Roskilde is a Danish music festival, situated just a two hour train journey away from the heart of Copenhagen. Being a quarter Danish, and having never visited Denmark before, my sister and I began a solo trip around the city of Copenhagen, ending up at a relatives house, before trekking from their small home town of Slagelse to the gigantic site that contains the four day musical experience.
Denmark is perhaps the cleanest and most friendly European country I have had the pleasure of visiting. English is widely spoken, the food is plentiful and delicious, and the culture is rich and varied. Public transport was easy to use and cheap, as well as running into the early hours of the summer mornings, meaning our commute to and from a comfortable bed and warm shower was not to arduous on our tired feet. This sets the scene for a welcoming and highly enjoyable festival experience.
Roskilde is a huge festival experience, with over 180 bands performing over the short four days on nine different stages, and nearly 130,000 festival attendees. It certainly felt like we were a part of something big. The festival operates as a non-profit organisation with the incentive to create music, culture, and humanism. Basically, if you want to have a great time, and feel like you’re contributing to something more than just a week long hangover and a sore body, Roskilde is the festival for you.
The 2013 festival featured acts such as Metallica, Sigur Rós, Queens of the Stone Age, C2C, Slipknot, Disclosure, Chase and Status, Baauer, Rihanna, FIDLAR, and MØ. The variation in music is what makes this festival so great, as well as its support for smaller artists. At my time of attendance, MØ wasn’t the chart topper she is today, and watching her live back then only prophesied her rise to stardom.
The stand out acts from the weekend included; Efterklang, Sigur Rós, FIDLAR, Of Monsters and Men, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I have never experienced a more ethereal moment in my life than Sigur Rós performing live at midnight in a packed but completely silent tent. The three-piece had complete control over every audience member and I remember coming out of their performance with tears rolling down my cheeks. They are truly a force of music.
Efterklang are Denmark’s own heroes of post-rock experimentation. Their music somehow represents Denmark in my eyes. Their music is complex and deep, yet minimalist and wildly enjoyable. Performing live they possess an energy I have never really experienced, they fill a stage with real music, rather than an over the top light show and back up dancers. Their music is honest, delightfully so.
2013 was my first time seeing FIDLAR live, and it was perhaps the best. A midday slot normally correlates with a hungover, exhausted audience, but by the end of the set everyone was jumping around and going wild. Performing tracks from their first self-titled album, they accepted offers of marijuana from the audience, and joined the crowd in going completely wild in the pit. After all, ‘Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk’.
Looking back on my experience at Roskilde, its difficult to understand why I haven’t returned to the festival since. With perhaps the most varied line-up for the price of the ticket, relatively cheap festival food and drink, and a delightful stage arrangement, European festivals are the future. Leave the muddy fields and teenage angst of British festivals in favour of a musical adventure across Europe.