Parents ridiculed for complaining to Roskilde Festival over camping areas

Roskilde Festival, the largest music festival in northern Europe, opened its camping area Saturday to eager festivalgoears aiming to find a prime camping spot before concerts begin on Wednesday.

Parents ridiculed for complaining to Roskilde Festival over camping areas
Photo: SH Luftfoto/Stiig Hougesen/Roskilde Festival

The festival has a tradition for guests arriving as early as possible – the phrase “charging the fence” (“vælter hegnet”) has moved into common parlance due to the tradition of knocking over temporary barriers the day the camping grounds open.

But concerned parents at home began to post worried message on the festival’s Facebook page on Sunday night after reports of early arrivers being asked to move their tents due to lack of space and safety regulations.

“Many young people, including my daughter, have queued for 24 hours before the opening at 4pm today [Saturday, ed.]. They ran in like everyone else, found a place to camp, only to be moved on along with 500 others in the area due to fire safety. No signage whatsoever. Now they have nowhere to stay and have been told to wait until 10pm and others say they must wait until 12pm until a space is ready. They are wet and cold and this is just not on!”, wrote one woman according to a report by newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The average age of Roskilde's 130,000 festival guests is about 24 years and approximately 50,000 tents are set up in the various camping areas.

READ ALSO: Danish farmers brew beer from recycled festival guest urine

The main Orange Scene can be made out in the bottom left of this aerial shot of the festival grounds. Photo: SH Luftfoto/Stiig Hougesen/Roskilde Festival

A similar message was posted by a second concerned mother, who wrote that her daughter’s camp was “torn down by a bigger group of young people. Where is Roskilde, where are the security guards?”, the woman wrote.

The parental messages were met with both reassurance and ridicule.

On Monday, social media users began to give the festival five star ratings on Facebook to counteract what they saw as oversensitive criticism from parents.

The expression “curling parents” (“curlingforældre”) emerged on the reviews section of the Facebook page as a term of ridicule for the complaints.

“Terrible! My 32-year-old daughter has been subjected to awful treatment by the festival. When she finally found a bumpy spot, she wanted during the course of the evening to put up her tent and sleep, but – and I find this inappropriate – there was loud music and noise into the early hours,” one sarcastic poster wrote.

READ ALSO: Tales of a Roskilde Festival virgin's first time

Festival spokesperson Christina Bilde told broadcaster DR that she was confident young festival goers could cope with the week away from home.

“Fundamentally I think that, if you let your child or young person go [to the festival], then they should be allowed to fend for themselves. They are great at looking after each other, and they come home at the end of the week and have grown, if they are allowed to,” Bilde said.

The lineup for this year's edition of the festival includes the Foo Fighters, The XX, Arcade Fire, Future Islands and Father John Misty.

The weather forecast for the week suggests a mixed bag overall, with rain a near certainty.


Denmark’s summer music festival hopes fade

The possibility of large-scale music festivals taking place in Denmark this summer has been described as “unrealistic” following the publication of expert recommendations for coronavirus-safe events.

Denmark’s summer music festival hopes fade
The Roskilde Festival during the glorious summer of 2018. Photo: Sofie Mathiassen/Ritzau Scanpix

Music events such as the Roskilde Festival, the largest of its kind in northern Europe, would not be able to take place as normal and must be without overnight guests under the recommendations, submitted in report form by an expert advisory group to the government on Friday.

The group, appointed as part of the national reopening plan, was tasked with looking at how festivals and other large events can take place this summer.

The recommendations will provide the basis political discussions which will form an agreement over large events which will be integrated into the reopening plan.

READ ALSO: Denmark enters new phase of reopening plan: Here’s what changed on April 21st

Seven various scenarios, including one for outdoors, standing events, were considered by the expert group in forming its recommendations. Two phases have been set down for eased restrictions on large events, which are currently banned due to the public assembly limit.

In the final phase of the restrictions towards the end of the summer, a maximum of 10,000 people would be permitted to attend an event. All attendees would be required to present a valid corona passport, and audiences would be split into sections of 2,000.

Although that could provide a framework for some events to take place, Roskilde Festival, which normally has a total of around 130,000 guests and volunteers including sprawling camping areas, appears to be impossible in anything resembling its usual format.

The festival was also cancelled in 2020.

Roskilde Festival CEO Signe Lopdrup, who was part of the expert group, said the festival was unlikely to go ahead should it be required to follow the recommendations.

“Based on the recommendations, we find it very difficult to believe it is realistic to organise festivals in Denmark before the end of the summer,” Lopdrup said in a written comment to broadcaster DR.

The restrictions would mean “that it is not possible to go ahead with the Roskilde Festival. That’s completely unbearable. But that’s where we’ve ended,” she added.

The news is potentially less bleak for other types of event with fewer participants, with cultural and sporting events as well as conferences also included in the recommendations submitted by the group.

Parliament has previously approved a compensation scheme for major events forced to cancel due to coronavirus measures this summer.