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
“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!”

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



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    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.

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




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        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

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        - 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%.

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

        - 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.

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        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.

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          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.

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          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

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