Iceland Airwaves 2016

cc-icelandFrom October 30 to November 7, 2016, Columbia College students — including Radio, Television, International Arts Management, Multimedia Photojournalism, Live and Performing Arts, and Cinema Arts + Science majors — will venture to Reykjavík, Iceland, to cover Iceland Airwaves Music Festival via the Covering International Festivals: Iceland course. Here is a collection of their previews, live reviews, artist interviews, podcasts, daily blogs, on-air segments and more from the class and the trip.

Listen to our Iceland Airwaves 2016 Final Radio Documentary in Full Below
By Mackenzie Crosson

In case you missed the live broadcast on January 14th and 15th on WCRX-FM, listen to the full Iceland Airwaves 2016 radio documentary below. With Donald J. Trump being officially inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20th, this year’s students share how our eight days abroad in the progressive country of Iceland widened our perspectives on a variety of topics prevalent here in the U.S. Catch a glimpse of protests that have emerged in Chicago since the election and gain an international perspective on a series of issues and events that have prompted discussion, raised concerns and sparked debates throughout Trump’s journey to the White House. It also features some of the music we reviewed while covering the excellent 2016 Iceland Airwaves Music Festival.

It features the following stories (in order of their appearance in the documentary): Erika Smith discusses Iceland’s multi-party system, Ellie Wright shares details on the country’s housing market concerns, Miranda Sherman investigates the country’s anticipated need for more foreign labor, Kimmy Kaczmarek examines the changing landscape of marriage and family, Francesca Brilli compares the way parental leave is handled in Iceland and the U.S., Sarah Penn takes us through the evolution of Icelandic music, Erin Brown looks at the prevalence of Muslim xenophobia, Mackenzie Crosson speaks to experts on the relationship between geothermal energy and combatting climate change, Adam Miller takes a look at the political issue of campaign finance and Sarah Matthews explores Iceland’s economic development and banking crisis,.

We also covered music from GKRLára Rúnars, Pink Street Boys, Ljóðfæri , Boogie Trouble, Puffin IslandMani OrrasonVökGrúska Babúska, and Agent Fresco during Iceland Airwaves 2016. Read our nightly live show reviews from the trip here.

Thank you to Iceland Airwaves, Columbia College Chicago, WCRX-FM, Althea Legaspi and all of the staff and students that made this experience possible.

You can also check out the daily blogs and live reviews created throughout the trip, as well as the interviews produced during our stay, preview stories and more.


Hear Our Iceland Airwaves 2016 Documentary THIS WEEKEND!

Iceland 2016 class at Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths (pictured L to R clockwise): Adam Miller, Erin Brown, Althea Legaspi, Erika Smith, Sarah Penn, Francesca Brilli, Mackenzie Crosson, Ellie Wright, Miranda Sherman, Sarah Matthews)

Iceland 2016 class at Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths (pictured L to R clockwise): Adam Miller, Erin Brown, Althea Legaspi, Erika Smith, Sarah Penn, Kimmy Kaczmarek, Francesca Brilli, Mackenzie Crosson, Ellie Wright, Miranda Sherman, Sarah Matthews)

by Francesca Brilli

Stay tuned for our Iceland Airwaves 2016 final radio documentary, which will air THIS WEEKEND at 10 a.m. CT, Saturday, January 14th and 15th on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here). In the meantime, check out our live reviews, interviews produced during the Iceland trip, cultural stories, additional interviews  and previews, and listen to our promo below. 

From October 30 to November 7, the Covering International Festivals: Iceland class of 2016 got to immerse ourselves in the progressive culture of Iceland. Upon our return, we began drafting and creating our radio documentary, which shares stories on topics relating to Iceland in comparison with U.S. policies, such as Iceland’s multi-party system, economy, immigration, and climate change, as well as showcasing some of the Icelandic bands the class was able to review. This documentary will feature stories from Ellie WrightErin BrownErika SmithMackenzie Crosson, Miranda ShermanSarah PennKimmy Kaczmarek, Sarah MatthewsAdam Miller  and me, Francesca Brilli.

Listen below to a promo for our final radio documentary, which airs Saturday, January 14th and for an encore presentation on Sunday, January 15th at 10 a.m. on WCRX-FM.


Tune in on Jan. 14-15 for Our Iceland Airwaves 2016 Documentary


by Sarah Penn

We covered Iceland Airwaves Music Festival and other cultural stories over the fall semester. Check out our live reviews, interviews produced during the Iceland trip, cultural stories, additional interviews and previews, and tune into WCRX-FM for our final Radio Documentary on January 14th at 10 a.m. CT (livestream here) and during the encore presentation on January 15th at 10 a.m. CT. While you wait, listen to our promo below. 

Included in the doc: Ten students flew to Reykjavík, Iceland to interview experts on cultural stories and review bands, including GKRLára Rúnars and Agent Fresco, who played at the 2016 Iceland Airwaves Music festival. Cultural stories cover Icelandic topics compared to U.S. policies, from global warming to xenophobia. Stories are by Ellie WrightErin BrownErika SmithMackenzie CrossonFrancesca BrilliMiranda ShermanSarah PennKimmy KaczmarekAdam Miller and Sarah MatthewsListen to a promo for our show below and be sure to tune in January 14-15 at 10 a.m. CT!


Iceland Airwaves 2016 Class Photo Album

by Miranda Sherman

Leading up to Inauguration Day, tune in to our Iceland Airwaves 2016 final radio documentary, which will air on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here) on Friday, January 14th at 10 am CT, which is all about Icelandic versus American social and political policies. An encore presentation will air on January 15th at 10 a.m. CT. In the meantime, take a look at our photo album from the trip.

Check out pictures by our professor Althea Legaspi, and students Adam MillerSarah Matthews, Ellie WrightErin BrownErika SmithMackenzie CrossonFrancesca BrilliSarah Penn, Kimmy Kaczmarek and me, Miranda Sherman.  A few of our favorite stops included: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss WaterfallHarpa Concert Hall, Tapas Barinn, Geysir Hot SpringsLaugarvatn Fontana, Reykjavík University and more!

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Hear the 2016 Iceland Class Blooper Reel

by Ellie Wright

This past semester has been full of hard work, late nights, long days, but most importantly full of laughs. Here is a compilation of mess ups while we worked on voicing our scripts and some of the good times we recorded while we visited Iceland during the Covering International Festivals: Iceland class. Enjoy!




We have arrived! Follow along on our daily adventures: Read our daily blogs, where we’ll be writing about Icelandic culture, read our live reviews of bands at Iceland Airwaves, and conducting interviews for produced cultural stories while in Reykjavík as well as a final radio documentary we’ll produce following our trip. Check out our posts on InstagramTwitterFacebook via our #cccairwaves16 hashtag. You can also check out our preview interviews with Icelandic bands and cultural segments, which were culled prior to our trip.



Listen to our 2016 Iceland Airwaves Preview Show Below

We’re heading to the 2016 Iceland Airwaves Music Festival to cover the fest and cultural stories TOMORROW! Stay tuned right here for our daily blogs during the fest. In the meantime, hear Icelandic cultural stories and band interviews with Mammút, Vök, Mr. Silla, WESEN and others from our hour-long broadcast below, Hosted by Payton Pinsky, the show originally aired on WCRX-FM on Saturday, October 22nd.

Also, check out additional students’ preview interviews with Icelandic bands and cultural segments.



Tune in to our Iceland Airwaves Preview Show Tomorrow, Listen To The Promo Below

by Ellie Wright

Iceland has so much to offer, and we can’t wait to experience it! The Covering International Festivals: Iceland Airwaves class of 2016 will be departing to Reykjavik, Iceland in 9 days. Experience it with us at noon CT tomorrow, Saturday, October 22, on WCRX-FM in Chicago; it will also be streaming live. Check it out to learn about Icelandic culture and bands, including WESEN, Vök, Mr. Silla, Mammut, One Week Wonder, Mani Orrason, Lára Rúnars, Oyama , and rapper GKR.

Listen to the promo below, and check out previews, reviews and more on our Iceland Airwaves 2016 home page!



We’re heading to Iceland Airwaves in less than two weeks! Tune in to WCRX-FM for our preview show with Icelandic band interviews and culture stories at noon CT this Saturday, October 22nd.

Tune in for our Iceland Airwaves 2016 preview show, which will air at noon (CT ) on Saturday, October 22, live on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago and via stream worldwide.

Join us: Ellie WrightErin BrownErika SmithMackenzie CrossonFrancesca BrilliMiranda ShermanSarah PennKimmy Kaczmarek, Adam Miller and Sarah Matthewsfor stories ranging from pool culture and ecosystems to gender neutrality and icy electronica music.

Listen to the promo below, and check out previews, reviews and more on our Iceland Airwaves 2016 home page!


We’re heading to Iceland Airwaves! Here are artist preview teasers by the students heading to this year’s fest. Stay tuned for their interviews with these bands and follow their journey, which begins on October 30, here on our Iceland Airwaves 2016 blog.



Vök preview, by Erin Brown

Icelandic band Vök came about spontaneously and have been on the rise ever since. Founding members Margrét Rán and Andri Már had been simply experimenting with music when they decided to enter a band competition in Iceland. Without having played any other gigs beforehand, they won.

Vök’s music can be related to that of the xx or Poliça, but have formed a path all their own. Vök’s blend of synths, guitar, saxophone and soaring vocals make them unique and magical to listen to, just like the vast and majestic landscape of Iceland is to explore.

Vök’s music videos are just as carefully made as their music and bring out numerous emotions. Their most recent music video for their new single “Waiting” encompasses who they are as a band. In “Waiting,” shots traverse Icelandic landscapes of glaciers and water and colorful rocks with the band. They let viewers see their homeland, and in doing so, viewers see the icy inspirations that could only be heard before.

Vök will be playing at Iceland Airwaves Friday, November 4, at the Reykjavik Art Museum at 9:50 p.m.


GKR preview, by Erika Smith

What does breakfast food have to do with living life to the fullest? Icelandic rapper GKR has an answer. GKR’s hit single “Morgunmatur” is Icelandic for “Breakfast.” It’s all about waking up in the morning, having your breakfast and just doing your thing. GKR just happens to say that while rapping to a sick beat.  With the success of “Morgunmatur” as well as his songs  “Ballin” and “Hello,” GKR was named Reykjavík Grapevine’s “Artist to Watch” 2016. Like all of his music, his most recent single “Tala Um” is also filled with heart. It discusses the expectations people have from the success of “Morgunmatur”and GKR’s big plans moving forward. He hopes to expand his empire, so he can connect with more and more people who listen to his music as a release.

You can turn it up live with GKR at Iceland Airwaves on Wednesday at Valshöllin at 8:50pm and on Friday at Húrra Albumm at 11:20pm.


Oyama preview, by Mackenzie Crosson

An indie noise-rock band from Reykjavík, Oyama is a five-member group that has been making music together since the spring of 2012. With earlier songs off of their EP I Wanna more clearly reflecting their ‘90s alternative rock and shoegaze influences, their LP Coolboy adds more soft and drifting instrumentals to allow listeners an even dreamier experience. Expressive and symbolic lyrics are echoed through the soundscapes and flowing melodies. With this variety, listeners can find their favorite daydream tune or hardcore rock anthem. As 2016 will be Oyama’s fifth consecutive performance at Iceland Airwaves, attendees can expect a showcase of many new songs that are anticipated to be released on their next album coming in 2017.

Catch Oyama at Gaukurinn on Friday, November 4 at 12:30 a.m.


Lára Rúnars preview, by Ellie Wright

Lára Rúnars’ unique indie pop-melodic dreamy sound broke into the Icelandic music industry in 2003, releasing her first album called Standing Still. Her collaborations throughout the years with other exceptional Icelandic artists like Iknorni, gained her popularity with the Icelandic audience. She has released her fifth album þel, meaning “toward,” a reflective, ominous yet upbeat set of songs. Her influences stem from strong female artists such as PJ Harvey, Nina Person, Björk and Bat for Lashes, which are also successful female artists that have endured the hardships of the misogynistic music industry. Rúnars will be playing Wednesday, November 2 at 8:00 PM at Nasa.


Mani Orrason preview, by Francesca Brilli

At just 18 years old, Mani Orrason has already released his first album, Repeating Patterns, back in April of 2015. More recently, he released an EP entitled Wake Me Up, which includes four new songs. His influences include Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, and Neil Young. Orrason’s music is folk, which matches perfectly with his gravelly vocals. His first single, “Fed All My Days” was released in Iceland in the fall of 2014, and shot straight to the top of the National radio chart. The video for the single was nominated as Music Video of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards, as well as being nominated for Newcomer of the Year in 2015. His freshman album, Repeating Patterns debuted at Number 3 in Iceland.

Orrason will be performing at Iceland Airwaves at the Reykjavík Art Museum on Thursday, November 3rd at 7:20 PM.

Check out the video for his newest single, “Wake Me Up” below.



Mr. Silla preview, by Miranda Sherman

No stranger to Iceland Airwaves, Mr. Silla is one of the artists performing at this year’s festival. Listeners can expect to hear her melodic yet powerful voice backed by a variety of full band instrumentals and alluring electronic undertones that has landed her shows across the globe and a nomination for Iceland’s Album of the Year in 2015.

Mr. Silla performs Saturday, November 5th at Nasa at 11:30 p.m.


Mammút preview, by Sarah Penn

Mammút is a five-piece, indiepop, post-punk, psychedelic rock band from Iceland, with three albums and an English-translated EP, River’s End, earning them Icelandic Music Awards Album of the Year in 2014. Many of their songs, including “GLÆÐUR” and “Blood Burst,” are complemented with visually stunning and creatively diverse music videos. Known for their mesmerizing live performances consisting of powerful vocals, intense energy and melodies, and an overall captivating stage presence, Mammút is earning their much deserved international following.

Catch them twice on 2016’s Iceland Airwaves Festival line-up. Thursday November 3rd at 11:20pm at the Reykjavik Art Museum and at 9:20pm on Sunday November 6th at the Valshöllin.


One Week Wonder preview, by Kimmy Kaczmarek

Árni Guðjónsson may have been one of the original members of Of Monsters and Men, but at this year’s Iceland Airwaves he’ll be in a new trio called One Week Wonder. Playing keyboard along with Magnús Benedikt Sigurðsson, whose voice is soothing, relaxed and captivating, with Helgi Kristjánsson’s drum beats that deepen their mesmerizing performance. Their music is a unique vintage sound that recalls the ’70s within a dream-like state. They released their first music video for the single “Mars” back in June of this year. They hope to be releasing an EP soon, and will be preforming new music at this year’s Iceland Airwaves Music Festival.

One Week Wonder will be playing Wednesday November 2nd at Gamla Bîó starting at 8:00pm and Sunday November 6th at Gaukurinn starting at 8:50pm.


Wesen preview, by Adam Miller

“I’m going home forever,” sings Wesen’s Júlía Hermannsdottír at the top of the band’s latest single, “Beach Boys.” Itching to explore and live away from her home in Iceland, Hermannsdottír moved to New York City, a move that was cut short by her diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Unable to pay the costs of American health care, Hermannsdottír has reluctantly returned home. With the help of bandmate and longtime friend Loji Höskuldsson, “Beach Boys” tells the story of the struggle to fit back into life in Iceland.

Through guitars and drums washed in reverb, the sound of wind blowing in the mix, Hermannsdottír passively sings “What’s the point of being attractive/ I’m gonna sit in the back/ I don’t have any meaningful comments/ I’m unable to talk.” The context is dark, but the subtle blend of electronics and guitars that call to mind Beach House or The Postal Service make a serene backdrop. The Reykjavík band’s debut record, Wall of Pain, is on the way, and apart from three singles, their music is widely unknown and unreleased. The two make an interesting duo regardless. Hermannsdottír’s lyrics are blunt and personal, but emotive, and Höskuldsson’s moving instrumentals fit right in. As Wesen continues to progress, their sound is a welcome addition to Reykjavík’s indie scene.

Wesen will be playing at the Iceland Airwaves music festival on Saturday, November 5th at Gamla Bíó at 8:50 pm, and Sunday, November 6th at Valshöllen Upstairs at 8:00 pm.


Kælen Mikla preview, by Sarah Matthews

Dark and enigmatic, cool and vigorous, Kælan Mikla is a full-fledged female trio of punk power. They might also be one of the only bands with two published poetry books under their belts. Made up of singer Laufey Soffía Þórsdóttir, bass player Margrét Rósa Dóru-Harrysdóttir and drummer Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir, Kælan Mikla formed in 2013 after winning first place in a Reykjavik slam poetry contest. The band made their Iceland Airwaves debut in 2014 and released their self-titled debut album in May 2016.

Kælan Mikla will be playing on Wednesday, November 2 at 11:30 p.m. at the Idnó Theatre during Iceland Airwaves 2016.