Beyond Reykjavik 101: Iceland’s Popular Music Mainstream and the Eurovision Song Contest
Sarah Baker [+]
‘Everything changes in Iceland when Eurovision is on, and you don’t understand it but that’s the way it is’ (music documentary producer, 2010). Taking the above comment as a starting point, this chapter explores the place of the Eurovision Song Contest in Iceland’s musical landscape. Drawing on interviews undertaken in the capital of Reykjavik with 36 music industry workers, the chapter sets out to examine how the nation navigates and experiences a competition that is so divergent from the ‘left-field pop music’ for which Iceland is internationally renowned. To come to some understanding of why ‘everything changes in Iceland when Eurovision is on’, the chapter considers two different positions that emerged in the interviews. The first of these relates to what participation in Eurovision offers the Icelandic music industry, while the second concerns the pleasure of participation for viewers. In doing so the chapter highlights a number of ways in which Iceland’s Eurovision entries become a meaningful part of Icelandic culture and social life.