While visiting Iceland, there are many ways in which you can revel in being a geek. There are massive online role-playing game festivals, opportunities to immerse yourself in live action role-playing (LARP) as a Viking, and a multitude of other art-meets-technology kind of events. The following festivals and activities represent how geeky is actually just a synonym for everything creative and curious.
In March every year, the Harpa Concert Hall hosts the Sónar Festival of music, creativity, and technology. Formed in 1994, this pioneering festival originated in Barcelona and is all about the avant-garde and experimentation with the newest trends in electronic music and dance. It unites established artists with artists of the local city in which it’s taking place and aims to become a global festival that is a meeting point between creatives across the art and technology spheres.
Every April, the Harpa Concert Hall also plays host to EVE Online fan festival. CCP Games is an Icelandic video game developer and publisher based in Reykjavik. The company’s most well-known product is EVE Online – a massive, space-based multiplayer role-playing game that boasts over 500,000 subscribers. The players can participate in a variety of activities in the game, including combat, piracy, trading, and exploration. Set more than 21,000 years in the future, the background story indicates how humanity has used up most of the Earth’s resources and has begun colonising the Milky Way, a 7,800-star universe that can be visited by the players. If you come to Reykjavik during the festival, you can be sure to meet like-minded enthusiasts.
If you’re visiting Iceland and need some simple ways to indulge your inner geek, check out Freddi’s Arcade in downtown Reykjavik. You’re bound to be transported to the early 1980s as you take in the retro arcade games and other memorabilia. Do note that you can even rent a private room upstairs with a group of friends for a whole evening of multi-player game playing. Also, while you’re at it, check out Nexus, the country’s largest and most extensive comic and fantasy bookstore.
In June each year, the Viking Village in Hafnarfjörður, the neighbouring town of Reykjavik, hosts the Viking Festival. This week-long event is a step back in time as most visitors are in full Viking costume, perfect for LARP enthusiasts. It features live battle scene reenactments by actors, storytellers sharing tales from the Icelandic Sagas, workshops on how to make your own Viking-era crafts (such as spears), and activities like axe throwing and bow shooting.
The Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavik hosts the annual RAFLOST – Icelandic Festival of Electronic and Media Arts – in May. This event brings together artists working with a variety of art forms ranging from music, visual arts, dance and media to science and hacking. It intends to explore and push the boundaries of the ways in which art and technology can collaborate. In this manner, by bringing together students from the art academies as well as computer scientists from the University of Reykjavik and DIY computer and electronic hacker communities, RAFLOST aims to stimulate the city artistically and intellectually. There is even a robotics competition!