Monday, April 04, 2022

Venues in Iceland -#14

Fríkirkjan
As a venue for concerts, it shouldn’t work.

This 1903 church is the home of the Free Church in Reykjavik, an independent Lutheran congregation that is not affiliated with the official National Church of Iceland. It is a bit of an acoustical nightmare, the seating is uncomfortable, and the sight lines vary wildly: from excellent to non-existent. Still, I saw numerous memorable shows there; a truly unique venue that is not just cherished, but is actually in constant use by the community for both religious and secular events.

Audience, Johann Johannsson, 2006 (Img: Darien Webb) Can you spot The Professor?
Hjaltalin og Sinfó (2009):
Biggi Hilmars (2012):
The church’s photogenic location on the pond in the center of Reykjavík can’t be missed. Make sure to check out the notice board next to the front door that has information about obscure or otherwise unpublished events. In 2006 I caught a great noon-time recital and in 2018 I witnessed a youth choir give a most memorable concert—and a chance to mingle with real Icelanders in a casual social setting:

This is the final post in The Iceland Venues series. There are numerous other off-venues in the city and usually one or two main venues that are new at the Iceland Airwaves music festival each year, these are just the ones I found most memorable.

I had thought that I was probably not going back to Iceland again, but I had enough points and credits from my cancelled 2020 trip to make the airfare “free” so… I began to idly look into my options. I found that I could rent an apartment from Oct 31—Nov 6 in The Castle House, where I had stayed several times before. As far as the location—right behind Fríkirkjan—it was absolutely the best choice for me and cheaper than any Airbnb in the city. I will be there during Iceland Airwaves, which has scaled back to three days. I’m not too keen on any of the announced acts (except HAM and FLOTT) so I'll wait before deciding to buy a festival pass. There should also be a slate of new theatrical productions going on that week; catching a play or three at night while I hit the off-venues during the day (and swimming and soaking in Vesturbærjarlaug in the morning) should keep me occupied.

By Professor Batty



3 Comments:

Blogger jono said...

I knew you wouldn't stay away.


Blogger Mary said...

We walked by there one evening when there was a wedding being held in candlelight. That lovely picture remains in my mind. Would really like to see HAM!!


Blogger Professor Batty said...

I'm starting to exhaust my Icelandic enthusiasms, but 6 1/2 days during the theatre season and Airwaves should refresh them.

Having Fríkirkjan right outside my apartment door is a big bonus!

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