In Roskilde, the music and the party last for a week, but the real show starts on Wednesday afternoon, which serves as a warm-up for the rest of the festival, and ends on Saturday. Even if it rains, as it was the case last year, there is little need for warm up when all the tickets are sold out and the festival area is full of energy and action. Danish organization did help! The Roskilde crew and volunteers were fast to drain the puddles or cover the bigger ones with sawdust.
Every day, we enjoyed an eclectic mix of music, from the African vibes of Alsarah and the Nubatones, to the dreamy mood of Bonobo, stopping in between to enjoy the sensibility and grace of Kevin Morby. Both, Bonobo and Kevin Morby will be around Finnish festivals this year, don’t miss them!
Thursday was the big day for Future Islands, one of those bands where you want to shout louder than the singer, which is not easy. Samuel T. Herring, the frontman, makes it clear that he is in charge singing, running, dancing and pushing the audience to the limit. The other shows of the day partly tell why the festival sold-out: The XX, Royal Blood, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Solange, Gucci Mane… There is something for everyone and no way to see them all, but always something interesting to see in Roskilde.
Music is certainly a strong point for Roskilde, with great stages and great sound in all of them. At Roskilde festival you can do much more than listening to music:
Roskilde Festival has developed a great collaboration with local associations and companies to feed the hungry concert-goers. These collaborations have turned into institutions that keep everyone happy, including the local community.
For example, the Himmelev Volleyball club serves a super-tasty portion spaghetti ala bolognese worth queuing for, and have been doing that for almost every year. If these restaurants were not there every year, the festival experience would not feel complete. You can notice how they have polished their operations to produce great food at great speed and minimal waste.
At Roskilde you can find cuisines from all around the world: Thai, Italian, Mexican, Spanish and many others. One thing they all now have in common is that they all have to offer one vegetarian dish, if not all of them.
In a festival where the main sponsor is a brewery, finding some excellent beers to drink won’t be a problem. Festival organizers are becoming more user-oriented, and, at Roskilde, you can now preorder one, two, or twenty, cold boxes of beer and pick them up in your camp.
Luckily, not everything is beer. You can drink a kiwi mojito while listening to an improvised jazz session in the Piano Bar, or chill out with a strawberry daiquiri in the Sputnik bar. But if you want to go pass the no-return point go to the JagerBodega and get some bitter shots.
As part of their drive towards creating a festival of experiences, Roskilde Festival has been hosting the Dream City initiative since 2012. A great idea to get the audience to dream big and design their own festival experience. Months before the festival, the audience submits their ideas for the Dream City. These ideas should include a building that you will build, and program of events that you will be organizing in the building. If your idea is selected, then you have a few days before the festival to build up your dream with the help of your friends.
Apart from the some reusable material saved from the last year, all the festival offers is a digging machine to help with the foundations of your building. The rest is up to your imagination. Past ideas have ranged from ’art-churches’ made with beer cans to a Danish Viking castle. Constructions you would not expect to find in any other festival but Roskilde festival.
If you have a running fever, Roskilde festival gives you the opportunity to show your skills three times. When the festival opens its gates to the public the fastest ones get the best spots in the camping, see next point. Also when they open the area with the stages, the first one to get to the Orange Stage gets the glory and a bottle of Champagne.
But the most famous running event is the one organized by the Festival Radio. Every festival’s Thursday attendants run naked, and the first man and first woman get a free ticket for next year’s festival. Running naked has now become so popular that are arranging male qualifiers for the final race. We think the hippies at the radio did not plan for so competitive event when they thought about this race first!
Camping is definitely one of the key experiences at the Roskilde Festival. The huge camping area, adjacent to the concert area, hosts most of the 160,000 participants, including the 30,000 volunteers that attend the festival every year.
While all of them eventually fit in the different camping zones, not all camping zones are created equal. Huge queues form at the gates the day the festival starts. And as the gates open a stream of experienced and novice participants run around the camping area to secure the best spots: those not too far from the concert area, not too close the toilets, not on a valley (to avoid floods)… One thing that is almost sure no one will find is a shade.
The camping zone is on top of a gravel pit and trees are sadly absent. Luckily, the camping atmosphere, with its parties, friendly neighborhoods, beer delivery service, make up for the lack of modern comfort. Still, to appease older, and richer, attendants Roskilde Festival has begun offering ’luxury’ camping zones, which are cleaner and quieter. Last year, it took less than 2 hours to sell most of the spots, so plan ahead!
The Roskilde Festival is a non-profit organisation, like Ilosaarirock in Joensuu, so just buying the ticket make you contribute to great causes. But if you feel like you could give more or do more for your fellow living beings, there are plenty of possibilities of were to collaborate.
You can donate the refund money from your empty bottles, or your tent or sleeping bag. You can also buy the “making a change” ticket that adds a 27€ donative on top of the normal price. Last year the Roskilde Festival generated a total profit of 2.2 million Euros making a total of 36 million Euros through all this years. All this money was donated to charity organizations such as Amnesty International, Red Cross, LGBT Asylum and many others.
Look each other in the eyes while your favorite band plays your song, share a drink with a friend you just met, dance embraced like you’re alone in the middle of a crowd, laugh while your waiting in the toilets. Left yourself go by the Danish’s summer and fall in love with one of the most friendly, cheerful and beautiful audiences in the world.