The Reykjavík Cultural Night has become an essential part of the city’s cultural scene. With the midnight sun still keeping things light for almost 24 hours, Reykjavíkites fill the streets to celebrate Iceland’s vibrant culture well into the early hours. Culture Night offers the chance to enjoy a variety of activities ranging from traditional shows and exhibitions to more unusual happenings. There are outdoor concerts, performances, fireworks and fairs, while bars, restaurants, shops and galleries stay open late to cater for the large crowds that flock to the city for these special celebrations.
Currently, the official Culture Night website itinerary has not been updated, but many of the events are annual. To get a good idea of the itinerary, you can view last year’s here.
1. The Reykjavik Marathon
2. The Photography Exhibits
There are numerous photography exhibits and galleries available for viewing during the festival. Artists will be announced closer to the date, but you can be sure to enjoy a lot of Icelandic eye candy. Most exhibits are free, and open to the public. Some exhibits are even interactive and invite you to join in with a “Date with the Past” Polaroid.
3. The Film Screenings
Dozens of films are scheduled for screenings in various tents and buildings throughout the city. Subjects range from geology and volcanic eruptions, to Icelandic history, to expeditions to Greenland. Most screenings are free, and open to the public.
4. The Food
If you do nothing else during this day of excitement, make sure that you try some of the local food! You don’t have to go as far as to cooked puffin or baked sheep’s head, but you can still try something a little tamer, like the ever-popular Icelandic hot dog (these things are everywhere in Reykjavik)! Last year free Waffles were available from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Who doesn’t love Waffles? Especially free ones!
5. The Performances and Art
Culture Night has no end to the number of performances and art displayed. Performances are scheduled or spontaneous, and are full of vibrant music and costumes. Art covers just about every nook and cranny of the city, as well as galleries and exhibits. Many pieces of art are available for purchase, and all are able to be viewed publically.
6. The City
Nevermind the festival, the City itself is worth the trip. Reykjavik is like a bright beacon of light shining out into the dark, North Atlantic Ocean. Contrary to its name, Iceland is a beautiful, mild wintered and warm summered country, with plenty to offer in terms of attractions and things to do. There is a little something for everyone in Reykjavik!
7. The Nightlife
No one is going to be sleeping, and everyone is going to be up until the late hours of the morning! The midnight sun will be lighting up the sky, and the parties will carry on throughout the entire night. It is going to be one Crazy, Cultural, Icelandic Party!
8. The Closing Ceremonies & Fireworks
It is going to be the trip of a lifetime, and this night is really going to top it off. I cannot wait to wander through the town and see it all for myself. If you happen to find yourself in Iceland on August 20th this year, or even have some free time to book a trip, I highly recommend attending Reykjavik Culture Night.
I will be in Iceland from August 19th, until August 26th, 2011.