Iceland Airwaves Daily Blog (11/7): Closing Thoughts

This week in Reykjavík has been insane and I’m grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had. Throughout this week, I interacted with all kinds of different people, completed five interviews in a city I didn’t know, and stumbled upon endless inspiration for my own art.

Tuesday, the day the class had interviews for our During and Final stories, was a great day. Although it was stressful running around Reykjavík, my interviews were very rewarding. All of my interviewees were so genuinely kind and relaxed. Our interviews were more like conversations and I felt comfortable even though I was in a foreign country. Even though most of the class was up until six and seven in the morning producing our During pieces, I’m proud of our work.


My favorite part of the trip was getting to see the Björk Digital exhibit at Harpa. I read about the exhibit this summer but never thought I would get the chance to see it. I didn’t even know it was opening in Reykjavík the week we were there, so it was incredible to be able to see it. Björk’s art means a lot to me, but what was so cool about the experience of the exhibit was my entire class was blown away by it. It was special to share my passion for Björk with them.


The best shows I saw this week were Kristin Thora, Kelsey Lu and Frankie Cosmos. Kristin Thora and Lucy Lu were completely new find for me. They blew my mind with their artistry and musicianship, and I think they were some of the most talented people at Airwaves. I had never seen Frankie Cosmos live, and the show was super fun. In Chicago, Frankie Cosmos sells out, but here in Reykjavík, I was able to be front row in a crowd of 50.

I am so inspired by the young bands at Airwaves- the ones who have only played a few shows and maybe don’t have a “professional” presence online- because it’s the most real kind of music one can see. Like SXSW, Airwaves hosts tons of tiny shows at every hour and I’ve really enjoyed being able to walk into a coffee shop and be in an audience of 20 people. The ease at which one can access music should not be taken for granted.

SXSW has an impressive mix of artists from all over the world, but what’s unique about Airwaves is the particular focus on the local Icelandic artists and bands. Over the week, been thinking about the phenomenon of the high quality of music that comes from Iceland, and what makes it so good.


Thank you so much to my parents for supporting me through this semester, and life in general. Shutout to my classmates for their creativity and encouragement. Thank you to the city of Reykjavík and the Iceland Airwaves team for putting on a welcoming and well-organized music festival. Finally, thank you to my interviewees for helping me learn and grow as a person.

About Sarah Matthews

Columbia College Chicago Arts Management student // 98.7 WFMT Exploring Music Intern
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