The best concerts of Roskilde Festival 2016

Befitting the diversity of the line-up, there are precious few overlaps in our three writers’ picks for the best concerts at this year’s Roskilde Festival. Performances from all six stages and on all four of the festival’s main musical days made the cut.
From legendary acts to Colombian experimental rock and UK grime – and just about everything in between – here are our selections for the best performances.
Justin Cremer’s top five picks
1. Neil Young + Promise of the Real (Orange, Friday)
From the opening keys of ‘After the Gold Rush’ through the 30-minute extended jam encore performance of ‘Love and Only Love’, Neil Young put on a commanding, thunderous performance. Mixing old favourites like ‘Alabama’, ‘Words’ and ‘Unknown Legend’ with newer tracks like ‘Mother Earth’, Young and his excellent backing band Promise of the Real put on a show that was quite possibly the best I’ve witnessed on the legendary Orange stage.
2. Kvelertak (Avalon, Thursday)
There were an estimated 7,000 Norwegians at this year’s festival and at times during this Stavanger band’s wild and raucous late night set, it felt like I was surrounded by all of them. This was without a doubt the highest energy interaction between band and audience that I had the pleasure of being a part of.
3. Savages (Avalon, Thursday)
When I saw Savages play the Pavillion stage in 2013, it was one of that year’s most pleasant surprises. Three years later and on the larger Avalon stage, the London-based quartet blew me away again with their mix of attitude, sexiness and intensity.
4. Sleep (Avalon, Wednesday)
The midnight set from doom pioneers Sleep was near the top of my list going into Roskilde, and it certainly did not disappoint. This was an absolutely hypnotizing set that provided the perfect ending to the festival’s opening night.
5. Gojira (Arena, Saturday)
I had heard good things about this French prog/technical metal band’s live performances for years and now I know why. Even though the band apologized several times for being a bit “rusty”, their Saturday evening set was a blistering display of tight musicianship and crunching grooves. The band might not have felt like they had delivered their best, but for me Gojira lived up to the hype.
Chris Manion’s top five picks:
1. Sleep (Avalon, Wednesday)
I sceptically joined a group to see the band Sleep with no prior knowledge of them or ‘stoner doom metal’. As soon as we were about 50 metres from the show, I could sense perfect harmony between the music and the audience. It was this symbiotic relationship that some artists simply failed to capture in the same enigmatic style. The music was expressing a shared feeling, a collectiveness, and that is what Roskilde Festival is essentially about, being together for the love of music.
2. Neil Young + Promise of the Real (Orange, Friday)
The 70-year-old Canadian legend delivered a breathtakingly energetic performance. The show progressed from heartfelt renderings of classics such as ‘Heart of Gold’ to a full throttle rock’n’roll experience like no other.
3. MØ (Orange, Saturday)
The Danish international star came to the Orange stage on the final evening of Roskilde 2016. There were many festival-goers looking defeated and deflated, a tough crowd to bring alive. As soon as MØ came to the stage, it all changed. She brought a passion and energy that could not be topped by many other artists in the world.
4. Courtney Barnett (Avalon, Thursday)
A first-time Roskilde Festival experience for the young Australian singer-songwriter and she did not disappoint. She gave festival-goers a powerfully sincere performance. Many times throughout the show, you could see that this was still a 28-year-old playing songs that openly confess her deepest fears and regrets. That humility gave the performance a beautifully personal touch.
5. Mac DeMarco (Arena, Friday)
The cheeky Canadian up-and-coming star strutted on the stage with unabashed confidence, and then looked at the audience like a naughty schoolboy and gave his famous gap toothed smile. From then on, it was a fun, energetic and charismatic performance.
Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk’s top five picks
1. House of Pain (Orange, Thursday)
The guys that brought us the legendary ’Jump Around’ tune rocked the Orange stage to its core during their Thursday afternoon performance. Who would have thought that a hip-hop mainstay such as this would play Johnny Cash’s ’Walk The Line’ in their set?  Schoolboy Q and Young Thug should take notes from these OGs.
2. Tame Impala (Arena, Friday)
Australians Tame Impala are a class act and have grown in presence and stature since their previous appearance at Roskilde a few years ago. Backing their performance with an impeccable light show and a ton of confetti, they were simply insurmountable on the Arena stage.
3. Los Pirañas (Gloria, Saturday)
Colombia’s Los Pirañas churned out an endearing stream of psychedelic rock fused with South American influences that blew the roof off the intimate Gloria stage. Hats off to the stage crew for outfitting the stage with an epic light show to match an assured performance.
4. Tenacious D (Orange, Thursday)
Honestly, I’m not a Jack Black fan and even after his momentous performance at Orange, I still have my doubts about the man’s sanity. Credit is due to him, however, for providing a fun and at times mesmerising show amidst the rain. Where others would have stumbled, Tenacious D were sure-footed, weird and even wonderful.
5. Elf Kid (Apollo, Saturday)
Grime’s renaissance was reflected in Roskilde’s bookings this year. Of those on the billing, South London’s Elf Kid was, for me, the most impressive of the lot. Backed by his DJ, the kid spat out one lyric after another before getting bare-chested in the early Saturday afternoon chill, encouraging everyone to banish their hangovers to mere memory.

Carl Prisen 2016

Carl Prisen 2016, A showcase of Danish Music

In a year in which both Lukas Graham and Mø have made headlines abroad with top ten hits that have taken Danish music to an international audience, it comes as no surprise that both of the aforementioned artists were richly rewarded at the annual Carl Prize, held at Carlsberg’s iconic ”Jacobsen” brewery. Whilst few Danish musicians have broken the threshold of international stardom, there are encouraging signs that this may be about to change.

Christiania-born and bred Lukas Graham raked in the accolade for the composition of the year within the category of pop for the songs on his eponymous album. The chart topper ’7 years,’ on the same album, also won the prize for the song of the year. For her part, Mø went home with an unsurprising reward for the most streamed song of the year, ’Lean on’ which was made in collaboration with American producer, Major Lazer and has over 1.3 billion views on YouTube. The Sony signed starlet also pocketed the honour of International success of the year, due in no small part, no doubt, to the overpowering global reach of ‘Lean on.’

Now in its fourth year, The Carl Prize aims to reward the efforts of songwriters and composers and features 12 different prizes, ranging from the classical composer of the year to the upcoming talent of the year. Hosted by the hirsute children’s entertainment figure, Mikkel Lomborg and singer Pernille Rosendahl, the awards ceremony drew over 200 participants to the rustic confines of the Jacobsen brewery on Monday.

A full list of all winners follows below:

Cash prizes of 30´000 Kroner for the talent of the year: Rock band, The Kikos and classical composer, Per Nørgård (who gave the award to Cellist Jakob Kullberg)

The honour award: Per Nørgård (who received a standing ovation for his efforts within classical music composition over the years)

Classic Composer of the year: Grand Ensemble: Sunleif Rasmussen for ”Symphony Number 2, The Earth Anew.”

Classical Composer of the year: Small Ensemble:  Karsten Fundal & Efterklang for the opera ”Leaves – The Colour of Falling.”

Composer of the year – film score: Jonas Struck for his score to the film ”Idealisten” (The Idealist.)

Composer of the year: Children’s music: Stine Michel for the songs in the theatre play ”The Light and The Spider of Luck.”

Composer of the year – Roots:  Rune Thorsteinsson for the songs on the album ”Global Compositions.”

Composer of the year – Jazz: Jakob Bro for the works on the album ”Gefion.”

Composer of the year – Pop:  Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Ristorp, Morten Pilegaard (Lukas Graham) for the songs on the album ”Lukas Graham (Blue album.)

Composer of the year – Rock: Jonas Schmidt, Robert Jensen Buhl, Søren Jensen Buhl, Peter Bøgvad Hansen (Blaue Blume) for the songs on the album ”Syzygy.”

Most played song of the year (Airplay + Streaming)

Karen Marie Ørsted (Mø) for “Lean On” which has over 1.3 Billion views on YouTube.

Talent of the year (Including a check of 30´000 Kroner):

The Kikos

Songwriter of the year:

Marie Key for the texts to the songs on the albums Do You Think We Should Dance?

International success of the year:

Karen Marie Ørsted (Mø)

Song of the Year:

”7 Years” Morten Pilegaard, David James Labrel, Christopher Stephen Brown, Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest and Morten Ristorp Jensen.

Pictures by Allan Kortbaek