Breathtaking views, natural hot springs and a diverse itinerary of the most cutting-edge electronic music on the planet are just some of the compelling reasons why clubbers from all over Europe (and beyond) should flock to Reykjavik this weekend.
After setting up shop in February last year, Sonar Reykjavik returns 13th — 16th February to present another instalment of Barcelona’s marquee clubbing fixture to Europe’s most scarcely-populated country. Unlike the sprawling excess found within the buzzing Catalan climes of its mother city during June — with its many unofficial parties circling the massive main events — Sonar Reykavik, one of six similar programmes dotted about the globe throughout the year (including Stockholm, Tokyo, Mexico and Cape Town), is, unsurprisingly, a little more understated, residing in probably the most tranquil capital city in Europe.
“Sónar Reykavik is meant to be a small exclusive festival portraying the best of the Sonar Barcelona when it comes to music,” says Björn Steinbekk, the man behind the festival. “It’s also about the local talent. Giving local artists the chance to perform in a high level production in connection with an international brand.”
Taking place over stages of various sizes found inside the town’s prestigious Harpa Concert House, for the occasion transformed into five booming halls of iniquity, including one underground car park, where indie-pop band FM Belfast, Örvar Smáreyjarson Þóreyjarson of Múm and Kompakt’s textured techno act GusGus are just a few internationally recognised artists batting for the homegrown scene at Iceland’s flagship dance event.
Elsewhere on the bill, a mixture of electronic heavyweights cross paths with less represented local names like techno’s Exos and female rapper Cell7. The inclusion of Diplo, Trentemøller, Jon Hopkins, Bonobo, Daphni, Paul Kalkbrenner and James Holden, in true Sonar style, nods towards a music scene engaging in all sorts of dance styles as long as they are edgy and distinctive in their own right.
“We try to keep it as broad as possible inside the definition of electronic and electronic indie music,” Bjorn points out. “Iceland has always been strong when it comes to dance music but it’s a melting pot, and sometimes it’s hard to put a stamp on the music that is flowing at the moment.”
Volcanic springs are not the only things bubbling under this city and Sonar Reykjavik is the ultimate way to not only discover, but also bask in it.