Bear Festival opens today with international attendees

Back out of hibernation, these boys are ready to socailize

Back again with their warm hospitality and inventive parties, Bangsafélagið (the Bear Association of Iceland) kicks off their schedule for the Reykjavik Bear fesitval today with an opening party at Hurra. Starting at 19:30 and going until the covid rules shut the bar down, anyone who identifies as a bear, bear lover, bear-aficionado, or just a bear-ally is welcome to join. Haven’t ever been to a Reykjavik Bear party before? Don’t feel you have the hair or build of a bear? It doesn’t matter, the whole community is welcome!

Events for the rest of the weekend include a golden circle tour tomorrow followed by a Friday night chill party at Gaukurinn. This gathering is usually a topless gathering where the bears can let their summer coats air out, but the organizers this year have said we may need to be a little less frisky because of covid restrictions. Maybe masks on, shirts off? DJ Mighty Bear will be spinning tracks for the night so be sure to hit the dancefloor and shake loose those pandemic blues. All of the Reykjaivk Bear events are also perfect for meeting some international bears attending the festival, imported and ready to find companions to take back to their dens… I mean hotel rooms!

Saturday the fun continues with a Blue Lagoon soak where all the bears in attendance can float with a beer and nurse hangovers with mimosas. Will a wild bear be seen salmon-in-mouth in these hot springs? We’ll see!

Later in the evening, the main Laugardagspartý is at Iðusalir, smack in the middle of town above Hard Rock Cafe. “We’ll start the night with our great friend DJ Kris from the UK getting the party underway! Rumor has it that we will have a drag show during the evening before our local celebrity bear and famed radio host, DJ Siggi Gunnars takes over and kicks the party into high gear!” says the event info.

Then if you met the bear of your dreams and just can’t bare to see him go, Sunday morning offers a farewell brunch at queer owned Jómfrúin restaurant to say goodbye. Full passes for RVK Bear include all the events, but if you’re just a local looking to party there’s party-only passes available that come with a RVK Bear t-shirt. If you’ve missed the chance for tickets online you can also purchase them at the welcome desk of the opening party this evening.

The core group of bears behind this year’s events include: Andres Pelaez, Sigurður Júlíus Guðmundsson, Harald Schaller and Jóhannes Helgi Gíslason.

To find out more about these bears, who’s behind the festival’s magic this year, and more, GayIceland chatted with Andres Pelaez from Bangsafélagið.

What kind of hijinks do you bears have planned this year?
“RVK Bear officially kicks off on Thursday night with the welcome party for all our guests to check-in for the event and get their passes. It‘s an evening to get acquainted with the rest of the group and give friendly elbow bumps to all the local bears organizing the event!

On Friday, adventure awaits as we take the bears on a private Golden Circle tour. We want to showcase some of the unique Icelandic nature. That evening we enjoy our Friday Chill party featuring local DJ Mighty Bear, who will make sure we have the right vibe for the evening! In the past this has been a top-off party, however due to this new covid life of ours we encourage everyone to party safely as possible.”

“We are expecting about 30 guests to join us for this year‘s event from abroad, and we of course highly encourage our local community to come out and have fun with us all throughout the week.”

Full details of the festival’s covid-19 precautions can be found on their website and of course the most up to date information is always at covid.is
“After a night of partying it’s always a good idea to soak up and relax! So on Saturday, full event pass holders will have the chance to experience the world famous Blue lagoon in style. That evening, we have the main party of Reykjavik Bear! A night with live entertaintment and great music. The party will be at Iðusalir where we’ll start the night with our great friend DJ Kris With a K from the UK getting the night underway! There will be a seductive performance by GóGó Starr and friends, before our local celebrity bear and famed radio host- DJ Siggi Gunnars- takes over and kicks the party into high gear! It will be a night to remember!

Finally, on Sunday we gather the bears for some traditional Icelandic food to revive the soul, after having enjoyed the previous night. This is a day to relax, make plans for coming to next year‘s event, and spend some more time with all the new bear friends!”

Who’s on the team running it all?

“The Reykjavik Bear team is formed by volunteers from previous years who all participated in different tasks like preparing the venues, welcoming guests and making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. We come from different fields of expertise and multiple nationalities, but we all share a love of Iceland and our passion for the local bear community.

The core group of us established Bangsafélagið (The Bear Association of Iceland) as a non-profit organisation to plan and host the event, as well as raising awareness and visibility of the bear community in Iceland. We have been planning now for two years and we are extremely thankful to have a network of great bear friends who are always willing to help. Without them it would be impossible to do this!”

The core group of bears behind this year’s events include: Andres Pelaez, Harald Schaller, Sigurður Júlíus Guðmundsson, Jóhannes Helgi Gíslason. A whole pack of volunteer bears and their friends help produce these wonderful events.

Who will be at Rvk Bear 2021? Foreigners? I haven’t seen a foreigner in a year and a half!
“We are expecting about 30 guests to join us for this year‘s event from abroad, and we of course highly encourage our local community to come out and have fun with us all throughout the week.”

What are you looking forward to most this year?
“I think what we are looking forward to the most is bringing people (safely) together, that human interaction that has been taken away from us for a very long time now. We are keen to have the best possible time and enjoying the company of others, enjoying trips, food and parties together! We are looking forward to welcoming our guests for the first time or a repeat visit, to show them what Iceland is all about, and to show them that RVKBear is more than just a party.”

“The bear community in Iceland needs a lot more visibility. We believe that there is still a lot of stigma for being a bear- a bigger guy, a hairy guy- or even liking the bears when you are not one yourself.”

What would you like to see change in the conversation about bear culture?
“The bear community in Iceland needs a lot more visibility. We believe that there is still a lot of stigma for being a bear- a bigger guy, a hairy guy- or even liking the bears when you are not one yourself. And there should be no shame for anything of the sort. We would love to erase these biases and instead raise awareness for body positivity and encourage the LGBTQIA+ community to do so as well.”

Singer / songwriter Tom Goss.

Wait, y’all meet up with famed bear obsessive and singer-songwriter Tom Goss? Spill the tea!
“It was one of those amazing coincidences in life! Tom was here on a holiday and reached out to Reykjavík Bear so we got to spend some time with him, met with some of our volunteer group and had a great time. Just for those who still haven‘t had the chance to hear about him, Tom Goss is an LA-based singer-songwriter who loves recording, playing live, score films and much more. He is a favorite within the bear community because he appreciates and celebrates bears, as one of his songs – BEARS – very well depicts. Who knows, maybe he will be staying a few more days and we might see him during Reykjavik Bear!

It‘s no secret we have been planning RVKBear two years now! We are ready to welcome one and all, and have the best time we could have possibly imagined considering the circumstances. We look forward to seeing everyone this week!”

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.

Locations:

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 (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.

        Landsbankinn
        - leading financial institution
        Landsbankinn

        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

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            Dohop
            - get inspired
            Dohop

            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.

              Macland
              - for all your Apple needs
              Macland

              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.

              Núðluskálin
              - noodle bar
              Núðluskálin

              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).

              Seatours
              - 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.

              600x400-seatours-tasting

              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.

              600x400-seatours

              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
              -shags
              -kittiwakes
              -fulmars
              -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


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