After Roskilde…

July 10, 2013 at 12:02 am

Orange Stage

The tent is packed, we are back home and we have had the time to rest after four days of continuous music partying. I doubt that I will festival-camp again, I think I’m too comfortable for that, but you never know. Visiting The Roskilde Festival again is another matter, I most certainly will, as the festival is a wonderful experience. I haven’t seen the official attendance numbers yet, but from what I saw it’s not hard to guess that it was a success. And that’s pretty amazing in these days when genre-broad festivals struggle and shut down, at least here in Sweden, while niche-festivals celebrate. When it comes to the music, I have no other word than: fantastic.

The music selection

I am more than impressed with the selection of artists on the festival, by the range and the quality. The entire schedule feels like a carefully arranged, gigantic puzzle where the old intermingle with the new, various genres with each other, the quiet with the loud, pop with traditional music from other parts of the world. The majority of the audience come from Denmark and it’s only natural that there are a good variety of Danish artists. And there are, which they manage in a way that it doesn’t feel specifically like a festival for the Danes. And there certainly are a some artists with some big new hits in their backpack, but this is not a teen festival where this is the focus of the selection. The size of the event with almost 200 concerts makes it possible for the more niched listener to find his way through all four days, whether you’re into metal, folk, electronica, indie, pop etc, but I have a feeling that many who attend have quite a varied menu.

The sound

Front pitI have hardly ever been to live concerts, indoors or outdoors, big or small, with such a great sound. One of the eight scenes, The Arena,  may have had a slightly dizzier sound, but other than that it was the sweetest, clearest sound I’ve ever heard live. The volume was a problem for me sometimes, especially on the main stage, as I have quite sensitive ears, but I could easily compensate with ear plugs and distance to the speakers.


Large  exalted bodies of people is a danger in itself, which the festival sadly experienced a little more than a decade ago. They have worked hard, since then, making the concerts more secure, and I can say that it feels good to be out there now. Well, it’s something that you think a little extra about, when you have to care of a thirteen year old daughter. The large scenes are divided into sections with paths in between, and there are only a certain number of people who are allowed into each section. Between these sections there are plenty of officials who supervise and readily hand out water to anyone who wants it. I have to commend these volunteers for their calm way and their smiling, respectful treatment of everyone, which I think matters a lot for the atmosphere both at the scenes and outside.

The food

FoodWhen I ask my daughter about her favourite things on the festival, the food is always one of the top items on her list. There’s a fine variety of fast food, it tastes good, you get a handsome portion and to a fair price. You’ll find the classic noudle boxes, pasta dishes, tacos, hot dogs as well as many different and new kind of plates and snacks.

The spirit

Yes there is a special atmosphere on The Roskilde Festival, which I would describe as bohemic and happy. People are in general kind and smiling and as I mentioned before, it matters that the more than 30 000 volunteers who work with the festival have the right attitude, and they really have. There seem to be an endless streem of beer, liquor and wine to the almost 100 000 visitors, and we met quite a few people with dim eyes and not-so-stable legs already on the first night. After a few days of the festival I could notice though, that we hadn’t seen a single incident on the festival area; if something was in the way, it ended up in excuses and smiles, as far as we could see.

Some other stuff

I don’t have any big hangups with the festival, possibly one with the toilets. It feels sometimes like: “Wow, we have created such a cool site now, with everything we need, but shouldn’t we have some toilets too?”, which leads to various solutions, among them some , although creative, less tasteful variants.
There are plenty of dustbins, but the placement is a bit enigmatic at times; you can find loads of them in one place, while there are none at some frequented streets. They have a generous refund system for bottles, cans and plastic glasses, but since I don’t want to spend half an hour looking for a refund stall, I find myself carrying around pet bottles and cans, frantically looking for somewhere to hand it in or a bin to throw it away. Most people don’t seem to bother about this, but throw it in the normal dust bins or in the street. I wouldn’t call the area filthy, though; there are plenty of “refund hunters” and the day after everything is clean and tidy again, thanks to all theese great volunteers.

Yes, the Roskilde Festival met my expectations with the music by far. The big artists delivered great shows and I discovered loads of new great artists to follow, which I will come back to in my next post.

Next year The Roskilde Festival takes place between June 28th and July 6th.