The impressive line-up of large summertime cultural events in Reykjavik reached the summit on Saturday with Menningarnott, or Culture Night in English. It is worth mentioning though that summer events make up only half of Iceland’s capital city’s all-year schedule of culture.
Culture Night in Reykjavik is an annual affair which took place this year on Saturday 22nd August, involving a mass of different events all over the city all day and all night. Iceland has a packed schedule of interesting cultural and sporting events throughout the year, and Culture Night is the biggest of them all.
Culture Night unofficially starts early in the morning with the Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon – Iceland’s biggest running event which was won this year for the second year in a row by David Kirkland from the UK and the women’s race by Veronika Sigridur Bjarnadottir from Iceland.
This year, the weather couldn’t make up its mind whether to be sunny or to “refresh” the crowds with light rain; but, Reykjavik’s streets filled with people taking advantage of the hundreds of activities on offer all the same. The day was characterised by countless new art exhibitions, demonstrations including aikido and fencing, as well as graffiti shows, clowns and metaphorical ‘carrot chasers’ getting progressively more frustrated and hungry (guess you had to be there…)
The official Culture Night diary came to a close with the immensely popular fireworks display which saw cars and people thronging the shoreline in a disorderly, enthralled mass. As spectacular as Reykjavik fireworks displays always are, but ever so slightly shorter, the fireworks display was the only telltale sign of economic recession in the entire day.
The Reykjavik night life is the stuff of legend and lived up to its reputation on Saturday, with the city centre streets packed like no other Saturday right into the early hours. Despite the rowdy street party atmosphere and unusually high attendance, police reported fewer crimes than expected.
Visitors make as much use of the long list of Iceland events as the locals do and some of the most interesting include: the Iceland Airwaves music festival, Gay Pride, Reykjavik International Film Festival, the Food & Fun gourmet festival and the Winter Lights festival, to name just a few.