Let the music play…

Every year more than a 100,000 people from all over the world travel to the same destination; Roskilde Festival. Here they spend a week of listening to great music, partying, meeting new and old friends and having fun (a lot of fun). The rest of the world is on standby for a bit and it all comes together as one under the “big orange roof “- sun or rain – Roskilde Festival stands strong every year. 

Roskilde Festival is a lot of things. First of all, it’s a music festival with everything from old school hip-hop over rock and experimental to African music. There is something for everyone and this year you can experience Tears For Fears, Cardi B and Christine and the Queens all in one day and go from Swedish pop star Robyn to the Danish heavy metal band Bæst on the same evening.

People have different favourites, must and don’t sees – and that’s the beauty of it. So, what are some of the guests looking forward to this year? What is their favourite concert ever? And what makes a great Roskilde Festival concert seen with professional eyes? I talked to some of the guests about the music, and of course fashion tips for a rainy Roskilde Festival, and I also talked music journalist, Martin Gronemann, who has been reviewing concerts at Roskilde for Danish music magazine Soundvenue for six years now. 

Marie Louise (pictured below)

How many years have you been to Roskilde Festival?

“I think this is my 11th year in a row – I haven’t been camping out every year but I still go.”

What is your favourite memory from the festival?

“Oh wauu… I don’t know – I feel like all the memories from each year just kind of turn into one combined memory of everything, so it could be from the first years I spend here camping out when I was a teenager and then as years go on and you get more experienced with the festival you enjoy it in a different way but for me it’s always kind of like a small holiday where you can eat a bunch of different food – good and shitty – and enjoy all the nice music as well and experience artist you wouldn’t be able to experience elsewhere – see them first-hand before they go big.” 

“…experience artists you wouldn’t be able to experience elsewhere…”

Which artist are you looking forward to the most this year?

“I can only pick one?! Today (Thursday) I am looking forward to seeing Robert Plant and I haven’t seen Noel Gallagher before so I am excited for that as well – There is so much good music playing this year. I am also excited to see Robyn playing at the Orange stage… I could go on.”

Which is your best concert ever at Roskilde Festival?

“I think… I can’t remember the year, because Arctic Monkeys played here quite a few times now, but there was the one year where they were playing a song called ‘Thunderstorm’ and the weather was basically turning into a thunderstorm right when they were playing that song – I remember that pretty vividly but there have been so many great concerts.”

What is your best fashion tip for Roskilde Festival?

“Be practical and keep an eye out for the weather forecast, and be practical rather than fashionable. You can still be fabulous.”

Declan (pictured above)

How many years have you been to Roskilde Festival?

“This is my first year and I am really enjoying it so far, and I am looking forward to some of the bigger names on the program but the smaller names I have seen so far have been really good.”

What is your first impression of the festival?

“I love it – It kind of reminds me of being in Nottingham somehow – the Sherwood Forest with all the trees and green areas.” 

What is the favourite thing you’ve done this year so far?

“It was nice to see Bob Dylan – he is not really my cup of tea but it’s nice seeing a big name like that.”

Which artist are you looking forward to the most this year?

“It would be from my local area – Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr – I am very excited to seeing them and what they do with a bigger crowd.”

What is your best fashion tip for Roskilde Festival?

“Don’t bring your expensive gear out; you are going to ruin it.”

Are you expecting to come back next year?

“Depending on the line-up – but definitely.”

Isuru (pictured above)

How many years have you been to Roskilde Festival?

“This is my first year being here all the days. I came here three years ago on a day ticket.”

What is your favourite memory from the festival?

“Three years ago it would be the moment that I saw how many people reacted to Kendrick Lamar and the way he had the crowd going – when he moved his arms for everyone to do the wave – all of the 80,000 people there did it at the same time – that was a great moment.” 

Which artist are you looking forward to the most this year?

“I don’t think the line-up is that great this year in terms of massive headliners who are current, but that actually helps me to get into a different kind of phase where I can explore smaller artists that I kind of know, or don’t know, so I was not looking forward to a specific artist but seeing and finding new artists – such as Jon Hopkins, which I was really looking forward to when I found out, but I also love old school hip-hop so I am looking forward to Wu Tang Clan and Robyn but more so looking forward to the smaller acts, and getting to know them so when I come back in three years they will on Orange stage.”

“…when he moved his arms for everyone to do the wave – all of the 80,000 people there did it at the same time – that was a great moment”

What is your best concert ever at Roskilde Festival?

“Kendrick Lamar and Disclosure – when Disclosure played everyone was dancing – with Kendrick Lamar only the hardcore fans know all the songs, but Disclosure is a dancing party and Disclosure just peaked that day and the vibe was very good.” 

If you should recommend an artist playing this year – who would it be?

“From what I’ve seen I think the performance by Christine and the Queens was amazing – her as an artist was brilliant. If you see Cardi B she is a good performer, but Christine and the Queens she is trying to get herself out there and everything about it was pure hearted, and it also took me back to Michael Jackson because all of the dancing and everything had a little bit of him in it so I think emotionally I was attached to that.”

What is your best fashion tip for Roskilde Festival?

“Roskilde Festival is kind of weird in terms of style – I have been to other festivals where people don’t care and wear whatever, then I have been to other festivals were you dress up – you are there to dress up. Roskilde is in the middle where it’s trendy but also comfortable – everyone is wearing a raincoat but a trendy one. So, bring your raincoat, boots, hoodie and sunglasses.”

Martin (pictured above) 

How many years have you been reviewing concerts at Roskilde Festival?

“I have been a music reviewer for seven years now and this is my sixth year at Roskilde.”

How does a festival show differ from a venue concert?

“A festival is per se more a condensation of things, like for instance the headliner acts, they are supposed to more or less play a greatest hit show; a conventional venue show, they can basically play whatever they want and dig deeper into to the catalogue, but a festival show is more condensed into a hit parade.”

Is the crowd different at a festival show?

“Yes, the crowd is different because as everyone probably knows, a festival poster contains many different artists and different genres, so you can not necessarily expect as an artist that the audience know your music, compared to a venue where they deliberately buy a ticket to go see that artist.”

“when the audience and artist melt together nothing can basically go wrong.”

What makes a good festival concert?

“A good festival show – this might be a bit of a cliché, but a good festival concert is more or less about engagement – engagement from the audience and engagement from the artist – when the audience and artist melt together nothing can basically go wrong.”

You’ve reviewed a lot of shows at Roskilde Festival – do you have a favourite?

“I have to say that the only time that I have given a concert six out of six stars was back in 2014 and it was when Jack White played. He closed the Orange Stage on Sunday night. That was a spectacular show – great performance from start to finish.” 

If you should recommend one or two shows this year which would they be?

“The first one would be Weyes Blood, who are playing at the Pavilion stage Friday evening, and Vampire Weekend same evening at the Orange stage.”

So there it is, Vampire Weekend, Noel Gallagher, Christine and the Queens – the chances to hear an artist that you love or will fall in love with at Roskilde Festival are endless. I heard my now favourite band through 20 years, Placebo, for the first time back in 1999 at the festival and every year I get that rush of amazement when I discover a new band or catch myself singing (screaming) the lyrics to a well-known song. And in the end, it all boils down to the love for music.

Photos: Velua Frost

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