Ten Things you did not know about Roskilde festival

original article here :

The Local Denmark

It’s that time of the year again ! The streets are filled with the tooting of trucks packed with hordes of newly graduated students in the mood for a party. With Northern Europe’s largest festival creeping over the dawn horizon, many of the newly graduated will be joined by thousands of others, young and old, for up to eight days of cathartic chaos that does away with the conformity and structure of the everyday.

In its place, everything from naked runs to tears of ecstasy and indelible crowd surfing moments are sure to normalize that which one would otherwise consider bizarre and even unbecoming.

Roskilde started out as an early 70’s idealist experiment modeled on the ethos of marquee counterculture happenings such as Woodstock and Isle of Man. Since then it has evolved into one of Europe’s giants on the festival scene, joining the likes of the U.K’s Glastonbury festival as one of the world’s most revered gatherings, both due to the eclectic music profile it maintains and the fact that it is primarily volunteer-driven.

Now a swank 43 year old, Roskilde shows few signs of entering into a mid-life crisis, beaming with the very same creativity and cultural sparkle that she aims to inspire amongst the 160’000 plus people that are part of her universe. Here are one or two things you may not know about this beast :

  1. Mogens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller are the reason you’re reading this. High school students at the time, this dynamic duo aided by music promoter Carl Fischer organised the first Roskilde Festival back in 1971. 20 bands played over 2 days, at what was known as Sound Festival at the time.

  2. Orange: Roskilde’s official colour, inspired by the indomitable Orange stage. With space for 60’000, the Orange stage was originally purchased from England in 1978, where it had been used by the Rolling Stones as part of their European tour a couple of years before. 36 years later, The Rolling Stones are set to rock this stage again.

  3. Apollo: Inaugurated in 2012 to cater for the rising demand for electronic music in the modern-day, Apollo is the Orange stage’s humble country cousin, with space for a modest 5000. During the warm up days, this powerful little satellite has been known to wander around different camping areas creating havoc.

  4. Nudity: In addition to the famous naked run held every year, nudity is a common sight at every Roskilde festival, as conformity flies out the window. Dr Hook famously performed nude in 1976, at a festival whose future hang in the balance at the time, on account of some conservative loons who proposed putting an end to Roskilde.

  5. 32’000 volunteers, which is approximately equivalent to the population of Hillerød, rally to make the festival what it is every year. With only 50 paid employees, Roskilde is one of the world’s best examples of volunteer-driven initiatives. The majority of volunteers hail from cultural and sporting organisations from Roskilde and Copenhagen.

  6. We are the champions : As Denmark rejects the European union and its football team wins Euro 1992, word of their triumph reaches the festival, broadcasted in these iconic words at one of the main stages. Unsurprisingly, beer drinking records are broken and total pandemonium breaks lose as the nation celebrates.

  7. Safety pits: Inspired by the well-documented deaths during a Pearl Jam performance at Roskilde in 2000, festival security in Europe tightens. Crowd sections are now divided into pits, separated from each other by steel fences, in order to prevent surging and to aid the flow of people in and around stages.

  8. 100mm in 35 hours. The weather in Denmark is always a gamble, more so at a festival such as Roskilde. As the heavens broke, thousands of revelers were soaked to the skin creating scenes that resembled the trenches of world war one. Some went home defeated but many soldiered on in the muck.

  9. 25.4 million has been donated to charity organisations such as Doctors without Borders, Amnesty International, Support the Victims in Iraq, Save the Children and The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and many others. Who would have thought that dancing the night away for days on end could create global economic value of such proportions ?

  10. Dream city is the name of one of Roskilde’s biggest initiatives aimed at promoting co-creativity and sustainability into the ethos of the festival. This audience-propelled section of one of the camping areas gives people the opportunity to share the uniqueness of their festival abodes with other “dreamers,” in a sky-is-the-limit sort of way.

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