Someone saw an opening in an already packed festival calendar. This someone was not just someone but the songwriters and twin brothers from The National, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, international recognised food-enthusiast Claus Meyer, and the Danish prizewinning beer brewer and superstar Mikkeller.
In springtime, the beautiful people of Copenhagen wake up from hibernation and start going to all the amazing festivals. This year all of them have been soaked in rain, but let’s just skip that part, because one sunny day I went for a walk and saw the new HAVEN BAR, on the Copenhagen waterfront. I had a wonderful meal and a beer and I soon learned that it was Aaron Dessner (who lives in Copenhagen thanks to his Danish wife), Mikkeller and Claus Meyer who saw a need for more – an open invitation for something new, a fusion of shared interests and different skills. Not only did they open a bar, but the idea grew and this past weekend the first HAVEN Festival unfolded in the deserted heart of Copenhagen; Refhaleøen.
I know that you’re not stupid, so the festivals top priorities are even rude to write. It was amazing though, to have a choice of beer instead of the normal standard Heineken or Tuborg. There were many different brewed styles, some more challenging than others, but they were all a great treat for the taste buds and they even got me drunk.
And then there were the samples… You could try different kinds of food and wine while hearing speeches about the origin and producing of the finale products. I did try and learn that the most amazing white wine I’ve ever tasted was made of rotten berries, or in wine languages; fermented grapes. I also had a Danish open sandwich, made so well that my fingers were shaking. I must have looked like a crazy bug-eyed animal eating that bite of wonder.
The food wasn’t all for free. I had one amazing “flæskestegssandwich” paid for upfront – fair enough all considered. (Note: Flæskestegssandwich is a must when you find yourself in Denmark.)
The first night I went back home alone and sat down. I needed joy! Then I suddenly remembered that I have a book of pornographic pictures from my ex-girlfriend. The only problem being that we were both only 16 at the time. Would it be weird to look at the same pictures of the same body when I’m 38 years old? I had no one to ask, and I’ve looked at the pictures many times before, so whatever.
I woke up early the next morning and had some vodka with my breakfast. Then went back to the festival pretty early and how lucky was that, since most of the musicians are friends of the twins, there were a lot of cool collaborations. They appeared at each other’s shows and in new wonderful installations.
So, Saturday morning I had the great experience of seeing Bon Iver, Aaron Dessner, Danish jazz drummer Kresten Osgood and a few other people I didn’t recognize having a jam session. Those small random appearances, was for me what made the festival magical.
For some reason, I thought a lot about my brother’s old teddy bear; Alfons, which I’m almost 100 percent sure I have had sexual intercourse with when I was a kid, without him knowing. I don’t know why this childhood memory suddenly appeared so vivid at a festival where Beach House, Feist and Iggy Pop were playing.
Sometimes it can be rather stressful to be social and cultural – why do we even bother? Is it to please our own ego or so our friends believe in the existence of our good and fun parts and values? I do not know. But I know that I spent a lot of the festival by myself, and how I just loved that. To actually have the time to stop and watch what’s happening or chat with random friends or strangers that could be future friends was amazing. In the end, I didn’t get any new friends, but I liked the idea that I could have, if I myself were a more fun person.
The second night ended with heavy showers, a blessing in disguise as I ended up meeting my now grown-up little brother in a common acquaintance rehearsing space, just next to the festival. I could then get that fat monkey off my back and focus on the present. I don’t think he even cared or believed me.
Last time I wrote about a festival, I came to the conclusion that all festivals are basically the same, but my point got approximately proven wrong this time. Here is a festival with its values and standards right, both in music, gourmet and tasteful beers. As I have said before that is what matters most – the friends you can maybe always make at the spot.
HAVEN Festival tried to do something different and I think they actually succeeded, but after a little while all is just memories and stories. But I sure hope that these enthusiastic entrepreneurs will make this happen again and add stuff to not only mine, but our collective memory.
Words: Simon Blitz Ravnkilde