Iceland Airwaves 2017

From October 29 to November 6, 2017, Columbia College Chicago students – including Radio, Multimedia Journalism, Musical Theatre, Music Business Management, Live and Performing Arts, Arts Management, Cinema Arts + Science and Audio Design and Production majors – will venture to Reykjavík, Iceland, to cover Iceland Airwaves Music Festival via the Communication Department‘s Covering International Music 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.


Hear Our Iceland Airwaves 2017 Final Radio Documentary by Ariel Parrella-Aureli

After an incredibly amazing experience in Iceland and covering cultural issues and musicians, it’s time for a wrap. Our class’ hard work can be heard in our full Iceland Airwaves 2017 radio documentary. In case you missed it air on WCRX-FM, listen below and hear all about our adventures in the northern island we fell in love with in just a week.

We arrived in Iceland just after the country’s recent elections, which affected virtually every story we worked on. They were central to understanding cultural issues and getting a grasp on the political history of the country. You will see its influence in the following stories in the documentary (listed here in chronological order):

Kaitlin Logan reported on Iceland’s universal healthcare system and its greater medicinal feats compared to the U.S.; Ariel Parrella-Aureli dove into the domestic violence issue against women, how the opening of a new family justice center is doing and how Iceland’s resources fair with the U.S.’s services to battered women; Paige Evans discussed the difficult process for refugees seeking asylum and how the country is dealing with an influx of refugees; Zayda Cavazos reported on climate change and how Iceland is developing new projects that will help reduce glaciers melting; Nick Palasz covered the country’s renewable energy status—it claims to be 100 percent renewable by 2050 using local geothermal and hydro energy—and Mary Connor Cox reported on waste management’s advances. 

We got to experience the beauty of Iceland’s nature like the Secret Lagoon in Fudír, where we had the most carefree day ever, as seen in the above picture of all of us. We also got to cover a wide variety of music while in Iceland. The list—and our favorites—is a long one, but some include FM BelfastHoly Hrafn, Jón Jónnson, Mammút and Cell7 and to name a few Icelandic artists. But international acts dominated the festival, too; U.K’.s Childhood and Billy Bragg to the U.S.’s Pinegrove and Columbia-Canadian Lido Pimienta group made a lasting impact on us. Catch up on all the artists we saw by reading our reviews here! Music from several of the artists we covered are also featured in the radio documentary, so take a listen.

The first song you’ll hear is “Unison Love” by Icelandic duo Warmland, who capture the warmth of the locals with their ’70s and ’80s synth pop that will have you dancing first thing. We chose another favorite to close out the documentary—Jón Jónnson‘s single “Gefðu Allt Sem Þú Átt,” which we could not get enough of and will hopefully leave you with a full appetite to dig into these talented musicians coming out of Iceland. Remember you heard them here first!

We have to give a huge thank you to Iceland AirwavesColumbia College ChicagoWCRX-FMAlthea Legaspi and all of the staff and locals that gave us an experience to hold on to for a lifetime.

You can also check out the daily blogs and live concert reviews created throughout our trip, as well as the interviews produced during our staypreview stories and more below on our class web page. Get on with our Iceland adventure below!


See Our 2017 Iceland Airwaves Radio Documentary Video, by Paige Evans

Watch as we arrived in Iceland and explored the city of Reykjavík with a special meeting with the tourism center, Visit Reykjavik. We ventured into the countryside to see the The Golden Circle and relaxed at the Secret Lagoon. We often ate hot dogs at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur. Each night we saw and reviewed performances, some of the bands you can see in the clip below are Mahalia, Cyber, Paunkholm, FM Belfast and Valdimar. Enjoy!


Tune in for our Iceland Radio Doc Encore Presentations! by  Kaitlin Logan

Trying out some fermented shark at the local flea market!

Missed out on our final documentary special? Don’t worry, you can hear it all again with encore performances on December 24th and December 31st at 5pm on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here). In the meantime, listen to the cultural stories produced during our trip in Iceland, check out our daily blogs,  live reviews from the 2017 Iceland Airwaves Music festival and hear our preview interviews we produced before we arrived. 

Hear Icelandic cultural stories from Zayda CavazosPaige Evans, Nick PalaszMary Connor CoxAriel Parrella-Aureli  and me, Kaitlin Logan. Listen to exciting interviews with Icelandic scientists such as deCODE’s Kári Stefánsson, hear our artist reviews and songs from Icelandic musicians including Reykjavíkurdætur, Roforofo, Cell7, Jón Jónnson, FM Belfast, and much more. We’ve had an amazing time writing, recording, and attempting to speak Icelandic, and we know you won’t want to miss our hour-long special!

The above photo was taken at the Kolaportid Flea Market, where we sampled fermented shark. Siggi Gardarsson, owner of the Depla food stall, gave us a taste and gave us some insight into how it’s made. You can hear all about this and more in our final documentary. The final doc will also be posted right here on our class blog after its last airing. Hear a promo for our radio documentary below.


Hear Our Iceland Airwaves 2017 Radio Doc Bloopers by Ariel Parrella-Aureli

Group dinner at Chicago Kalbi Korean Restaurant to close out the exotic experience of a semester!


Missed out on our final documentary special? Don’t worry, you can hear it all again with encore performances on December 24th and December 31st at 5pm on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here). In the meantime, listen to the cultural stories produced during our trip in Iceland, check out our daily blogs,  live reviews from the 2017 Iceland Airwaves Music festival and hear our preview interviews we produced before we arrived. 

Listen to these hilarious bloopers from our various radio projects over the course of this semester. Hear Kaitlin Logan and Mary Connor Cox ‘s goofy character voice slips and booming laughs as hosts of the documentary, Paige Evans fumbling with her music bed, Zayda Cavazos and her singing glaciers and Spanish swears, Nick Palasz trying to record his reflections a little too loudly and me, Ariel Parrella-Aureli, making a subconscious Harry Potter reference and suffering through being sick while in Iceland from my during piece. You can her how close we became through these bloopers. I hope they make you laugh with us and thanks for sticking around!


Hear our Final Radio Documentary THIS SUNDAY 12/17 by Nick Palasz

Official Tourist Information Centre, Visit Reykjavik

Tune in for our Iceland Airwaves 2017 final documentary this Sunday, December 17th at 5 p.m. with encore presentations on Sunday, December 24th and Sunday, December 31st at 5 p.m. on WCRX 88.1 FM (it will also be available via live stream).

Join us: Zayda CavazosPaige Evans, Nick PalaszKaitlin LoganMary Connor Cox, and Ariel Parrella-Aureli for stories covering Icelandic culture and all the amazing artists we saw who performed at Airwaves, including music from Pinegrove, FM Belfast, Billy Bragg, and Moses Hightower.

Listen to one of our promos, which Ariel wrote and produced, below. If you miss the broadcast, the final documentary will also be posted here on our class blog after it airs.


See Our 2017 Iceland Airwaves Trip Photo Album, by Paige Evans

Stay tuned for our Iceland Airwaves 2017 final radio documentary, which will air on December 17 at 5 p.m., with encore presentations on December 24th and December 31st at 5 p.m. on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here). In the meantime, listen to one of the cultural stories produced during our trip in Iceland below and check out our daily blogs,  live reviews from the 2017 Iceland Airwaves Music festival, and hear our preview interviews we produced before we arrived. 

Here are a wide array of the photos by our instructor Althea Legaspi, and students Zayda CavazosPaige Evans, Nick PalaszMary Connor CoxAriel Parrella-Aureli  and Kaitlin Logan!

In the photo album you can see some amazing food from our traditional Icelandic dinner, the world’s best hot dog stand, some creamy lobster soup. We visited some great places in Reykjavík including the famous church, one of Iceland’s many record stores, and the National Iceland Museum. We also traveled outside of Reykjavík in the Golden Circle tour, and the Secret Lagoon.

You can also see some of our favorite venues like the Art Museum, Gamla Bío, and the church Frikirkjan, where we heard many of the artist we reviewed.

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11/28: Check back for our Iceland Airwaves 2017 final radio documentary, which will air on December 17th at 5 p.m., with encore presentations on December 24th and December 31st at 5 p.m. on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here). In the meantime, listen to the cultural stories produced during our trip in Iceland, check out our daily blogs,  live reviews from the 2017 Iceland Airwaves Music festival and hear our preview interviews we produced before we arrived. 


10/31: We’ve been in Iceland since yesterday and we’ve done and seen a lot already. Check out our daily blogs, stay tuned for our upcoming live reviews from the 2017 Iceland Airwaves Music festival (live reviews will be posted daily beginning on 11/2), and hear our preview interviews we produced before we arrived. Follow our journey on our socials via #cccairwaves2017 on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.













We’re in Iceland! Listen to Our Preview Show below and Follow Links to Our Journey! by  Kaitlin Logan

Columbia College’s 2017 Covering International Music Festivals: Iceland class preparing for our preview show at WCRX-FM

It’s October 30th and we’ve officially arrived in Iceland! We’re at Iceland Airwaves 2017 to review the festival, report on Icelandic cultural stories and write daily blogs. Follow our journey on our class blog once we’re there through November 6th and check out the preview stories we produced ahead of our trip in the meantime!

Missed out on our Covering International Music Festivals: Iceland 2017 preview show? Well, don’t worry; we forgive you. You can listen to our preview show as many times as you want here on our blog!

Before we make our way to Iceland on Sunday, October 29th, we debuted cultural stories and interviews with bands performing at Iceland Airwaves 2017 that aired before we left! Hear stories from Brenna WatkinsZayda CavazosPaige Evans, Nick PalaszMary Connor CoxAriel Parrella-Aureli  and me, Kaitlin Logan! Listen to music and interviews with bands performing at the festival such as Warmland, Rythmatik, Hugar, For A Minor Reflection, Sycamore Tree, and RuGl. Also hear cultural stories ranging from  upcoming Icelandic government elections to the unique scene for Icelandic Drag Queens!

Listen to our full preview show:

Thanks to WCRX-FM‘s Kimmy Kaczmarek for hosting the show and WCRX-FM station manager Matt Cunningham.


We’re heading to Iceland Airwaves! View artist preview teasers by the students heading to this year’s fest below. Stay tuned for their interviews with these bands along with Icelandic cultural stories, live reviews, daily blogs, preview stories and more. Follow their journey, which begins on October 29th, here on our Iceland Airwaves 2017 blog.



Some of the Iceland 2017 class preparing for our preview radio show

Tune in for our Iceland Airwaves 2017 preview show on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. CT and Sunday, Oct 29 at 5 p.m. CT on WCRX-FM 88.1 and via stream worldwide.

Join us: Brenna Watkins, Zayda Cavazos, Paige Evans, Nick PalaszKaitlin Logan, Mary Connor Cox, Ariel Parrella-Aureli, and WCRX-FM host Kimmy Kaczmarek for stories covering Icelandic culture and a myriad of artists performing at Airwaves and hear some great Icelandic music. The full show will be posted on our blog after it airs.

Listen to our promo below and check out our class’ website for all of our previews, reviews, and stories that we’ll be producing while we’re in Iceland from October 30th through November 6th!



Hugar Preview, by Brenna Watkins

Hugar is a two-person group comprising Bergur Þórisson & Pétur Jónsson. The two grew up together in the town, Seltjarnarnes, just north of Reykjavík. Hugar was formed in 2012 when the two had the opportunity to use a friend’s recording studio. In 2014 they released their first, self-titled album. This year they teamed up with vocalist Arnór Dan and produced their first track featuring vocals, Waves. 

Hugar’s music effortlessly combines classical instruments, such as violin and trombone, with an ambient, electronic feel. The music takes the listener through a soundscape journey, instantly transporting listeners to the vast, open waters of Iceland. Because Hugar’s music is primarily ambient, it will be interesting to see what they do live.

Hugar is currently working on its second studio album, to be released sometime this year.

During Iceland Airwaves, the band will be performing on the IÐNÓ stage at 20:20 on Wednesday, November 1st.


Mammút, by Ariel Parrella-Aureli


Iceland’s Mammút has tried love—and now it seems to be sticking for them and their fans. Like one of the songs off their new album “We Tried Love,” things may seem sad and down after an experience, but the “tears brought us here” and evidently that’s just where the band needs to be. They know how to put on a live show and energize listeners to feel the breadth of sound in their organic guitar-heavy rock style while letting the emotion flow from the lyrics, as is displayed in the performance of their single “Kinder Version,” which they performed live at KEXP during last year’s Iceland Airwaves.

In the clip, the band shows what they excel in—they are musically and consciously connected, wading in the “kinder versions of their pasts” and being blissfully stuck in the present. But what catches the corner of the eye and mind—apart from the physical awareness and talent of the musicians—is the palpable words from Baldursdóttir and the lyrical ballads layered onto the band’s new record, Kinder Versions.

Mammút will play Iceland Airwaves again at the Reykjavik Art Museum stage on November 4th.


Rythmatik Preview, by Mary Connor Cox

No strangers to the festival, the four-piece indie rock band, Rythmatik is returning to Iceland Airwaves 2017 . With songs off both of their EPs, Epilepsy and Waves, resembling the combination of ‘80s British rock and modern day indie rock, listeners can expect to hear unique music with a mix of guitar riffs and techno sounds. They won the national “Battle of the bands” The Icelandic Music Experiments (Músikltilraunir) in 2015, performed at Iceland Airwaves 2016 and they are set to release their debut album this fall.

In their song “Sleepy Head,”  a story about adventure, taking risks and living an exciting life is told. The song is danceable and catchy.

Rythmatik perform on Saturday, November 4th at 8:30pm at the Hard Rock Café during Iceland Airwaves.


Cyber, by Kaitlin Logan

Originally formed as a thrash-metal/disco duo, Cyber  has since transformed into a electronic/rap group combining edgy lyrics with heavy techno beats. Comprising two female artists, Jóhanna Rakel Jónasdóttir and Salka Valsdóttir, the two joined forces in 2012 creating songs uniquely based on subjects ranging from gender and politics, to downright nonsense. Cyber made its Iceland Airwaves premiere in 2016, and is returning for another year of dance-heavy, female hip-hop.

Cyber will be performing Wednesday, November 1 at 8:30pm at The Reykjavik Art Museum on the Icelandair Stage, as well as Friday, November 4th at 9:10pm at Græni Hatturinn. 


Hildur Preview, by Zayda Cavazos

Iceland Airwaves Music Festival is approaching and Hildur, who is performing, has electro-pop angelic feels.  She is not only a singer, she also a songwriter and producer. Before becoming a solo artist Hildur was the singer, songwriter and cellist for a band called Rökkurró.

On February 2016 Hildur released her first pop hit and music video “I’ll Walk With You,” which went straight to the top charts of Iceland’s biggest radio stations. Since then her she’s had performances for live TV, she has appeared in various music festivals and concerts and has just recently released seven singles.

Check out her music video for “Full of You” (2017).

Hildur will be performing on Wednesday, November 1st at 10:30 p.m. at Gamla Bíó.


Sycamore Tree, by Nick Palasz

Delicate strings, a soft caressing voice, and tender harmonies create a fireplace feel. Inhale the entrancing and aromatic smoke. Collapse into the creases of your recliner or bundle up with your comforter. These are the feelings evoked by Sycamore Tree in their live performance of “My Heart Beats For You.”

Sycamore Tree is a newly formed Icelandic duo based in Reykjavík, but they have already made their own personal stakes in the entertainment industries. Agusta Eva Erlendsdottir, the lead singer of Sycamore Tree, is renown for her portrayal of television caricature Silvía Night, and Gunni Hilmarsson is an internationally known fashion designer.

Sycamore Tree will be performing at Galma Bíó Wednesday November 1st at 21:40.


For a Minor Reflection, by Paige Evans

For a Minor Reflection is a four piece band with a post-rock aesthetic between Sigur Ros and hard rock. Their unique sound leaves a whirlwind of emotions. Songs lasting from four to 12 minutes long, their mood goes from a chill instrumental of its Nordic background to an eccentric vibrant sound that gets blood moving.

In their song “Impulse,” from a calm beginning, to a striking heavy rock, and then a happy middle ground that empowers. For a Minor Reflection seems to take their listeners on a rollercoaster ride on each song, but does so with intention and precision.

Awakening from their two year hiatus, For a Minor Reflection will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary at Iceland Airwaves festival for their debut album, Reistu þig við, sólin er komin á loft…, which translates to “Rise and shine the sun is up.”

For a Minor Reflection will be playing at Gamla Bíó during Iceland Airwaves on November 2 at 11:20.