Spending a day at the legendary Roskilde Festival in Denmark

Over 8 days, 100,000 passionate music lovers get together to experience music, camping culture, art, community, charity and sustainability at the Roskilde Festival. There are different zones around the festival including: street city, graffiti zone, art zone and Dream City. Roskilde Festival is about 30 kilometers from Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, and after being built, this temporary city becomes the 4th largest in Denmark. Although I only attended one day, I couldn’t help but get swept up in the vibe…

The festival opened June 27th for the campers. And that’s an experience within itself. Each year festival goers go to great lengths to theme their camp site. This year I saw Game of Thrones (the most popular theme of the year), Where’s Wally (and many Wally’s walking around), the naked people, girls-only zone, boys-only zone and lots and lots of rainbow flags! And of course you can vote for your favourite camp site.

Also at Roskilde you could visit the street city, graffiti zone, art zone and my favourite, Dream City, a place where you can take part in creating an urban neighbourhood.

I also attended the debut of Nine Rocks, a short documentary commemorating the death of nine festival goers who died tragically at Roskilde during a Pearl Jam set in 2000, Nine Rocks was a poignant highlight.

The music started on Wednesday 1st July with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Australia’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and the mighty Pharrell Williams who got everyone dancing.

There were so many great bands including a strong local (Danish) lineup featuring The Mountains, Wangel, Minds of 99, Suspekt, WhoMadeWho, many others and my favourite, Mew!

I managed to squeeze into the tent where Father John Misty was performing. Luckily the tent wasn’t enclosed otherwise it would’ve been bursting at the seams! He was on fire! Even during the first song he had us all eating out of the palm of his hand. The tent was already heating up, but he raised the temperature when he started to dance. I swear I saw a few ladies faint as he ripped through “I Love You, Honeybear”.

So what would the odds be that two artists I have been looking forward to see were booked at exactly the same time? High, of course. I had to run from Father John to Ryan Adams.

I have been a fan of Ryan Adams ever since he stumbled on the stage at the Palace Hotel in 2005 (Melbourne), cigarette hanging out of his mouth (I think he smoked a couple of packets that night) and yelling at audience members for mentioning (I think some even requested) “Summer of 69”.

Ryan performed crowd pleasers “New York, New York” and “Come Pick Me Up” as well as newbie “Gimme Something Good”. I was in Ryan Adams heaven.

At Roskilde there is a strong focus on sustainability and renewable energy. All tableware is recyclable and you can recharge your phone simply by cycling for an hour. It was also one of the cleanest festivals I’ve attended.

There were many recycling stations where you could hand in empty bottles and plastic cups and get refunded. You could actually spend a day or two collecting bottles and pay for your own entrance ticket with the funds.

So back to the music! Another highlight for the day was St. Vincent however I was stuck outside again with roaring crowds cheering from the inside. St Vincent was scheduled immediately after Ryan Adams, so another sprint was made through the ‘streets’ of Roskilde.

At the time, I was sick but I managed to see Florence and the Machine, who made me forget all about my blocked nose. Florence is ethereal, beautiful and has such a strong and powerful presence – I swear I saw angels above her.

It is one of the coolest music festivals in the world and only 2nd to Glastonbury in age. So to break it down, the average audience member is 24 years – haha, I’m a little past that! It’s pretty even in terms of gender, and more than half of the audience are singles so come on over single people of the world!!!

Most of the guests are Danes, the rest are made up of Scandinavians and the rest of the world. Amongst the Danes, attending the festival is like a rite a passage. The festival is scheduled for just after the final exams/graduation so friends get together, camp, party and enjoy the soundtrack of their lives!!

What an amazing festival, and a killer lineup; Kendrick Lamar, St Vincent, Florence and the Machine, Hot Chip, First Aid Kit, Benjamin Booker, Die Antwood, Girl Band, Thåstrom, The Tallest Man on Earth, Lindigo, Disclosure and many many more… And of course Sir Paul McCartney who I am thinking very positively will do at least ONE MORE TOUR of Australia!!!

Did I mention the festival is 100% non-profit? Each year the Roskilde Festival Charity Society donates all profits to humanitarian, cultural and non-profit projects all over the world. Since it started the festival has donated more than 35 million AUD to organisations including Doctors without Borders, Amnesty International, Save the Children and more.

For more information on the festival, which returns from the 25th of June until the 2nd of July, check out their website here: http://www.roskilde-festival.dk/


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