
Airwaves seems to attract a much more purposeful type of tourist. They have maps and apps and GPS systems. They have rendezvous’, and they talk in 24 hour time. They get their coffees to take-away.
I spend a lot of time wandering around, looking at the sky and thinking about birds. Especially puffins. When an Icelandic person catches me they usually ask: “Yes, but why here?”
Because, I love the sheep in Iceland. They look ridiculous. Like badly-poached egg whites running around on legs. The wool from these sheep is used to make sweaters which, if possible, look even more ridiculous. But every time I see those sweaters on an Icelandic girl, its hard not to go weak at the knees. Iceland also has an air of mystery to it. When we hired a car the rental company gave us a map of the country. 75 percent of it was covered by a big, grey sticker and a sign saying “DO NOT GO HERE”. That is sexy.
It’s easy to forget all this when the weather starts up. The wind whips at your face and puddles lie waiting for you like Nile crocodiles. The line for Beach house stretches right around the corner. The people at the front of the line are in a different postcode than the people at the back of the line, and all of them are huddled in the rain. But if it wasn’t for this sort of weather then we probably wouldn’t have an Airwaves. If it was warm and sunny every day then no-one would go inside to play music, we’d all be sitting outside watching the girls in their sweaters.
The music scene here is amazing. It goes deep. And people here seem open to playing with anyone. I have been involved with music scenes where people will only talk to you if your hair partss to the left and your name starts with a vowel.
There is much more to love about Iceland than just the music scene. But the music scene is something that everyone agrees on. When tourists climb off the plane they tend to ask the same sort of questions.
“How did we get here again?”, or “Why didn’t I bring a jumper?”.
They look around, confused and awestruck. “We’re in Iceland”.
When Airwaves is going, the locals reply: “Of course you are.”
By Robert Skinner