A swan’s song for an iconic Icelandic drag night

Iceland is known for a lot of things. Volcanoes that stop Europe, The Northern Lights, Waterfalls, Björk, Sigur Rós and a whole bunch of other stuff. The fact is that this little island nation has been kicking goals in loads of arenas for years. Iceland has become a bit of a hub for a particular creative industry that those who don’t live here might not be aware of. For the past 6 years, Iceland has been going through a Drag Renaissance.

A whole bunch of Drag Kings, Queens and queer performers have cut their teeth on the Reykjavík Drag Scene and today there are a number of incredibly strong and sought after performers who owe their livelihoods to this performance community that made waves where many others would drown.
The current drag scene’s evolution began with a night back in 2015 that would change the performance landscape of this little island nation in the Atlantic Ocean, and after years of giving to the community, this evening is about to turn off it’s stage lights for good.
Before these performers take their final bows as members of the first and foremost Drag Night in Iceland, I sat down with one of the night’s founders to discover what is Drag Súgur? How did it begin? And why is this northern swan about to sing its final song.

“We never really had a big overall plan. It just sort of organically evolved.”

Sigurður Starr Guðjónsson might not be a household name in Iceland but most people are familiar with his alter ego ‘GoGo Starr.’ GoGo is a Drag Queen synonymous with glamour, humour, and the tour de force monthly Drag night known as Drag Súgur. Sigurður’s journey from small town boy to Drag Superstar began in the mid 2000s.

GayIceland: “So how did you originally get into drag?”

GoGo: “I grew up in Akureyri and as I was growing up there wasn’t really anything queer around me. I first got into drag in a theatre production during school. I was given this role in drag and without even realising it at the time, it was sort of this outlet for all of my feminine behaviour and everything I had been holding back. It was the first time I had experienced the feeling of celebrating those qualities. It was a big turning point for me. I learned a lot from my drag character.

Slowly but surely I started doing it more often, because I enjoyed it a lot. I loved performing and entertaining people. It really kicked into high gear when I moved to Reykjavík in 2014. I thought to myself ‘This is a big city and I’m gonna do big things,’ but at the time, none of that was happening at all.”

Photo /_Lovísa Sigurjónsdóttir

GayIceland: “So nothing was happening at the time. Talk us through the genesis of the current drag scene. How did it all kick off?”

GoGo: “There were drag shows in the 90s and early 2000s and they just sort of died out. Honestly I think it didn’t just happened here in Iceland, those kinds of shows sort of died out on a global scale too.

Then in 2015, it was a magical year. I entered the drag competition of Iceland and naturally I won (laughs). The main reason I entered the competition was basically just that it was the only real drag thing happening in Iceland. But after the competition I decided that I wanted to create something more. I wanted to create an opportunity for people to perform. I wanted to make it possible for people to have more opportunities to be on stage and to have fun.

There was a group of guys that had formed on Facebook through the group ‘Hommaspjallið.’ It had eventually moved over to a meet up in person. The main purpose of the meet up was for queer men to meet each other in a public setting without the point being solely to fuck someone. It was a chance for people to ask questions across generations; because I think that was something lacking in the local queer community. Through these conversations and meeting these people, it was validating but it also let me meet other people who were into drag. I met two other people who were really into it.”

The two people GoGo is referring to are Þórhallur Hafþórsson, who would later become one of the original showrunners and Hafsteinn Himinljómi Regínuson, who went on to perform as the Drag Queen, Ragna Rök.

“We birthed a whole scene. We’ve seen so many incredible performers come from it and I would really like this to just remain a legendary moment.”

GoGo: “Þórhallur mentioned that he had just gone on a date with this Australian comedian guy who might be able to help us put together a show.”
Full disclosure, that Australian comedian was me, the guy writing this article (Jono Duffy).

GayIceland: “Oh yeah, I always forget it was because of a date.”

Gogo: “Yeah it was. And then a couple of other people joined our group and we managed to book this lovely venue called Gaukurinn, which was this bar that also held nights for rock, metal and poetry slams. It was basically a venue that was all about things that were alternative. We suggested doing a drag show and Gaukurinn basically said ‘Love it. Get in here!’

Then we put up our first show with a small admission fee of about 1000kr. I still remember the poster for that show.

We even had Páll Óskar perform. He was like ‘Sure I’ll do a cameo for sure’.”

For those that aren’t familiar, Páll Óskar is a very famous pop star in Iceland, he’s also openly gay and a vocal gampaigner and supporter of the Queer community in Iceland. He’s also incredibly busy most of the time, so to have him headline the first show was no small accomplishment.

Photo / Lovísa Sigurjónsdóttir

GoGo: “Everything basically happened as soon as we started talking about it. It all materialised so fast that I was kind of wondering why this hadn’t happened sooner.”

GayIceland: “Do you think that’s something that is quite unique to Iceland? Is it a country where you can really make stuff happen? You can have an idea and people will get on board.”

GoGo: “I think for sure. In a place like New York, you might book a venue and get a few drag artists to perform and maybe a couple of people will show up in the audience. Like it’s such a hussle. Here in Iceland, first of all we had Queens and Kings and circus performers and all kinds of people. The original idea was for it to start as a queer cabaret, but over time it evolved into a more specific drag show.

Secondly, I think it worked really well because we all wanted the same thing. We had to really work together to get what we wanted. I also thing the queer scene in general were not actually the ones who first showed up; it was the Drag Race audience who initially came to support us. This audience is most often straight women between 25 and 35. Our first audiences were them and tourists.

It was pretty successful straight away. It almost sold out that first night and that was when we decided that we just needed to keep this going.”

Over time the night’s became so popular that more and more performers wanted to be a part of it.

Photo /_Lovísa Sigurjónsdóttir

GoGo: “Eventually as we kept doing shows, more and more people contacted us wanting to get involved and over time we had too many to keep them all in this one night a month show. So then Drag Lab was born to be a second show, and then another night was started to be more of an open mic for those who wanted to take their first baby drag steps or try out material.”

GayIceland: “And can you explain the name of that first drag night to those who don’t speak Icelandic?”

GoGo: (laughs) “It’s so stupid. I mean honestly Drag Sugar would make more sense. But it’s not Drag Sugar, it’s Drag Súgur. I’m obsessed with ridiculous Icelandic puns. A ‘súgur’ is a very specific type of draft or breeze. It’s the kind of cold wind that comes in through a window or creeps in under the door. So the idea of it was that DragSúgur wasn’t going to just be in one location, it was going to move around and could basically creep in anywhere. But we just got really comfortable in Gaukurinn and it just became our home.”

GayIceland: “So from that first night to now, how did the Drag Súgur nights chance over almost 6 years?”

GoGo: “I think the way it started was people coming from their corner of Iceland with their idea for a number. The show was basically a collection of separate isolated performance pieces. As time went on we slowly but surely built a community around it. There was a lot more collaboration and discussion. There were group numbers and duets. We wanted to keep making things bigger and grander. Also in Iceland you often get a lot of the same people showing up to watch the show each time, so you always think that you can’t do the same thing again so people kept wanting to do something new each time. I mean in reality you don’t have to, you can just keep perfecting the act you have but people wanted to keep pushing themselves.

We never really had a big overall plan. It just sort of organically evolved. Over time more people joined the community and then I think it really elevated drag and people’s ideas of drag locally. Like you of course had the drag race fans coming to the shows and they had a certain idea of drag, but we were also able to show them that drag race is one kind of drag and there are lots of others too. It doesn’t always have to be this ‘pretty, cookie-cutter drag’.

Also for us as performers there was a lot of growth throughout this 6 year journey, so as a show there’s a really personal connection to it for a lot of different people. There’s so many performers who came from this little drag night 6 years ago and we’re very proud of the legacy we’re leaving behind. It’s been an amazing journey.”

Photo /_Lovísa Sigurjónsdóttir

GayIceland: “So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. This night became huge. In my own experience hosting this show, it became so big that eventually you didn’t even have to advertise anymore, it would just be sold out. So many performers have become stars in their own right because of this show and it’s always succeeded, so why stop now?”

GoGo: “The original idea was that we would stop after Drag Súgur turned f 5, but then Covid happened so we had to wait a little bit till stuff could be a little bit more normal.

For the first year, the show was a real collaborative effort but then for the last couple of years I’ve been the one organizing it all. It takes a lot of time and energy and it sounds selfish to say ‘I want to let it go’ but that’s not really the point. It’s done such amazing things and I really think it’s served its purpose and it’s time for the next evolution in what’s to come when it comes to local variety shows and drag shows.

We birthed a whole scene. We’ve seen so many incredible performers come from it and I would really like this to just remain a legendary moment. I want this to end on a high note, I don’t want to take a step backwards and run the risk that it will degrade over time.”

GayIceland: “So the final show is happening (tonight, November 12 and) on November 13. What can people expect?”

GoGo: “Honestly I have always had a wet dream to have the show in Þjóðleikhúskjallarinn (the basement of the National Theatre of Iceland), and this time that wet dream is coming true.

It’s a fabulous cast, some of them have been a part of Drag Súgur history from the very beginning. Everybody is thinking very deeply about their numbers and how to do it on a slightly bigger stage and in a new atmosphere.

Everyone has been evolving as a performer, even through the pandemic so you’re going to see some new twists, some new perspectives, new spices of life. I just think it’s gonna be so fun. There’s even costumes that are the same for everyone. We are taking a bit of a step up with everything. With the theme Drag Súgur – Swan’s Song, it’s going to be a fabulous last hurrah before we metaphorically die, and you just shouldn’t miss it.”

It’s a fabulous cast, some of them have been a part of Drag Súgur history from the very beginning. Everybody is thinking very deeply about their numbers and how to do it on a slightly bigger stage and in a new atmosphere.

GayIceland: “Are there any particular memories that stand out for you from all the performances in the past 6 years?”

GoGo: “I think my fondest memories are of the first year. It was before we all started taking it seriously, well at least before I did. It was just a monthly night where there was this magical place where I could run in and do whatever I wanted. I felt unstoppable and like I could be whatever I wanted to.

It was the first time that I had ever experienced being impressed with the work I was doing. I also think some of the most memorable moments for me were those times where I got to see people’s first steps on stage. It’s a really special moment to be a part of.”

GayIceland: “So how can people get tickets to see the show?”

GoGo: “Well we put tickets on sale for the 13th and they sold out within a week so we added another show the night before (tonight – Friday the 12th of November) so if you’re wanting to come, book tickets now. You can’t just come on the night cause once those seats are sold that’s it.”

As the curtain prepares to close on such an influential pice of queer performance history in Iceland, it’s a great time to remind any readers to get out, see shows and support your local artists.

Drag Súgur is coming to a close, but it doesn’t mean the end for queer performance in Iceland.

The final Drag Súgur show will take place on Friday November 12 and Saturday November 13 at Þjóðleikhúskjallarinn at 21:00. There are only tickets available to the Friday show so book now by clicking here.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.


Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.


    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.



        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

        With over 4,300 employees in 39 offices around the world, at Nasdaq we all contribute to the success of the company and its culture, and each one of us has the ability to make a difference. When it comes to our core mission and values, we embrace the role of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) as a fundamental driver of our corporate growth, workplace culture and market development. We strive to create a culture that embraces the power of different perspectives—a culture where people’s unique backgrounds and different experiences helps us fuel innovation and support our clients around the world.

        Our unique position at the center of the capital markets allows us to see firsthand how these values have redefined corporate culture and success, deepening and accelerating our own commitment to champion inclusive growth and prosperity, as we strive to create more equitable opportunities to help people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. Most notably, we published our diversity statistics for the first time in 2020. These metrics serve as a quantitative assessment of where we are today and help determine what strategies we need to adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace. We recognize that we have much work to do, but we are steadfast in our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture—one that reflects the communities in which we live, allows all employees to be their true, authentic selves and fosters individual growth and achievement.

        As we move forward together, we will continue advancing diverse ideas and perspectives that help fulfill the promise of a more inclusive and prosperous world. We aim to set the pace for rethinking capital markets and economies anywhere and everywhere. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at www.nasdaq.com.

        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
        comes from 2.000 meters within the earth where seawater and freshwater converge in a tectonic realm of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals—the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

        From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing two hotels, three restaurants, three
        geothermal lagoons, a subterranean spa, a renowned line of skin care, a thriving research center, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

        Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

        The Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

        Whales of Iceland
        - larger than life

        Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

        Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

        The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

        Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        Aurora Reykjavik
        - northern lights center

          Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

          Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

          The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

          Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

          Contact Aurora

            Your Name (required)

            Your Email (required)


            Your Message

            - get inspired

            Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

            Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

            More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

            VSÓ Ráðgjöf


              VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

              - for all your Apple needs

              From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

              Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
              For all your Apple needs. We are here.

              Ísey skyr
              - once tasted never forgotten

              Our Story
              Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

              For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

              Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
              This is our secret and you are in on it

              You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

              - noodle bar

              Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

              All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
              We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
              Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

              Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

              - adventure cruise

              Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
              and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

              The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.


              This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.


              The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

              Birds, possible to spot:
              -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
              -eider ducks
              -white-tailed eagle

              The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
              Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

              Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

              Contact Us

              Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.