The Orange Feeling is back, and despite the standard doom prophecies of local weather forecasters, come rain or shine, Roskilde Festival is ready to explode once again. 160,000 attendees, 32,000 volunteers, and eight days of merrymaking mark the highlight of the Danish summer. The 43-year old spectacle offers plenty and a dig beneath the surface reveals that, true to one of its slogans, Roskilde is about “more than just music.” The Local was at Roskilde on Monday to take in the early week festivities.
Camping: A back-to-basics experiment that often involves wet tents, canned mackerel for breakfast, and sleeping next to a horde of party-crazed freaks with a 24-hour sound system, camping at Roskilde will provides the best and most irritable festival experiences all in one. Of all the many elaborate camps we saw on Monday, one that The Local enjoyed the best was the ping pong camp in West. This particular tribe of party animals had their own shaman-esque DJ, clad themselves in yellow and purple and frequently doused each other in champagne, a commodity that they seemed to have plenty of.
Street City: Using street culture and sport to generate cultural production, the Red Bull brand has laid claim to the skate park area in Roskilde West of the festival. BMX biking, roller blading and the usual flurry of rising electronic music talents are all taking part under the Red Bull studios banner. Many Roskilde die-hards have voiced concerns over the increased collaboration between the festival and commercially-motivated multinationals such as Red Bull. For them, the skate scene was more “authentic” before it was handed over to the energy drink company. For others, the talented lineup of DJs and the varied palette of urban sports on offer are a showcase of quality, regardless of who's behind them. These were but a few of many varied opinions at the skate park on Monday, where the stage technicians seemed to have been caught off-guard by a sudden downpour shortly after nine. Despite this hiccup, one can expect some interesting cultural activities from Street City, which runs until Wednesday.
Game City: Another zone intent on harnessing the potential of sports as a catalyst for social activity, Game City features organisations such as Hummel, Play 31, Sensational Soccer and Game Denmark, all of whom play host to a plethora of tournaments ranging from beach soccer, volleyball, 3-on-3 basketball, and double dutch. For those who fancy running off their hangover, this zone is definitely worth checking out.
Artzone: Located near the indomitable Orange scene, this year's Artzone features 21 different projects involving 150 artists from nine different countries. The art cliche of breaking down the distances between performer and participant is in abundance here, giving festival attendees the chance to immerse themselves in interactive experiments. Watch out for the work of Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Marcos Zotes and Maser. Not too far off from the art zone, the one kilometre of painted graffiti murals is also a sight to behold. Free graffiti workshops are also available to all who wish to bring out their inner Banksy.
Rolling Stones: Yes Roskilde is more than just the music but, at the end of the day, the indelible experience of seeing a good band perform live to thousands of people is at the heart of the Roskilde experience. While the festival organisers were lambasted for booking an overtly commercial lineup last year, highlighted by pop princess Rihanna, this year the general consensus seems to be that they have done a good job. This also creates higher expectations, perilous vices in themselves, but really, can a band like The Stones end up being a catastrophe at an Orange stage that originally belonged to them? And they are just the biggest names. The festival’s six stages will be offering plenty of options for music fans when the main line-up begins on Thursday. Until then, as we found out on Monday, there is no shortage of entertainment options.