After wanting to go to a festival for a long time, I finally took the plunge this summer and attended Roskilde Festival in Denmark on the 29th June to the 7th July.
So, a little background on Roskilde Festival: It started in 1971 by two high-school students, but has since been taken over by the Roskilde Foundation which runs the festival as a non-profit organisation. There is a huge range of music from different countries, it caters to around 130,000 festival-goers, lasts for eight days and is the largest music festival in northern Europe.
Roskilde was the first festival I’ve attended, so I jumped in right at the deep end. I mean, it was in another country and for eight whole days, so it was quite a shock but I can honestly say that other than the temperature, which was way too high from what I expected from a Scandinavian country, it was the best experience I’ve had so far.
The food is infinitely better than any UK music festival; although I have to admit that this is hearsay from friends who have attended multiple UK festivals over the years. The Roskilde Foundation also dictated that the food served in the festival had to be mostly organic, which means that not only was it good for you, it was also good for the environment. To be honest it was so much better than I expected and I’m still trying to recreate various meals without success.
The festival site is HUGE - it was so easy to get lost but that didn’t mean any sort of panic; there was something going on at all points of the day and there was always something to do or go and look at – they had a place to swim for God’s sake, there was no way you could be bored.
The camping was also actually really good – I was dreading it, but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. The change in temperature from going to sleep to waking up was absolutely ridiculous though. It’s not too hard to get a place to camp with friends either, even if we had to camp at one of the far ends of the festival. But, like I mentioned, there was always something to do and shortcuts to the main parts of the site so wherever you camped, it didn’t hinder us from having the best time.
I found it really cool that they sorted their rubbish on site and there is a huge emphasis on people being environmentally friendly – they even paid people for handing in bottles and cans with a special mark on it, which, if you were really environmentally conscious, could have bought you another crate of alcohol.
Everything was also easily accessible as the town centre is only a twenty-five minute walk away, which is unlike Glastonbury. The festival has their own train station, which I find amazing, along with buses that cater directly to the festival and volunteers were stationed at all points to help you get where you needed to go. It was incredibly easy to get from the festival to the centre of Roskilde or Copenhagen. Supermarkets in Roskilde town centre had tasters of the alcohol they were selling the entire time we were there and they had some really good flavours (I am constantly sad that they don’t sell Blackberry Somersby, Elderflower Lime Somersby and Hard Lemonade here in England). Also, it was incredibly cheap, however, warm alcohol was horrific and having to shot boiling hot liquorice flavoured spirit was a low point.
In addition, everyone in Denmark speaks English and they were ridiculously friendly; it added to the atmosphere of the festival and just made it so much more enjoyable. There was not a time where I felt scared or threatened while I was on my own. One woman in a shop even apologised for not being able to say the word ‘eight’ in English so that just tells you all you need to know about how lovely the Danish people are.
Another positive about the festival being in Roskilde was exactly that, it was in Roskilde. It was the ancient capital of Denmark before Copenhagen so it didn't hurt being in such a beautiful city, especially because I got to see Roskilde Cathedral where monarchs have been buried for centuries and as a history student, I found that pretty exciting.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without the music and I got to see some huge acts: Stevie Wonder, Jack White (he was a replacement for Drake which was an excellent replacement and so quickly done), The Rolling Stones (admittedly I left to see someone else after 40 minutes – but they had fireworks so what’s not to love), Bastille, Arctic Monkeys (who personally, I thought were better at Finsbury Park but they were still amazing), Outkast, Kasabian (my personal highlight) and Damian Albarn – and that’s not even everyone I saw, just the bigger acts. There were over 100 acts there and at such a wide range of genres, it caters to all kinds of music.
Roskilde Festival is definitely one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. It was friendly, it was an interesting new experience, there was always something to do and the music was incredible. I plan to go again next year and I would 100% recommend it to other students, whether you’ve been to dozens of festivals before or if you’ve never been to one. There’s always something for everyone to do and after the festival, you can even travel around Scandinavia if you have the extra cash!
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