All-Ages Airwaves

Watching Asgeir Trausti

At first it was easier not to miss the kids because everything I was doing would have been sheer torture for them. My seven-hour flight alone felt much shorter than the five-hour flight I shared with the kids last summer. As I spent hours reading every last plaque in numerous museums, I thought to myself, “Thank god the kids aren’t here for this.” Sliding along the ice trail to Gullfoss Waterfall, I thought, “Good thing the kids are at home, I wouldn’t try this with them.” At Laugardalur Swimming Pool, I remembered one girl’s refusal to approach water without floaties and another’s refusal to approach water at all and felt relief that I could just relax without keeping an eye on kids or arguing with them about full participation in family adventures.

But then I spent most of my time in the pool staring at an adorable little puppy of a boy as he paddled around on the pool steps with floaties on. That night, I watched ruefully as two families ate dinner in the KEX Hostel bar with babies on their laps. Later, one of the women in my dorm told me she had arrived a day early, but would move into an apartment she had rented with her friends for the rest of the week.

Airwaves Baby

Once Airwaves started, I began to notice babies and small children at most of the daytime shows. I began to rethink my attitude about Airwaves as an adult activity. Actually, I think Iceland Airwaves could make for a very enjoyable family vacation. Families could rent an apartment, and cook at least some meals there to save money (food and gifts are the biggest expenses here – airfare and lodging are pretty reasonable for a European vacation). With normal children who enjoy the water, families could easily spend every morning at the geothermally heated pools (spending practically no money that way), or on tour excursions to the countryside. Afternoons could be spent exploring off-venue shows. Since every show is free, there’s no loss if the kids get antsy or don’t like the music. You can just move on to the next venue and try something else.

Festival Family

Families with at least two adults could trade nights watching children and watching bands. Since most bands play one official show, and one or more off-venue sets, it would be possible for everyone to see most of the artists they wanted, even staying home half the nights.

Actually, I think it might be time to start planning a family trip for next year….

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