‘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.
Collectors can make good money, but they have to navigate an unregulated environment. Photo: Bobby Anwar
Collectors can make good money, but they have to navigate an unregulated environment. Photo: Bobby Anwar
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.
Peter from Nigeria spends up to 15 hours a day collecting cans and bottles. Photo: Allan Kortbæk
Peter from Nigeria spends up to fifteen hours a day collecting cans. “Some festival guests are aggressive,” he says. Photo: Allan Kortbæk 
“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.
The bottle and can collectors work all areas of the festival, from the campgrounds to the areas right in front of the stages. Photo: Bobby Anwar
The collectors work all areas of the festival, from the campgrounds to the areas right in front of the stages. Photo: Bobby Anwar
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.
 
Photo: Bobby Anwar
Photo: Bobby Anwar
The bottle collectors were given their own VIP lounge in the Art Zone, which doubled as an art installation at night. Photos: Allan Kortbæk
The bottle collectors were given their own VIP lounge in the Art Zone, which doubled as an art installation at night. Photos: Allan Kortbæk
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.
Collectors can earn as much as 60,000 kroner over the course of the festival. Photo: Allan Kortbæk
Collectors can earn as much as 60,000 kroner over the course of the festival. Photo: Allan Kortbæk

 

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)
Neil Young played a three-hour set on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Neil Young played a three-hour set on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
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)
Kvelertak played a chaotic, cathartic late night set at Avalon. Photo: Justin Cremer
Kvelertak played a chaotic, cathartic late night set at Avalon. Photo: Justin Cremer
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)
A terrible photo of a great show by Savages. Photo: Justin Cremer
A terrible photo of a great show by Savages. Photo: Justin Cremer
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)
Gojira kept the festival's final day going strong. Photo: Justin Cremer
Gojira kept the festival’s final day going strong. Photo: Justin Cremer
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)
Sleep at Apollo. Photo: Justin Cremer
Sleep played behind a wall of fog and lights at Apollo. Photo: Justin Cremer
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)
One legend meets another: Neil Young on Orange. Photo: Justin Cremer
One legend meets another: Neil Young on Orange. Photo: Justin Cremer
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)
Danish superstar MØ on Orange. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix
Danish superstar MØ on Orange. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix
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)
Courtney Barnett at Avalon. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Courtney Barnett at Avalon. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
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)
Mac DeMarco at Arena. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Mac DeMarco at Arena. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
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)
Old school rappers House of Pain showed that they still have the skills. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Old school rappers House of Pain showed that they still have the skills. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix 
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)
Tame Impala put on one hell of a party on Friday night. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Tame Impala put on one hell of a party on Friday night. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
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)
Los Pirañas gave a commanding performance on the intimate Gloria stage. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Los Pirañas gave a commanding performance on the intimate Gloria stage. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk 
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)
Tenacious D gave a weird but wonderful post-midnight show on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Tenacious D gave a weird but wonderful post-midnight show on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix  
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)
Elf Kid's early afternoon set helped wake up the Apollo crowd. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Elf Kid’s early afternoon set helped wake up the Apollo crowd. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
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.

From Russia with love: Snowden addresses Roskilde

Broadcast live from Moscow, Snowden seemed to be in good spirits for a man who has spent the last few years in exile.
Roskilde Festival announced Snowden’s address earlier this month, billing it as a perfect fit for this year’s theme of human rights. Critics have since hailed the move as something that has added depth to this year’s festival by creating a discourse around the subject of privacy.
Formally dressed and courteous in his demeanour, Snowden’s address was hinged on answering several questions pitched by members of the Roskilde Festival public and moderated by the performance art group The Yes Men.
Skærmbillede 2016-07-05 kl. 22.51.58.png
These queries had been raised in relation to several controversial privacy statements that had been deliberately placed around the festival with the intention of promoting the event.
The former CIA employee focused on the issue of privacy, arguing “it is not something to hide but something to protect,” and billing it as “the foundation of all other rights.” In his opening statements, Snowden also questioned governments’ Machiavellian “the ends justifies the means rhetoric,” equating it to the policies of Nazi Germany.
Snowden then went on to address questions on the power dynamics associated with the data gathering policies of the United States, which by and large can extract the private data of any individual without legal consent and simply by “knocking on the doors of Google and Facebook.”
Driving his point home, Snowden questioned the legitimacy of such privacy-violating policies, citing that whilst they have run for a decade, “they have yet to uncover any unknown terrorists. “
As a still and uncomfortable silence fell upon the festival grounds at Roskilde West, Snowden then used the example of the FBI’s spying on Martin Luther King Jr when he was labelled a threat to the political stability of the US back in the 1960’s.
The mood lightened considerably towards the end of the proceedings, as Snowden veered towards discussing solutions to some of the privacy issues that he had addressed previously. He jubilantly stated that it did not matter what one did, as long as one did something, before responding with a refreshing dose of humour to questions from a child in the crowd regarding the length of his jail sentence if convicted of the charges that the US government have filed against him.
The 45-minute address ended in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” from the partisan crowd in honour of the whistleblower’s 33rd birthday last week, followed by a chorus of “pardon Snowden.”

The Local’s not-quite-live Roskilde 2016 blog

Skærmbillede 2016-07-05 kl. 22.51.50.png

Roskilde Festival spokeswoman Christina Bilde previously stated that Snowden was a perfect fit for this year’s theme on human rights.
“More than anyone else, Edward Snowden has made us aware just how much human rights are challenged. This goes for a small country like Denmark as well where surveillance both in public and on social media challenges the right to privacy; where refugees make us question the right to free mobility; where the right to freedom of speech is debated heavily,” Bilde said.
“His thoughts and experiences will undoubtedly inspire reflection amongst anyone who cares to listen at the festival,” she added.
Earlier this week, Snowden lost a legal battle in neighbouring Norway when the Oslo District Court said it would not handle a lawsuit he filed in April as a way of seeking a guarantee that he will not be extradited if he visits the Norwegian capital to accept an award later this year
Skærmbillede 2016-07-05 kl. 22.51.37.png

8 key questions ahead of this year’s Roskilde Festival

Original article written for The Local, available here.

As some 130,000 fans prepare to descend on the festival grounds for eight days of music and merry mayhem, we take a look at some of the things we’ll be keep a close eye on during this year’s festival.
1. What will the weather be like?
Look at those blue skies! Will we get them this year as well? Photo: Per Lange
Look at those blue skies! Will we get them this year as well? Photo: Per Lange
Let’s start with the obvious: the perennial weather question that everyone asks themselves ahead of the festival. Festival-goers are particularly keen to hear the forecast for this year’s festival, given as Roskilde comes after a week that has provided both glorious sunshine and ravaging thunderstorms. Which of those will continue through next week? Well, at the time of writing the Danish Meteorology Institute (DMI) was predicting a cloudy albeit mostly dry week ahead, with the exception of Wednesday. However, as always, the unpredictable Danish weather will be certainly a force to be reckoned with.
2. Will the music lineup please or disappoint?
Wiz Khalifa is one of several big hip-hop names at this year's festival. PR photo
Wiz Khalifa is one of several big hip-hop names at this year’s festival. PR photo
Roskilde sold out in good time this year, indicating early signs of impending success. Its music lineup this year features quite a few major hip-hop acts, such as Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, House of Pain and Vince Staples. This is a lineup that is inclined more towards an urban sensibility than it is anchored in the rock and metal heritage that has come to define Roskilde over the years.
Still though, there is also plenty on offer for the headbangers, from heavyweights Slayer to Nordic upstarts Kvelertak, and there are acts like Neil Young that should be able to assemble the diverse masses in front of Orange Stage. Will this year’s lineup pay dividends for the organisers?
3. Will the Red Hot Chili Peppers redeem themselves?
RHCP need to redeem themselves in the eyes of Roskilde fans. PR photo
RHCP need to redeem themselves in the eyes of Roskilde fans. PR photo
The last time the Peppers graced the Orange Stage, they bombed abysmally. Their 2007 performance was so roundly slammed by audience members and critics alike, that it was all anyone talked about when they were added to this year’s bill. Will they be able to silence their critics?
4. How will the political message behind the Orange Stage’s opening act go down?
The Syrian National Orchestra and Damon Albarn. Photo: Mark Allen
The Syrian National Orchestra and Damon Albarn. Photo: Mark Allen
The festival’s legendary Orange Stage will be opened this year by the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, a clear political statement by the organizers given the hot-button issue of how Denmark has reacted to the Syrian refugee crisis. The musicians were scattered across the world as the Syrian Civil War erupted in 2011, but now the 90-strong orchestra will be reuniting for one of their first ever concerts together since fleeing the country. The orchestra, conducted by Issam Rafea, will be joined by none other than Damon Albarn of the Gorillaz and Blur fame, along with other special guests. The show could be one of the most breath taking performances of the entire festival (especially considering that Albarn had to literally carried off the stage the last time he visited Roskilde).
5. How will Roskilde fair against growing competition?
NorthSide, Tinderbox and Copenhell have all crowded in on Roskilde's territory. Photo: Michael Barrettt
NorthSide, Tinderbox and Copenhell have all crowded in on Roskilde’s territory. Photo: Michael Barrettt
Denmark’s music festival scene has really come alive in the last few years, and it seems like more and more huge international stars are gracing stages across the country. This year has already seen the one and only Iggy Pop headline Aarhus’ NorthSide, the multi-award-winning spectacle that is Rammstein come to Funen’s Tinderbox and the British music legends Black Sabbath including Copenhell on their farewell tour.
Roskilde has, of course, still brought some huge names to Denmark once again this year, but will the growing reputations of NorthSide, Tinderbox and Copenhell challenge the dominance of Roskilde as Denmark’s biggest and best music festival? Or will the increase in competition see Roskilde raise the bar to an unprecedented level this year? We are waiting with bated breathes, but only time will tell!
6. Will our Roskilde virgin survive? 
The Local's former intern Chris Manion will be attending his first music festival ever.
The Local’s former intern Chris Manion will be attending his first music festival ever. 
The Local has been covering the festival since we launched in Denmark in 2014, and some of our team have been coming since long before that. But this year, we will also have a ‘Roskilde virgin’ with us. Former intern Chris Manion has not only never been to Roskilde before, he’s never been to a music festival.
“Since coming to Denmark two years ago, my 24-year-old festival virginity seems to be a thing of sheer unbelief,” he said. “Upon informing the inquisitive Dane of my disinterest in music festivals I summarily receive a noise akin to  a dying sea otter, followed by a fantastically enthusiastic ‘ROSKILDE IS THE BEST EXPERIENCE YOU WILL EVER HAVE!’. So this year I’m going to do it, take the plunge, get down and dirty, and see if this Roskilde festival is all it’s cracked up to be.
Don’t worry, us veterans will look out for him.
7. How much of a mess will be left behind?
Another perennial Roskilde query. Once the maddening crowds have left and the camping grounds resemble an apocalyptic dystopia, the question of who will clean up the mess always arises. Roskilde Festival incurs significant expenses each year in mopping up after its hedonistic guests, who leave behind everything from fully functional tents to rich stocks of tinned food. Much of what is abandoned is donated to worthy causes.
8. Will Roskilde fix its ‘collector problem’?
Continuing on the same tangent, Roskilde’s guests drink over one million litres of beer every year, resulting in millions of beer cans spread around the festival grounds. Denmark’s can remuneration system ensures that many of these cans are recycled, thanks to an influx of hundreds of can collectors primarily from Africa and the Roma community at events such as Roskilde. Those collectors help recycle cans and bottles while earning some money for themselves, but their interaction with festival guests isn’t always as happy as in the video above.
The collectors become an underclass that works in poor conditions, often marred by racist overtones and abusive reactions from merrymakers. They have also faced notoriously long lines in recent years to collect their deposits but organizers have worked hard to improve conditions for those who clean up after the rest of us.
The Roskilde Festival begins on Saturday, June 25th and runs through Saturday, July 2nd. The first four days serve as “warm-up” and feature a number of up-and-coming Nordic acts and scores of activities on the campgrounds. The main music line-up begins on Wednesday, June 29th.

 

The Local’s top ten Roskilde concerts

Original article published in The Local Denmark

Roskilde Festival 2015

The Local's top ten Roskilde concerts

Whether it was at the expansive Orange stage or one of the festival’s more intimate settings, there were no shortage of good concerts. Photo: Sophia Juliane Lydolph/Scanpix

The Local’s top ten Roskilde concerts

Published: 05 Jul 2015 21:34 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Jul 2015 21:34 GMT+02:00

Roskilde Festival has once again come and gone, leaving a trail of smiles, laughs and memorable experiences in its wake. This year’s lineup was more commercial than previous years, with less rock and metal on the billing, but there was still more than plenty to satisfy all musical tastes.

A testament to the Roskilde Festival’s diversity can be found here in our picks for best concert. Our two writers, Justin Cremer and Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk, have quite different tastes and there isn’t a single repeat among their respective choices for the year’s five best performances.

Justin Cremer’s top five 2015 Roskilde Festival concerts:

5. Africa Express
Arena, July 4

Photo: Torben Christensen/Scanpix

I caught parts of 28 different concerts at this year’s Roskilde Festival, so getting it down to five picks is no easy task. Several others could have just as easily taken this spot – Dolomite Minor, Father John Misty, The Gaslamp Killer Experience or Mastodon, to name a few – but Africa Express gets the nod as it is where I closed out the 2015 Roskilde Festival, surrounded by good friends and treated to an impressive international jam session that had been going strong for nearly three hours when I packed it in.

4. St Vincent
Arena, July 2

Photo: Simon Læssøe/Scanpix
Photo: Simon Læssøe/Scanpix

I knew basically nothing about St Vincent before strolling in to the Arena stage on Thursday afternoon and when I left I wasn’t quite sure how to describe what I’d just seen. I think my feeble attempt to explain it to a friend later was something along the lines of “robot pop-rock” and perhaps that’s as good as anything. This was a tightly-performed – even occasionally choreographed – and very high-energy performance, highlighted by a final song played on the shoulders of a security guard with St Vincent sporting an ear-to-ear grin that revealed that she had just had as much fun as the audience.

3. Chelsea Wolfe
Gloria, July 4

Photo: Justin Cremer
Photo: Justin Cremer

The intimate Gloria stage was the perfect setting for an absolutely hypnotic performance by Chelsea Wolfe. Her particular mix of dark folk mixed with occasional blasts of rage may have on the surface been a strange pick for a hot and sunny day at Roskilde, but the enchanting Wolfe delivered one of my best musical experiences of the four days.

2. The War on Drugs
Arena, July 1

Photo: Simon Skipper/Scanpix
Photo: Simon Skipper/Scanpix

This was the show I was looking most forward to heading in to the festival and Adam Granduciel and company certainly did not disappoint. The setlist was very heavy on last year’s stellar album ‘Lost in the Dream’ with the performance putting just enough new nuances into the songs to really bring them alive. This was a powerhouse rock ‘n’ roll performance.

1. Goat
Friday, July 3


Photo: Justin Cremer

It is perhaps fitting that I don’t have a particularly good photo to go along with my top choice. The late night performance from these costume-draped Swedes who mix experimental psychedelic rock with African beats didn’t seem to be on the radar of too many, but those of us who were there were treated to what felt like a blissful mix between occult ritual and raging dance party. In a Roskilde Festival full of unexpected musical surprises, this one was the best.

Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk’s top five 2015 Roskilde Festival concerts:

5. Timbuktu
Arena, July 1


Photo: Bobby Anwar

Consistent, calm, confident. Those are the words that underline the show of veteran Swedish rapper Timbuktu. It’s never easy for Swedes to perform at Roskilde and earn critical acclaim, but Timbuktu put on a solid show good enough to scrape into our top ten anyway.

4. Kendrick Lamar
Orange, July 3

Photo: Bobby Anwar

Kendrick Lamar epitomized the booking policy at Roskilde this year: bombastic, commercial and appealing to the youth. Orange stage host Per Vers introduced him as the man he thought is the best rapper at the moment before his show and whilst some of us may disagree with such a grandiose claim, Kendrick did put on a top-notch performance before a packed Orange stage.

3. Mew
Orange, July 3

Photo: Simon Læssøe/Scanpix
Photo: Simon Læssøe/Scanpix

Danish rock band Mew played at Roskilde’s Orange stage missing one of their frontmen, guitarist Bo Madsen, who left the group just last week after 20 years. On their sixth appearance at the festival, this time as a trio, Mew were brilliant and endearing, backed by the solid Danish following that they’ve built over the years.

2. Die Antwoord
Orange, July 2


Photo: Bobby Anwar

South African duo Die Antwoord brought the Orange crowd to its knees with an emblematic, raucous performance that few expected would be as good as it turned out to be. Given that they are not well-known locally, their psycho blend of Afrikaans rap and trashy shrill vocals proved to be an even bigger hit. Frankly, Roskilde has rarely seen something of this nature.

1. Florence and The Machine
Orange, July 2


Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Scanpix

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – not only is that the title of indie band Florence and The Machine’s remarkable new album, it’s also a good descriptor of their show at Roskilde’s Orange stage. The voice of Florence Welsh, the singer at the forefront of the band, is a force to be reckoned with – she found herself at home at a packed Orange stage, with the big, blue beautiful sky above a sea of smiling fans.

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.

Volunteers at the heart of Roskilde Festival

Roskilde Festival’s success year after year lies in much more than the music and its famed orange feeling. The event simply couldn’t go on if it weren’t for the small army of volunteers who handle projects big and small and ensure that the festival-goers have a fun, safe and memorable time.
Some 32,000 people volunteer during the week-long event, either giving their time and services directly to the Roskilde Festival or to one of the more than 200 clubs, societies and organizations that operate on the massive site.
See also: ‘Diversity is what brings me to Roskilde Festival’
The ardent volunteers partake in everything from toilet duties to manning VIP check-ins to cleaning up the sizable mess left behind after a week-long party with around 100,000 guests.  the festival is one example of the magnitude of properly-employed voluntary manpower for a good cause.
Backed by an urge to support initiatives that benefit children and the youth within humanitarian and cultural work, Roskilde Festival relies on the efforts of numerous volunteers to keep it living and breathing as an organisation dedicated to churning its profits into efforts that have a positive impact on society.
See also: The Local’s ten must-see Roskilde gigs
On a Wednesday that marked the opening day for Roskilde’s grand stages, with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Noel Gallagher making appearances at the sold-out festival, we wanted to find out more about who is making things run smoothly behind the scenes.
Besides the free ticket, what drives these volunteers to donate their time and energies to the Roskilde Festival? The Local caught up with some of the volunteers at this year’s festival. Here is what they had to say:
Nadia Muhammad, first-time volunteer from Valby. 
“Being a volunteer is hard and demanding at times, but also a lot of fun.”


Anne-Katrine Greenwik Jensen from Glostrup is volunteering for the second year in a row.

“The ticket is free and it’s nice to get a break from the festival ground.”


Ole Schou from Næstved is volunteering for the fourth time. 

“We have such a good time at the Roskilde Festival and I really like it out here in Street City.”

First-time volunteer Nadia Behzadi
“I am happy for the free ticket, I have great colleagues and it is really fun work.”

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’.

Sarabi
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.

Mastodon
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.

Disclosure
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 Local’s Roskilde festival wrap – up

Original article here :

The Local Denmark

 

Screen shot 2014-07-10 at 12.46.26 PM

 

Screen shot 2014-07-10 at 12.46.58 PM

 

Screen shot 2014-07-10 at 12.46.42 PM

 

Screen shot 2014-07-10 at 12.45.37 PM

 

 

 

 

Pics: Bobby Anwar

 

The grounds at Roskilde Festival resembled an apocalyptic scene out of a futuristic dystopian fairytale as The local bid a fond farewell to this year’s event. Ripped tents, bulky heaps of air mattresses and cans of mackerel and tuna lay strewn like stardust across miles on end of now derelict camping areas patrolled by a niche section of die-hards riding the wave to its very end.

The story of 8 days of pure freedom- broken norms and mended souls summarized in a seemingly unappealing pile-up of junk.

Look beyond the veneer of all things apocalyptic and anarchic epitomized by this scene and you’ll find the success story of a festival that gathered over 100’000 people together for concerts by 166 bands from 30 different nations, generating an expected profit of between 200 and 270’000 Euros that will be donated to charity. Predominantly dry conditions that were interrupted by the odd shower every now and again made it all the more memorable, as did an astute band schedule that raked in every one from golden oldies for The Rolling Stones to tweak-obsessed kids for Major Lazo’s emblematic performance. Where some, like Danish deejay supremeo Trentemøller, failed to create a stir, there were others, such as Deftones, Darkside, Outkast, Stevie Wonder and not least of all Manu Chao, who all conjured up performances that charmed reviewers, established fans and new aficionados alike. Beyond music, the art scene around the Orange stage basked in the aura of its ever-increasing popularity and both Game city as well as Street city on Roskilde’s Western wing provided apt alternatives to the full-throttle party vibe. All in all Roskilde was well-organized and co-ordinated this year and there can be few complaints of poor concerts, a fact epitomized by the cancellation of Sunday’s Orange stage star act, Drake, who was replaced by the totally different Jack White. Whilst younger fans of r & b were left disappointed, for the omnivores and rock fans, Jack’s show was a sight to behold.