Airwaves’ Magic Secret

The U.K.’s The Magic Numbers turned out to be the "secret act" booked to headline the last night of Iceland’s Airwaves Festival, which sold out for the fourth year in succession.

Although the event is low on capacity due to being split across nine downtown Reykjavik venues, festival director Eldar Astthorsson points out that it doesn’t diminish its importance.

"Half of the 5,000 crowd are from outside of Iceland and about half of that number are either music industry people or journalists," he explained.

Airwaves has developed a reputation for getting bands on the up. Apart from The Magic Numbers, this year’s October 17-21 bill also had the U.K.’s Bloc Party and Friendly Fires, U.S. rapper Buck 65, Canada’s Plants And Animals and Sweden’s Loney, Dear.

More than 250 acts played rooms ranging from the 900-capacity Reykjavik Art Museum, which has hosted Sigur Rós, Keane, Kaiser Chiefs and Klaxons during previous festivals, the 800-capacity Gaukurinn, the 700-capacity NASA, and right down in size to the 150-capacity Airwaves Bar.

The museum was originally a warehouse for Reykjavik Harbor, housing old nets and barrels of fish innards. In 2001 the building was renovated and turned into one of Iceland’s premier art institutions.

Packed with people and surrounded by modern art, the museum’s main auditorium is often the venue for the festival’s biggest acts.