Each summer since 2010, Copenhell turns what used to be an important industrial site in the Copenhagen harbour into a sanctuary for metal heads from across Scandinavia.
The Refshaleøen location has played host to everything from the hugely expensive Eurovision to the hyper-chaotic and hugely popular street festival Distortion, but it is at Copenhell that the former shipping yard gives way to the most complete festival experience.
This year’s Copenhell line-up boasts an astounding 42 different acts ready to wreak havoc upon the grounds. The ultimate headliners are funk-metal pioneers Primus, rock-opera newcomers Ghost and arguably one of the biggest live acts in the world in form of the extravagant Slipknot from Des Moines, Iowa.
Boasting three larger stages, Copenhell organizers have arranged their concerts with as little overlapping as possible, therefore festival-goers have the chance to see virtually all bands during the course of the three days. An additional fourth stage, Copenhate, has now been added to the grounds and will give upcoming Danish metal bands may test their skills.
The Helviti stage will play host to the biggest-name bands, which in addition to the three aforementioned headliners includes Body Count, Rise Against and French heavyweights Gojira.
The Hades stage meanwhile will be graced by bands such as American death metal veterans Cannibal Corpse, Bay Area thrashers Exodus, Finnish folk metal outfit Ensiferum and Swedish death meatless Bloodbath.
A couple of odd-one-outs have also made it to the final roster in form of punk-rockers Rise Against and glam rock band The Darkness, whose flamboyance and cheek will sure raise some eyebrows of the conservative metalhead.
Although the concert experience takes centre stage, Copenhell also appeals to the somewhat playful, albeit destructive nature of metal music in form of ‘Smadreland’ (literally translated as ‘Destruction Land’). Here, attendees can compete against one another in a battle of destruction, not of their fellow man but rather on a supply of old vehicles, stereos, and television sets. Safety goggles are of course supplied.
Apart from the endless opportunity to headbang the day away, plenty of social lubrication is found in the countless bars and stalls. Available are everything from crisp pilsners and Jäger shots to the somewhat intimidating Absindsyg, an absinthe created by Danish brewing masters Mikkeler, which allegedly contains real wolfs’ blood in its ingredients. The hugely popular Biergarten also features live DJs and plenty of cold brew while those who want to turn up the temperature can channel their inner Finn at a sauna complete with a fire pit.
The gates of Copenhell open on Thursday at 4pm and the festivities close out on Saturday at 3am after a final show of Danish joke-metallers Red Warszawa. One-day tickets for both Thursday and Friday are sold out but a limited number of Saturday tickets and full three-day passes were still available at the time of writing. Check the festival’s website for ticket info.