Roskilde 2019: Feature: Beyond Music – Roskilde´s “House of Chroma” and “Ambereum” Create a Forum for Creative Expression

Original article written for The Copenhagen Post

Beyond Music

Roskilde Festival is often touted as being a festival that “goes beyond music.” Indeed, #Rf19 has been described by its organisers as “8 days of music, activism, art, camps and freedom” and to this end, much has been done this year as in many others to create a forum to house the needs of an increasing eclectic festival that attracts a varied and demanding demographic.

Central to this is Roskilde´s arts programme, which tends to create novel, inventive forms of creative expression, which this year, manifested themselves most clearly (we feel) via the House of Chroma and Ambereum areas, both of which combine colour, aesthetics and other elements of performative design.

The Modern Festival Narrative

Whether these areas have been sculpted in response to the likes of festivals such as Heartland zoning in on creating powerful manifestations of creative dialogues that do veritable justice to the “beyond music” intent or whether they emanate from the demands of an increasingly diverse, increasingly aware audience demographic is debatable. What´s not, however, is the future of spaces such as these in the festival narrative, particularly at an event such as Roskilde, which faces the unparalleled challenge of moulding a festival that responds to the increasingly obvious challenges of the world today and the generations to come.

This said, balancing multiple stakeholder interests and ensuring each gets adequate representation in such fora is always going to be a next-to-impossible task and invariably, there is a big difference between intent and actuality. Let´s have a closer look at how the shared spaces of House of Chroma and Ambereum fared against their expectations this year.

House of Chroma – Performances, Workshops, Music

House of Chroma loaned a page from the Buckminster Fuller inspired Dome of Visions concept and with it, the intent to create a liminal space in which ideas, debates, workshop and music could flow freely.  The throbbing epicenter of the art scene, the dome was designed by the Brazilian artist Eli Subrack (also known as Avaf – Assume Vivid Astro Focus,) and like other works by him, explosions and accentuations of colour feature prominently as a dynamo for creative expression.

And what better way to manifest the qualities of such a space than for Eli to invite his pals from the Brazilian Queer Resistance Movement to declare the house open on Wednesday? Using exaggerated, intense expressions of the body amidst a backdrop of theatrical voices and electronic music, the Brazilians wove a tapestry that connected their inconceivable reality with that of an imbibed, privileged but nonetheless curious audience.

Despite this indefatigably vivid opening, House of Chroma was also as much about the familiar everyday and not merely the inconceivable extreme – familiarized. Activism and its new facades were explored comprehensively and in  a matter-of-fact manner by a sit-down with the 2011 Occupy Wall Street co-founder, Micah White, ambient soundscapes were created by the Danish musician, Sofie Birch and Norwegian Sissel Toolas took us on an olfactory journey of 50 scents gathered over 30 years of research.

And there was more – rap music as a vehicle for green climate activism in the form of a workshop and subsequent rap battle hosted by the NGO, Rapolitics, spoke directly to the hearts and states of mind of Roskilde´s millennially-influenced audience and the Girls Are Awesome movement also made a House of Chroma appearance that went beyond the obvious discussion of on-stage female empowerment, focusing instead on what happens behind the scenes, through a talk with Karen Vincent from SheCanPlay, Jenny Rossander from Lydmor and sound engineer Jessica Petersen from Roskilde Festival.

Sensory Experimentation

Indeed, each House of Chroma happening managed to pull of the rare feat of being exceptionally distinct in composition and execution – often appealing to multiple senses and at times, zoning in on one, as was the case with Sissel Toolas’s olfactory journey.

If we speak of a future in which we must harness our collective energies to re-think the challenge of creating sustainable change, it is clear that we must also go beyond what we can see and hear and as such, sensory bombardments that speak to other ways of seeing and experiencing reality make for a potentially powerful agent of change. House of Chroma may not have set the Roskilde world alight as far as this goes but as a bare minimum it provided a space in which room to think differently and participatorily if only within the realms of a plastic dome draped in psychedelic colours.

Ambereum: Vivid space with room for one´s imagination to wander

If House of Chroma was the capital of the Art Zone, Ambereum was the second city that quite often outwitted its larger counterpart, whether by accident or design. Where House of Chroma´s dome crammed varied influences together into a creative space that at times felt crammed or constricted, Ambereum was more spacious and less intense.

Described as “an area for DJ´s, art, relaxation and raves,” the Orange and yellow-walled ambient space hosted performances and sensory discoveries by day such as the fun-sounding yet anti-climatic Japanese artist, Tomoko Sauvage, whose use of water in ceramic bowls as an instrument concept flattered to deceive.

By night (from Thursday through to Saturday,) the area morphed into a nightclub-esque  metropolis, under the auspices of Berlin-infused electronic music, courtesy of artists such as Boris, Roi Perez, Virginia and others.  This set up that worked quite well and stood in stark contrast to the more laidback nature of the space during the day.

All in all, Ambereum´s relaxed confines provided a comfortable, if not soothing space for festivalgoers young and old to relax and dream in and this only adds to the festival narrative, particularly given the sheer size and cleanliness of the area.

Beyond Music: a Narrative for Change – Today and in the Future

In tandem with House of Chroma, Ambereum managed to create a creative forum that appealed to the beyond music intent that the festival organisers are focusing their efforts on with greater intensity. While their execution could have been more refined, more varied and perhaps even more accessible, there can be no doubt that there was more focus on the arts as a central component of the festival narrative this year.

As the festival struggles, as the world around it, to adapt to the demands of creating a more sustainable society, there can be no doubt that creating a narrative that fosters creative dialogues that go beyond the mere consumption of musical performances is one way to lead the charge.

Roskilde 2019: Jpegmafia’s Livid Performance on The Appollo Stage Was Quite Something

Original article written for The Copenhagen Post

Chaotic, frenetic, insane… manic even. There need not be an end to superlatives that best describe the show that Baltimore rapper, Jpegmafia delivered at Roskilde Festival´s Apollo stage yesterday.

Afrofuturism vibes

Looking and sounding at times like an afrofuturistic Marvel hero that could easily  have been part of the cast of The critically acclaimed film, Black Panther, Jpegmafia was excellent on the evening.

In fact, come to think of it, he does resemble a certain Chadwick Boseman, one of the stars of the aforementioned flick and his crisply-produced beats would certainly be at home in its Wakandan universe, but that´s a hypothesis for another day.

Bare-chested in the chilly afternoon wind, Peggy, as he is affectionately known by his fans, took to the stage with a point to prove, from the get-go. A staccato sequence of openers during which he flung himself into the crowd repeatedly, set the tone for what would be a show that left this reviewer wondering what the heck he´d just seen at the end of it.

But it was not all frenzied fanfare – Jpegmafia has a knack for kicking back and letting it all sink in momentarily, between his wordy renditions. While his pauses, emphasized with a chilling glare towards the crowd seemed awkward at first, they grew on the partisan crowd with time, as chants of “Peggy, Peggy, Peggy!” rang out.

“How to build a relationship.” Was one of the softer tracks to grace the stage after the blur of openers, though even this tune got a beefing up in its live version – sounding raunchier and more pronounced than its studio form.

Too chaotic at times?

The show then dipped somewhat as Jpegmafia spat out one seething stanza after another – the issue here being that there was seldom a minute or two to catch one´s breath amongst the cavalcade of vitriol that was flung from the stage.

This said, the front-row of the crowd loved every minute of it and gave Peggy a hero´s welcome every time he sprang upon them. Stoked, his confidence grew and with it came deeper, more contemplative moments within the furore – a welcome touch of quality to a show that sometimes felt like a closed metal container with a hissing cobra and a screaming man running around in it.

Nowhere were the aforementioned contemplative moments more pronounced than close to the end of the show, in which the Baltimore man managed to get the entire show to sit down ahead of the performance of his “Rainbow Six.” This had a even more of a soothing effect given it was shortly after one of the tracks he, by his own admission, has “retired in the U.S.” The explicative riddled “f*** Morrissey.”

Roskilde 2019: Tirzah Delivers a Tame Experience at The Gloria Stage

Original article written for The Copenhagen Post

As the rain hammered down on the second of the music days at this year´s Roskilde Festival, the dark, warm, indoor Gloria scene made for a welcoming reprieve from the elements.

It came as little surprise, therefore, to see the intimate scene as packed as it was, prior to the concert of one of this year´s most hyped names – British collapsed pop artist, Tirzah.

A tame introduction at best, with the not-so-apt-an-opening-track, “Guilty,” from her 2018 album ‘Devotion’ did little in the way of creating the warm atmosphere that Roskilde´s fatigued masses so desperately hungered for. As a track, its studio production is a raunchy mess of vocoder-infused weirdness and monotonous instrumentals. Played live, it somehow managed to sound even worse, however.

And so begun what would ultimately be a concert that never quite got out of second gear – Tirzah, praised far and wide for her distracted, parallel pop sensibilities, whether by accident or design, pulled off the unique feat of delivering track upon track of unilateral nature, with each sounding and feeling all too similar to its predecessor.

Throw in a subdued crowd and a composed stage presence that would be perfect in a church concert and what we ended up with was a performance that had the back row fighting to keep their eyes open in Gloria´s obscure confines.

It wasn´t all off-key though – tracks such as the adorable “Holding on” did do their bit to breathe life into the forlorn masses. Similarly, her 2015 production off her eponymous album, ‘Make it up,” towards the end of the show, infused a welcome dose of electro club vibes, giving Gloria some remote semblance of a party worth attending. Moments like these were few and far-between, albeit all the more colourful against the backdrop of a show of pale proportions and somber platitudes.

‘There’s good money to be made here’

Original article written for The Local Denmark, available here

With over one million litres of beer consumed at your average Roskilde Festival, the mess from empty cans and bottles left behind is an issue that draws attention every year. Yet the revenue that can be generated by collecting and recycling the receptacles is significant, thanks to the Danish deposit system.
That promise of money literally being tossed on the ground draws hundreds of can collectors – many from Africa and the Roma community – to the festival each year. It’s estimated that a single collector can make up to 60,000 kroner in deposit money over the course of the full eight days.
Yet the life of a can collector, whilst well-paid and tax free, is anything but comfortable. Amongst the maddening crowds and mosh pit frenzies they bend, laden with plastic bags filled with empty soda and beer containers. Theirs is a life amongst an underclass in an world whose rules are far from fairly regulated.
Invariably, their work is not without racist abuse from time to time. Yet despite the grumblings of some festival guests, these collectors keep the Roskilde grounds and their environs far cleaner than they otherwise would be.
Like many a festival-goer, I will admit that it can be annoying to have bags of dripping beer spilled on one’s clothes whilst enjoying a good show or relaxing on the camping grounds. And the pressure of having a can collector waiting anxiously for one to down their beverage does create some frustration. All the same, the mess from all the merrymaking needs to be cleaned by someone at some point.
Meet Peter from Nigeria
In an attempt to understand the world of can collection, I spent some time with Peter, a bottle collector from Nigeria, who collected cans at Roskilde for the first time this year. I followed him around the camping grounds for a short while, as he introduced me to his working routine and shared some of his thoughts on the nature of his work.
“The festival is amazing but at the same time I’m working a lot, sometimes up to fifteen hours a day,” he said. “There’s good money to be made here but you have to work a lot for it.”
“What is the most difficult part of your job?”
“Sometimes when you approach people – I can’t call them clients because we’re not selling, you know –  some are aggressive. This is normal, somehow we are inferior to them. We have to be strong so we don’t feel the impact of this.”
“There is also the fact that we have to return a maximum of 50 pieces per empty sack. When you’re out collecting, you don’t have time to think about this so you have to sort thing out a lot afterwards.”
I shadow Peter for a short while as he makes his rounds in the Roskilde Festival West camping area. On this brief journey, we manage to gather a few isolated cans and the odd bottle. The camping area is at its quietest, so this is fairly straightforward and without trouble. Peter remarks that this is not always the case, however, stating that it is obviously more difficult to collect cans when the party is in full swing.
Collectors get their own VIP lounge
So the life of a can collector, at least from Peter’s perspective, is not without its challenges, even though, as he contends, there is good money to be made.
This year, Roskilde attempted to mitigate some of the challenges posed by the can collection process. I took a look at one of them, the VIP can collector lounge in the Art Zone. A product of the well-known artistic group Superflex, the Flagship Shelters/Bottle Collectors VIP project features several shelters made on designs based on the flagship stores of major fashion brands such as Prada and Miu Miu.
The shelters are made from cheaper materials and downscaled from the original extravagant designs, in an aim to create a discourse on matters of consumption, social injustice and resource prioritization. The area is well staffed and frequented by many a bottle collector though the main lounge area does have more tired festival-goers than bottle collectors lying around.
On the surface, some of the issues of can collection are indeed raised by this installation. However, most of the festival-goers I met here seemed comfortably unaware of what it was and the palpable gap between can collectors and Roskilde festival’s guests was still painfully apparent.
This is not to say that the efforts of the festival should not be credited. Compared to previous years, Roskilde has indeed made significant attempts to address the issue of can collection, for example by ensuring that refund points are well staffed and that the process is more regulated.  The issue is indeed in focus, but can more be done to address the fundamental problem areas?
Throughout the eight-day party, the guests and the collectors complete a symbiosis as can after can is opened, drank, disposed of, collected and returned.
While Roskilde’s 100,000-plus crowd kept the good times rolling, can collectors like Peter continued to earn their keep beneath their dancing feet.

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.

Rf15: Sustainability never tasted so good

Roskilde Festival 2015 reaches its closure on Saturday for one last day of revelry under the summer sun. Temperatures will reach their highest point of the festival and this year’s biggest name, Paul McCartney, will lead a massive sing-along on the Orange stage.

After three full days of music, we’ve seen acts like Pharrell Williams, The War on Drugs, Goat, St Vincent and Sarabi play to popular approval whilst others like Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Mastodon have disappointed somewhat.

But Roskilde is more than just music, as the organizers of the annual event constantly reaffirm.

One of the increasingly important aspects at the festival is its focus on quality food and beverages. Last year’s event saw 700,000 kilos of food and approximately one million litres of beer sold. Given Roskilde’s environmental focus, the organizers of the event have become stricter when it comes to the sorts of food products that are sold on the festival grounds.

According to Mikkel Sander, Roskilde Festival’s sustainability leader, the festival has for many years “explored different avenues and set higher demands with regard to sustainability initiatives.”

This has entailed an inclination to donating leftovers to charities, in an effort to curb waste. Last year alone, over 27.5 tonnes of food was donated to the homeless in the form of 65,000 meals – an initiative that earned special praise at the European Festival Awards.

See also: Leftover festival food feeds thousands

At least 45 percent of the food stalls at Roskilde Festival sell organic food. This figure is set to rise to 90 percent by 2017 and as you may expect, is easier said than done. Organizers say that it is harder to procure organic products and suppliers than traditional ones. This is is especially true of beer, one of the most consumed products at the event.

In addition to its ambitious organic agenda, Roskilde has also made an effort to integrate the consumption of food and beverage into the overall festival experience. To this end, the festival has staged several food events, from a communal street kitchen during the warm-up days to educational palette-tickling experiments by Michelin-star chefs. The Local was particularly impressed with the Food Jam in the centre of the East city. Now a fixture within the Roskilde experience, the food jam presents an opportunity for groups and individuals to cook together, using high quality organic ingredients and costing a mere 50 kroner.

Roskilde’s organizers were kind enough to take us on a guided tour of some hand-picked initiatives at the festival. Here is some of what we saw on our culinary foray:

Dixie Burgers: Lean production gurus Dixie Burgers are located in the food area by the music stages. With over 315 volunteers, they produce up to 12 burgers a minute. The profits generated from sales at stalls such as these are reinvested into the association that staffs them. One of the challenges of meeting the organic demands at the festival is that most associations contract volunteers to operate their stalls. These volunteers, while incredibly hard working, tend to be less experienced than food industry professionals, which can complicate matters when it comes to ordering exact quantities of organic products.

Big A’s Diner: It may lack the Pulp Fiction-like diner seating, but Big A’s is about as good as it gets when it comes to the American culinary experience at Roskilde Festival.  This stall, located by the Avalon stage, is run by professionals from the food industry and outsourced to 140 volunteers. Fries, deep fried chicken and milk shakes are some of the items on their menu. A good place to grab a bite on Saturday, which in addition to the final day of the festival is also the major US holiday Independence Day.

Bus Bus: Located near the Orange stage, Bus Bus serves traditional Danish meals such as the revered Flæskestegssandwich (roasted pork sandwich). Their version has been heralded by several foodies as being the festival’s best. Our insider tip is to queue in the line on the left-hand side of the building (looking away from the Orange stage) as it moves way quicker than the one on the opposite side.

The Food Court: Offering a lot of different food concentrated in one place, the food court houses 18 stalls and two bars. Of these, two are Michelin-star eateries, a fact that takes Roskilde a cut above many other European festivals, The organic produce demands in this particular area of Roskilde Festival are higher than the overall demands: 60 percent of the ingredients used by each stall have to be organic.

Peter Larsen Coffee: Located in the food court area, the folks behind Peter Larsen Coffee are masters in the coffee department. One of their specialties is their cold brew coffee, pictured here. Originally from Japan, cold brew coffee contains twice as much caffeine as a can of Red Bull. And as anyone out here at Roskilde with us can attest, a heavy dose of caffeine can be just what’s needed to clear out the preceding night’s cobwebs and get you ready to face another full day eating, drinking and making merry.

The Local’s ten must-see Roskilde gigs

The month of June has been quite a ride. With Distortion, Tinderbox, Northside, Copenhell and the general election now in the rear-view mirror, July is finally upon us, and with it comes the summer’s highlight for many, the Roskilde Festival.

Musically, Roskilde has shifted from its rock and metal roots to a more commercial programme this year with a lineup that’s heavy on the hip-hop. There is no doubt that its headline acts in the past have been grander, but there are still several exciting names to look out for and surely a few surprises lie in wait as well, as they do every year.

We’ll be covering this year’s edition, enjoying what promises to be the summer’s best weather thus far and maybe even contributing to future beer. With 169 acts catering to pretty much every musical taste, the Roskilde Festival will have something for everyone. Here are ten gigs that we are particularly looking forward to:

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
July 1 at 8:30 pm, Arena
Although Oasis’s ‘Wonderwall’ continues to be a karaoke bar staple, the Gallagher brothers’ days as a duo are now long gone. The feuds of Noel and Liam Gallagher are well-documented and both have tried their hands at solo projects. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are musically not all that different from the seminal Britpop sound that he helped cultivate in Oasis’ 90s heyday. If anything, there is a more mature, comforting appeal to it – make no mistake, if Gallagher can recapture some of his previous magic, this has the potential to be one of the best concerts at Roskilde this year.

Young Fathers
July 1 at 8:45 pm, Apollo
Young Fathers hail from Edinburgh with roots in Nigeria, Scotland and Liberia. Having won a Mercury Prize last year, Young Fathers are steadily evolving into a force to be reckoned with. Flying the flag for British experimental music, Young Fathers draw on trippy universes flanked by a blend of sharp hip-hop lyricism and epic choruses. Their sound that draws quite a few parallels with the music of trip-hop artist Tricky combined with a witty dosage of J Cole-esque influences.

The War on Drugs
July 1 at 11pm, Arena

Some music seems like it was tailor-made for a summer night in Roskilde. Such is the case with The War on Drugs, whose particular brand of American rock mixes a retro feel with indie cred and sprawling sensibilities. Their 2014 album Lost in the Dream was hyped to the heavens with very good reason and should sound even better when infused with Roskilde’s famous ‘orange feeling’.

July 2 at 12pm, Pavilion
Sarabi (a Swahili word for mirage) hail from the Eastlands slums of Nairobi, Kenya and are one of Roskilde’s wildcard entries this year. Socially-critical lyrics alongside well-strung instrumentation and a talismanic lead singer with an exceptional work ethic on stage are what you can look forward to when they take to the Pavilion stage at noon on Thursday.

Steve Gunn
July 2 at 4pm, Pavilion
One of the lesser-known names in this year’s lineup, Steve Gunn’s music is artistic acoustic wizardry at its best. The sorcery behind it lies in complexly-woven guitar motions drowned in a dark tunnel with strange echoes and ticks flanked by comforting vocals every now and again. Gunn is a deft guitarist and his vocal techniques have a Bon Iver-type quietness to them; music for a more tender, comforting moment at Roskilde.

July 2 at 8.30pm, Arena

Roskilde Festival always delivers the goods for metal fans and this year is no exception. Perhaps the biggest name among the metal acts at this year’s festival is the mighty Mastodon, who should be coming with something to prove. Their 2011 performance on the too-big and too-sparsely-crowded Orange stage was something of a letdown and didn’t come near to the powerful performance they deliver in smaller venues. Better placed at Arena this year and having taken a trippier and softer turn since their last appearance, the progressive metal veterans are sure to be a tour de force.

July 3 at 10.30pm, Orange
The last time Disclosure played at Roskilde, they were billed as an interesting act to look out for. After countless gigs around the world since, the two brothers from London are now established festival headliners despite having a rather slim repertoire of their own music. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Basement Jaxx and Faithless, Disclosure have taken UK garage and dance music back to the top of the charts, which in an age dominated by trashy EDM is a welcome addition of quality to the electronic music narrative.

Chelsea Wolfe
July 4 at 8.30pm, Gloria

Chelsea Wolfe is something to the antithesis of Nicki Minaj, who will be playing Orange when goth queen Wolfe takes the stage on Gloria. Her music is both incredibly dark and beautiful and will take listeners on a journey that goes throws blasts of crushing rock into quiet and eerie soundscapes. Her unique style of gothic folk has been embraced by underground rock and metal fans and she earned herself wide exposure when her track ‘Feral Love’ was used to soundtrack the season four preview for Game of Thrones.

Paul McCartney
July 4 at 10pm, Orange
At 73 years of age, Paul McCartney is surely past his prime, if you ask most. Then again, once you’ve sold over 100 million records and won 21 Grammy awards, surely things are only supposed to go downhill from there. The only former Beatle to return to Roskilde’s Orange stage, Knight McCartney has recently collaborated with the likes of Rihanna, Kanye West and Nirvana and is back to touring the world. The Orange scene will be all his come prime time on Saturday.

Africa Express
July 4 at 11pm, Arena
Africa Express is a terrific example of how cultures can be brought together through music. Featuring a varied palette of artists from Africa and Europe, their shows have seen artists like Fatboy Slim, Amadou & Mariam, Paul McCartney and Rokia Traore perform in various venues around the world. Befittingly, this year, Africa Express will be closing Roskilde on Saturday, with names such as Trentemøller, Damon Albarn, Spoek Mathambo and other unannounced acts lined up for what should be a memorable performance.

The Year in Review: Best Concerts of 2013, Denmark

The Year in Review: The top 10 gigs of 2013 in Denmark 

1) Sigur Ros, Roskilde Festival, July 6

I didn’t see Sigur Ros, I experienced Sigur Ros. The Icelander’s music is some of the purest, soul-searching music you will find for miles around; a trance-like journey that rekindles deep-hidden fond memories with an edifying caress that no other band can muster. Sigur Ros were shamanic at their show at Roskilde.

2) Charles Bradley & his extraordinaires, Lille Vega, June 17

The Screaming Eagle of Soul rocked Denmark to its core on his encore at Lille Vega this year. For a man in his sixties who only just rocketed to fame, Bradley’s teary, nervy, sweaty, emotional soul trip is the story of a man who made it in America, after decades of bad luck and strife. James Brown would be proud.

3) Crystal Castles, Store Vega, March 2

Crystal Castles pulled off a seismic show at Store Vega towards the end of the winter, a chaotic, cathartic experience that saw lead singer Alice Glass crowd surf her way to what looked like the middle of the audience at Store Vega. I have never seen anything like it before or since

4) Modeselektor, Store Vega, Feb 14

Berlin’s Modeselektor have been making music since the wall came down a good while ago. As driven today as they were back then, the electronic duo are a symbol of the German capital and frontrunners in the world of electronic music. Props for their party-starting credentials and props to Vega for a very well organised show (which included an ‘artist chat’ session in ideal bar).

  1. Chinese Man, Roskilde Festival, July 4

French turntablists Chinese man were on cue at their show at Roskilde Festival, taking the audience on a journey through dubstep, drum & bass, hip hop and everything in between with a prowess that made it seem as if the genre of turntablism has been around since the dawn of time. Witty, daring and exceedingly cool.


  1. Shantel & The Bucovina Orchestra, Lille Vega, Nov 28

  2. Reptile Youth, Lille Vega, March 8,

  3. Of Monsters and Men, Roskilde Festival, July 5

  4. Tame Impala, Store Vega, Aug 9

  5. Animal Collective, Roskilde Festival, July 4