News August 31, 2018

Icelandic Airwaves adds more emerging Australian artists to its bill, first festival to hit gender parity goal

Former Assistant Editor
Icelandic Airwaves adds more emerging Australian artists to its bill, first festival to hit gender parity goal

Iceland’s answer to South By Southwest, Icelandic Airwaves, has added two more emerging Australian artists to its bill.  

Taking place from November 7 – 10 in Reykjavik, the festival has long been regarded as a place for new music discovery.

Australian promoter Will Larnach-Jones says that they’re “making a real effort to bring the festival back to its roots this year,” with hip hop collective Haiku Hands and Melbourne producer Yeo joining an extensive list of new lineup additions.

“Yeo came to our attention via applying directly through our site, which was an awesome surprise in the best way,” Larnach-Jones tells TMN.

“Haiku Hands we were aware of, however through seeing them at The Great Escape it was undoubtedly a case of a showcase performance that definitely consolidated my and Sindri’s (our amazing head of programming) enthusiasm for the band.”

The lineup has now expanded to include 221 acts – the biggest Airwaves event ever – from 26 countries.

Haiku Hands and Yeo will join previously announced Kat Frankie and Stella Donnelly to total four Aussies on the bill.

Larnach-Jones also reveals that “our list of Aussie bands we want to book next year is already in double digits.”

The Icelandic festival is the first to have met the Keychange gender parity target on its lineup – Kat Frankie was added to the bill via the Keychange program – and is leading with a very strong LGBTIQ+ representation, including Blood Orange, Alma, Snail Mail, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora, Mighty Bear and Hedrik.

“As a gay man I’m very proud of how many LGBT+ artists we feature this year, but I have to add these additions to the lineup are by no means my decision,” says Larnach-Jones.

“I work with a straight head of programming and a team of women and men who are enthusiastic about out musical selection on their merits as promising artists for potential sustained success both in Iceland and worldwide.

“Instinctively, I feel there’s a global shift outside of both conventional politics and the norms of the music industry. Our team has gravitated to artists that move us, and I think on the whole the industry, particularly in the wake of listenership via DSPs is highlighting songs that resonate with real listeners, not how a radio station polls.”

“Our programming has 100% been about music first – and we’re really happy to say that for our stars of the future share a very happy gender and genre parity. The future is what you choose to make it.”

He adds that with Iceland Airwaves in its 20th years, they are in a “fortunate and challenging position” to rebuild the festival.

“We really want the festival to return to be a vital showcase and industry festival with visitors and bands around the world – and a vital ‘anchor’ to European touring for bands at the end of the year.”

Check out the full line-up here.

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