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|Genre||Rock, pop, electronic, reggae, hip hop, world|
|Dates||Four days, starting from first Thursday in July, or last Thursday in June with a 4-day warm-up|
|Founded by||Mogens Sandfær, Jesper Switzer Møller (at that time Magnussen), and promotor Carl Fischer|
The Roskilde Festival is a Danish music festival held annually south of Roskilde. It is one of the largest music festivals in Europe and the largest in Northern Europe. It was created in 1971 by two high school students, Mogens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller, and promoter Carl Fischer. In 1972, the festival was taken over by the Roskilde Foundation, which has since run the festival as a non-profit organization for development and support of music, culture and humanism. In 2014, the Roskilde Foundation provided festival participants with the opportunity to nominate and vote upon which organizations should receive funds raised by the festival.
The Roskilde Festival was Denmark's first music-oriented festival created for hippies, and today covers more of the mainstream youth from Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. The Roskilde Festival 2013 had more than 180 performing bands and was attended by some 130,000 festivalgoers, along with more than 21,000 volunteers, 5,000 media people and 3,000 artists – totalling almost 160,000 people who participated in the festival.
Until the mid-1990s, the festival attracted mostly Scandinavians, but in recent years it has become more and more international (with an especially large influx of Germans, Australians and British).
The first Roskilde Festival was held on 28 and 29 August 1971, originally named the Sound Festival. It was inspired by festivals and youth gatherings like Newport, Isle of Wight and Woodstock. It was characterized mainly by poor management but also great enthusiasm. The festival's inaugural year saw roughly 20 bands ranging from folk, jazz, rock and pop genres all playing on a single stage, which lasted for two days with approximately some 10,000 visitors per day.
In 1978, festival organizers acquired the Canopy Scene, an orange musical stage previously used by The Rolling Stones on a European tour. Since its beginning, the Canopy Scene and its characteristic arches have become a well-known symbol and logo representing the festival.
In the 1990s, electronic music was introduced to the festival. In 1991, Club Roskilde was held, which was an electronic music dance club held in the evenings. In 1995, electronic music artists received their own stage. In the following years, even more room for electronic music was created by the establishment of the chill-out zone and the Roskilde Lounge. Since then, artists like Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx and Chemical Brothers appeared on the main stage.
By the 1990s, the number of tickets offered for sale was restricted and later even reduced. Due to steadily increasing popularity of the festival, the number of visitors had increased to up to 125,000. In addition, 90,000 tickets for about 25,000 volunteers, 5,000 media people and 3,000 artists were added. In order to preserve the quality of the festival, the festival organizers decided to limit the number of participants. The distance from the rearmost part of the camping area to the stages of the festival management seemed to have become unreasonable. The festival had become so popular that the festival management decided in 1994 to expand the festival area to the west. The festival site was now on divided by the railway line into two parts. In 1996 the festival had its own station, which should facilitate the arrival of visitors. In 1997, another tent called Roskilde Ballroom was built.
The bands presented at Roskilde Festival are traditionally a balanced mix of large, well-known artists, cutting-edge artists from all contemporary genres, popular crowd-pleasing acts plus local Scandinavian headliners and up-and-coming names.
The stages were until 2003 named after their colour, but as the names had not matched the actual color of the tents for a period, it was decided to rename all stages except the Orange Stage, the central and main stage. The Orange Stage is open in front of a huge field, whereas the other tents cover the whole audience, the largest of which is the Arena stage (formerly known as Green Stage), the largest tent in Europe with an official capacity of 17,000 people. The 2007 edition saw two new tents, replacing Ballroom (1997–2006) which presented mainly World music, and Metropol (2003–2006) which presented mainly Electronica. In 2010 two stages, Astoria (from 2007) and Lounge, did not return, due to a slight shift in focus towards fewer, but bigger bands. In 2014 the Odeon stage was cancelled along with the surrounding sustainable-style food outlets, and the area was replaced with pre-booked tents for festival guests that prefer not to bring their own.
The music covers such styles as rock, Hip Hop, Metal, urban, electronica and 3rd world contemporary music. It has become a tradition to let a Danish act open the Orange Stage on the first day of the festival. There are often surprising performances by classical acts, film-music, opera etc.
Apart from music there is always some theatre and 'lone acts' wandering around the festival site. Terrain and tents are always decorated in various ways. The current tents are:
|Stage name||Year introduced||Capacity||Main genres||Replaced|
|Avalon||2014||6,000||Hip Hop, Electronica, Urban world music, Metal||Cosmopol/Odeon|
|Pavilion||2003||2,000||Mixed, mostly rock-ish||Blue Stage|
|Rising||2014||5,000||Mixed – only up and coming Nordic acts||Pavilion Junior|
The festival campsite covers nearly 80 hectares and access to it is included in the ticket price. It usually opens on Sunday morning prior to the festival itself. Apart from the small and separate Camping South it is divided into two areas, East and West, each comprising a service center with establishments ranging from food stalls to a cinema. The campsite is further divided into 'agoras' that provide toilets, cell phone charging and luggage storage. They also host events according to each agora's theme: dance, skate, swim etc.
Over the most recent years, the opening of the campsite has turned into an event of its own; large areas of the campsite each year is turned into gravel pits which has increased demand for prime spots in the campsite. Thousands of people arrive during Saturday (some even arrive several days before), to wait in the queue until 16:00 that afternoon when the gates to the campsite officially open. Due to this, the festival has introduced temporary transit areas (in both East and West), making it possible to let all these thousands of people get in at the same time. The last couple of years the fences around the transit areas has been knocked down several hours ahead of official opening by festival guests eager to get the spot for their tent.
In recent years, the fences into the camping site have been overrun earlier than the official opening. This is called "Væltning af hegnet" (The overturning of the fence). The festival has improved security at the fences up until the festival, but without success. Thus the camping site was overrun in 2008 and again in 2009.
As of 2018, a new gate system has been installed. This means that all guests arriving first fill 7 rows of the gate system (1000 people in each). Behind this, a large field holding all remaining guests. At 16:00 on the opening Saturday, the gates open, one row at a time at approx 90sec intervals. Once this is complete, the remaining guest in the back area are free to enter the camping area.
Every year since 1999, on the Saturday of the festival (held on a Thursday in 2015, 2016 and 2017), Roskilde Festival Radio organizes a naked run around the camp site. One male and one female winner receive a ticket for the next year's festival. In the past few years, the naked run has become so popular that the Festival Radio has been forced to arrange qualifier events for the male participants.
During Pearl Jam's concert at the Orange Stage on 30 June 2000, a crush occurred. Nine people died, and twenty-six people were injured, three of them seriously. The dead included a 26-year-old cadet police officer from Hamburg, a 23-year-old Dutchman and three Swedes, two aged 22 and one 20. Three Danes, including a 17-year-old, also died. These nine victims died when they were crushed as the crowd rushed toward the stage. The reasons for their deaths were examined by police, public prosecutors, and subsequent civil trials, all of which determined that the causes were accidental. Many people fell down at one place; when they did not immediately get up, crowdsurfers fell into this "hole", and people at the bottom died of suffocation. On the day of the incident, there was also heavy rainfall, which could have contributed to the ground being slippery. By the time security guards in front of the stage got to the area of the accident after the music had been stopped, it was too late. As crowd surfing seems to have been among the precipitating factors, it was subsequently forbidden across most festivals in Europe.
In the following year, the accident led to significant changes in safety procedures in order to avoid similar situations – not just at Roskilde Festival, but also at other festivals in Europe. Before the accident in 2000, Roskilde Festival was considered one of the safest festivals. Many other festivals have smaller safety systems than Roskilde Festival and revised their procedures even further. Glastonbury Festival in England chose to cancel its festival in 2001, in part to consider lessons from Roskilde, although mainly due to an influx of 150,000 non-ticketed visitors at its own 2000 event. Each year Roskilde Festival makes an extensive health and safety assessment on the basis of which the festival is executed. The accident at the Orange Stage led to the construction of a memorial ground on the festival site containing a stone with the inscription "How fragile we are" (a quote from the Sting song "Fragile") surrounded by nine trees.
Pearl Jam's song "Love Boat Captain" references the tragedy with the line "Lost nine friends we'll never know... two years ago today." When performed in concert, lead singer Eddie Vedder modifies the lyric to reflect the passage of time since the tragedy.
The 2010 festival officially opened with a memorial to those killed in 2000. Patti Smith held the short pre-concert ceremony, and she chose to open the tribute with accompanying music from Mozart. Her lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye, then read out the nine men's names while Smith threw nine roses into the crowd.
Festival by year 1971-present
The 2004 festival featured artists such as Muse, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Santana, Korn, Pixies, Fatboy Slim, Wu-Tang Clan and Morrissey. David Bowie was scheduled to play at Roskilde 2004 but cancelled due to heart problems, with a notice on his website. Instead, Slipknot, who were on tour in Europe, filled the spot.
The 2005 edition featured artists such as Audioslave, Autechre, Snoop Dogg, Black Sabbath, D-A-D, Duran Duran, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Brian Wilson, Fantômas, Kent, Sonic Youth, Interpol and more than 160 other bands and DJs. This year was also a huge contrast to the previous year on the weather front. Hot and sunny all week.
With more than 79,000 paying visitors (as well as approximately 20 000 volunteer day workers), the 2006 festival was the biggest in Europe for the year. With only one day of rain and the rest of the week being sunny, this festival also ranks as one with lucky weather conditions. Changes from the previous year included a new swimming lake – which proved to be very successful due to the warm and sunny weather – and a lounge stage called Bar'n. Some of the performing artists were Bob Dylan, Immortal Technique, Roger Waters, Guns N' Roses, Tool, The Strokes, Deftones, Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, Kanye West, Placebo, Bullet For My Valentine, Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Rós and The Streets. Danish band Magtens Korridorer opened Orange Stage.
Roskilde Festival 2007 turned out to be the wettest one yet, by a rather large margin. Approximately 95 mm of rain fell during the course of the festival, as opposed to 44 mm in 1997, which was the wettest before 2007. Thursday was a day consisting only of rain, ending up with a lot of guests returning from the concerts to find their tents flooded. The organisers stated that it seemed that most of the people who left returned later on enjoyed a somewhat mixed weather experience Friday, and mostly dry, but a bit windy and chilly days on Saturday and Sunday.
The full programme was released on 19 April 2007 and included bands such as Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Björk, Beastie Boys, My Chemical Romance, Arctic Monkeys, The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers and Tiësto. Danish band Volbeat opened Orange Stage.
Also Danish rock band Nephew played at Orange Stage on 7 July. This concert was later released as a live CD/DVD named 07.07.07 – this referring to the date of the concert. Danish rapper L.O.C featured in the concert, where they also mixed their songs with other songs, e.g. singing a line from Rammstein's Amerika in the song USA DSB, and singing Black's Wonderful Life in the beginning of Movie Klip.
Roskilde Festival 2008 was dry with the exception of a 10-minute shower on Saturday 5 July and rain that started around 22:00 on Sunday 6 July. The sun shone for the rest of the festival.
The full programme was released on 16 April 2008 and included Jay Z, The Chemical Brothers, Band of Horses, Duffy, Kings of Leon, Neil Young, Radiohead, Grinderman, My Bloody Valentine, Gnarls Barkley, Girl Talk, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Streets, Judas Priest, Slayer, Tina Dickow, and The Hellacopters.
Roskilde Festival 2009 was the hottest in 33 years according to the festival newspaper Orange Press. The festival was hit by a major cancellation, when rapper Lil Wayne had to cancel due to sickness. He was replaced by Gogol Bordello who played the only 6 starred concert at the festival. Orange stage was opened by Swedish rapper Petter, who had prominent visitors on stage such as Dee Pee from Rockers by Choice and L.O.C, who was on Orange stage for the third year running (featuring on Nephew's Hospital in 2007, and his own concert in 2008). Petter has been called a failure for this concert, because he wasn't able to get a full crowd, and the opening of Orange has to be big. Nine Inch Nails played at Orange Stage Friday night at 01.00am – 03.00am and gave what several Danish newspapers called "the best concert of Roskilde '09". Nine Inch Nails were on "Wave Goodbye"-tour and will most likely never visit Denmark again. Roskilde '09 also meant the anticipated return of the Danish hip-hop group Malk de Koijn, who played a 2-hour concert the night between Saturday and Sunday at Arena, and a big party-atmosphere at Orange Stage Thursday night, when Trentemøller and prominent guests made all of the crowd dance as if they were clubbing. Danish rapper Jooks played as an up-and-coming act at Pavilion Junior Wednesday in the warm up days, and due to him having a major hit after he was booked (Hun vil ha' en rapper), the tent was packed to the limit in a concert, who could easily have filled one of the bigger stages.
The weather at 2010 festival was sunny all days of the event.
The 2011 had nice weather the first few days, but on Thursday-Friday there was massive rain. Roskilde Festival faced a sad incident when a young woman fell from the Tuborg tower to her death. The tickets were sold out, with a projected profit of around 10 million Kr. The opening of Orange Stage was done by Danish Veto, and was closed by Kings of Leon.
The 2013 festival featured acts such as Metallica, Sigur Rós, Volbeat, Kvelertak, Goat, Queens of the Stone Age, C2C, Daedelus, Slipknot, Disclosure, Chase and Status, Baauer, Holy Other, Jam City, Vatican Shadow and When Saints Go Machine and Rihanna.
The 2018 festival featured acts such as Joey Badass, Black Star, David Byrne, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Descendents, Eminem, Fever Ray, First Aid Kit, Fleet Foxes, Four Tet, Ben Frost, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gorillaz, Interpol, C.V. Jørgensen, Khalid, Dua Lipa, Chelsea Manning, Bruno Mars, Massive Attack, Mogwai, Pablo Moses, My Bloody Valentine, Nephew, Nine Inch Nails, Odesza, Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, Mike Skinner, St. Vincent, Vince Staples, Stone Sour, Stormzy, The Minds of 99, Alex Vargas and When Saints Go Machine.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Roskilde Festival.|
- Official website of the Roskilde Festival
- Official community website of the Roskilde Festival
- Roskilde Festival forum
- Festival radio website