Roskilde Festival 2019: New technology to play role as campers pitch tents

Thousands of people ran onto the Roskilde Festival’s camping area on Saturday as the annual music event opened its doors.

Roskilde Festival 2019: New technology to play role as campers pitch tents
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix

The tradition of knocking down the fence before hurrying to get a prime camping spot on the 2,500,000 square-metre festival area was upkept in scorching summer weather on Saturday.

Once tents are raised, festivalgoers have several days to relax and take in the atmosphere before the actual music begins.

The first scheduled concert is Swedish rapper Silvana Imam’s gig on the main Orange Stage on Wednesday.

A new system this year will see a chip integrated into the wristband used to access the festival. That will allow guests to pay for food and drink digitally, as well as help organizers to see in which areas people are concentrated.

“We will use the data to see the flow through entrances, see where people are going and how we can optimize the dimensions of the festival area. That way we will be able to provide a much better setup,” Roskilde Festival head of communication Mads Mikkelsen said.

Festival guests can download an app which can communicate with their wristband.

With 130,000 attendees – making it temporarily the fourth-largest city in Denmark – the 2019 Roskilde Festival is the 49th edition of the event, a rite of passage for many young Danes and also hugely popular with older generations.

Headlining names this year include Bob Dylan, Cardi B, Travis Scott, Robyn and The Cure.

Although its first weekend was hot, cooler temperatures with wind and rain are forecast for the coming week.

READ ALSO: ‘I've worked in asylum centres, but have never tried anything like this before': Roskilde Festival volunteer

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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.