If you have the slightest interest in Danish culture you must have heard of Roskilde Festival, the biggest festival in Scandinavia. Last year I though “bla this is not for me, I need peace, quiet and to lay down on the beach” but this year I was like “bring the noise, I am ready for this!”
I have heard a lot about Roskilde before going:
- People are constantly drunk
- They smell, no one showers
- Danes behave like zombies during festivals
- But it’s all amazing.
- They do all sort of crazy stuff
So is it all true? It’s so hard to explain all of it in one article, I could write a whole book about my experience at Roskilde but I will try to keep it simple.
This picture sums up my week at Roskilde Festival!
Are you ever to old for Roskilde?
I decided to go there when some of my friend from the højskole encourage me to go with them plus some friends from Copenhagen help me to find a volunteer spot, so I had no reason to turn it down. I was really curious about it as everyone talk about it as something big in Danish culture.
I had my first volunteer shift on friday but going to Tinderbox on Saturday I only started officially on Monday. And luckily because I am not sure my liver would have forgiven me ever. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I was a couple of years younger, but all in all it depends your personality more than your age.
Am I in Zambia again?
When I met my friends, the camps already looked like slums. Trust me when I first enter fridat from the west entrance and had to cross camp C it was desert because the festival had not started yet but when I came back Monday, it reminded me of Zambia: trash all around, strong smell of piss and garbage (actually Zambia’s street smell better!) and all this camps, tents and food stand that looked like the ones in Africa. It was unbelievable and in the middle, all this hot guys and hot girls, completely hangover/wasted/sun burned/dirty walking like it was the new normal.
Forget the weird social rules of Denmark
After the first night I quickly realize that Roskilde is the city where no danish rules exists anymore: You can make friends instantly, sure they are drunk but you can. Everyone is.You can do everything you want, people really let go and that is something that tells a lot about danish culture in my opinion, and why Roskilde is so popular: Danes are quite behaved and keep it together on a daily basis especially with social interactions, I can’t say they are the most spontaneous people, I have heard a lot that they often question themselves about how to behave with people, as if they can’t read social interactions like southern european do it and have to overthink every social moves, the culture is simply different, hence they seem aloof. On Roskilde when you enter, you just made 50 000 new friends.
They also turn pretty much… into animals, everyone is here to get fucked up (or just to fuck also) and it’s acceptable for that week which is quite cool. No judgement. You will see your friends do crazy shit, you will do crazy shit as well and it’s alright.
Roskilde festival life
Imagine a temporary city with its own rules, just for a week
I didn’t know the camp life was that important, that some camps invest a lot to make it stand out, you can go around the festival just following camp signs to find your ways, so this week I first heard of camp OP where I had this amazing major lazer party, before heading towards Mordor (they do have the tower and you can see the eye from far away) where I met a friend and we ended in camp missen (the cat camp, they all have cat masks and when you are drunk it can be so freaky!) to party for the rest of the night. Camp luksus is known to be extremely gross, and how fun was it to meet a French camp, with french flag and a baguette while none of the member were french!
If you go to dream city some camp are properly built, we passed by game of thrones where a friend expected to meet the real Jamie Lannister, unfortunately it didn’t happen, we also ended in a very packed trailer that was playing music. It was packed we left because we couldn’t move but run back in “lean on” was playing. Lean on is the song I heard the most in the camp during the whole festival. So much that I can’t hear of it for the next 6 months I would say.
You will see many things on Roskilde and among them flags. “Yes we camp”, USA , Canada, Denmark, “Far”, Curt Cobain, gay rainbow, Swedish flag but also some random objects attached to a poll like the famous alien fucking a cow, a banana and many more… it’s very practical during concert to find your friends especially on the orange scene.
You can see the Yes we camp as well as the Alien fucking a cow
Silent is strictly forbidden on Roskilde. Even if you live in a clean and silent area like I did, it will find it’s way to your ears. You can find a party at any time of the day because camp have their sound system and there is always one playing something. With a friend we did a camp crawl, one song: one camp and then i forgot what happened but I remember she was slapping me hard to wake me up and put me in her tent.
I really wish I could see the birth stats of Denmark to know if in February there is a rise. It’s like everyone become Barney Stinson for a week.Seriously Roskilde is a shagatton. If the Danish government don’t want foreigners to fill up the empty space to boost the economy because Danes don’t have enough kids they should organise more Roskilde festivals, problem solved! So if you go, you want to have your own tent, if possible a two person tent! And take condom unless you want a Roskilde baby with an unknown father (let’s face it you can’t remember it all)
- Sun burn, naked people, questionnable fashion statement
Because we enter the fifth dimension after the first couple of hours of drunkness on Roskilde, our standard lower drastically, so you can look like shit and never shower but that’s just fine. It was so nice to wake up in the morning and put the most random pieces of clothes together, even though I have seen some people caring a bit. Some like the naked man didn’t really bothered with that.
see what I mean…
- Like every city there is people everybody knows
The naked man, not that young, just wandering around naked, the pikachu, the dirty drunk hippie that couldn’t understand for half an hour where to order the food on my food stand. That guy that came alone and talks wayyyy too much, and how not mention the couple that gave it a go at Pharrell Williams concert, they maybe took the Freedom song a little literally…
That is a pikachu
I really loved it, I felt sometimes maybe I am too old for that shit but I don’t think so. I think it’s awesome to just let go and embrace it, suspend your judgement for an entire week, let people surprise you and surprise your self. For sure it’s very uncomfortable, the lack of sleep , the piss all around, the constant state of drunkness but there is a cool feeling about Roskilde, I can’t describe it you should live it by yourself next year, it’s just beautiful!
The sleeping alley in my camp
PS: I have not talked about an important aspect of the festival: the music, because it will come in another article :)