Iceland is indeed a country, which is famous for its broad music culture. There are several Icelandic acts, which became global players in the industry, not just the most famous one, Björk. Southwest Iceland hosts the Rokksafn – or Icelandic Rock’n’Roll Museum. I had a visit during my trip to the island in August 2021. Here are my thoughts.
Rokksafn – Location & Admission
The museum is located right in the heart of Reykjanesbaer (also known as Keflavik) on the Reykjanes peninsula. The museum is just a few minutes drive away from Keflavik International Airport (KEF). The area around the museum is actually really nice and deserves a walk. There is a bus station close to the museum, Njardvikurtorg (bus 55) and a large parking lot in front of the museum.
The museum is opening daily from 11:00 to 18:00 hrs. This solely excludes a few public holidays. The adult admission is 1,500 ISK, roughly 10.50 EUR. During my visit in summer 2021, the admission was free as part of an promotion.
Rokksafn – The Visit
There are educational and meeting rooms at Rokksafn, but most of the museum is located on one floor of the surprisingly large building. You more or less learn about the history of Icelandic rock and pop music in a chronological order. Thereby, you really start at the beginnings of Icelandic music – the first entry in the timetables given in the museum is dated as of 1835. The whole museum is documented in Icelandic and English, so that you will have an easy visit as a tourist as well. At almost all time periods focused, the museum is also introducing you to bands which influenced Icelandic entertaining music.
As you already see in the first pictures, there is not only a lot of information, but also a lot of items in display. The figures of the band you see below, for example, is a model of one of the internationally most influential Icelandic bands, Hjalmar. They are actually a local bald from Keflavik. You of course also run into Björk, but also into Of Mice and Men, Emiliana Torrini and many more.
The huge display you see below is Björgvins guitar collection, which is one of the core exhibits of the museum to me. In this area, you may also listen to Icelandic music and get deeper into the topic. The whole museum comes with a lot of videos and also tries to allows interaction with the visitor.
Rokksafn – Services
The museum also drives The Icelandic Rock ‘n’ Roll Shop, which is a great place to purchase some CDs of Icelandic artists. They also have other souvenirs, e.g. t-shirts. The museum is also driving a cafe. There are also some entertainment stations like an electronic drum kit or karaoke booths.
Rokksafn – My View
Iceland comes with a rich musical history and culture, not only on the folk music side. Thus, if you are interested into music and can fit the opening times to your travel plans (you unfortunately typically visit that part of the island right after your inbound or before your outbound flight…), it is a must-visit. The museum is very informative and finally you will run into quite some bands and songs which you surprisingly identify as Icelandic. I absolutely enjoyed the visit.
Postings about Reykjanes
These are all articles, in which I dealt with events and places influencing musical history: