The Reykjavík Arts Festival is held every year in May. It was held biennially from 1970 and annually from 2004. The Festival is one of Northern Europe's the oldest and most respected arts festivals. It is organised by an Artistic Director, appointed by the Board. The three Board members are appointed, respectively, by the Minister of Culture and Education, the Mayor of Reykjavik and the Festival´s Council of Representatives.
The Festival is financed by the Government and City Council, box office income and private sponsors, and is presided over by the Minister of Culture and the Mayor of Reykjavík on a rotating basis.
Vladimir Ashkenazy, one of the founders of the Festival, has been honorary president from the outset. The patron is the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.
The purpose of the Festival is to promote Icelandic and international culture in all fields of art. The programs offer a range of concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions, dance and opera. In combination with its focus on Icelandic culture, past and present, the Festival has hosted many outstanding international artists and performers.