Iceland Airwaves 2021 cancelled due to new restrictions


September 2, 2021

Iceland Airwaves has been cancelled for a second consecutive year due to “new and ongoing Covid-19 measures imposed by the government”.

The festival was expected to return to Reykjavík in November this year after being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic but organisers say the current restrictions “render a multi-venue, multi-capacity, standing event, such as Iceland Airwaves impossible to produce”.

The new measures, just delivered by the local authorities, will see venues capped at 500 people per section, all of whom must be assigned a seat as guests are not allowed to face each other.

The government is also introducing mandatory rapid tests, which must be taken within 48 hours of the event, for everyone attending an event.

Events that do not require attendees to be seated or to take a test cannot have more than 200 people in each section.

The news comes months after the Icelandic government abolished all temporary regulations relating to the coronavirus, as the country was reaching a vaccination rate of 90% in adults.


“Despite Iceland approaching a vaccination rate of over 90%, the Icelandic government has, to date, not laid out any plan to get large-scale music events started again,” reads a statement from the organisers.

It continues: “It seems these new measures are here for the indefinite future and everything regarding the execution of, and access to the obligatory rapid tests is still unclear. This means that for the time being, planning any all large-scale events in Iceland is not possible.

“Even though it is our belief that events like Iceland Airwaves can now be executed in a safe and responsible manner, using all available safety measures, the authorities apparently disagree. It goes without saying, the team at Airwaves is devastated to have to move the festival for yet another year.”

According to the Reuters Covid-19 tracker, infections are actually decreasing in Iceland, with 73 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 62% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on August 5.

Arlo Parks, Sad Night Dynamite, Eydís Evensen, Bartees Strange, Daði Freyr, Daughters of Reykjavík, Metronomy, Mammút, Squid, Dry Cleaning, Porridge Radio, Black Pumas and more were due to perform at Iceland Airwaves 2021.

The festival will return to Reykjavïk from 2-5 November 2022. Visit for more information.

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