Will summer 2021 events go ahead in Denmark?

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Will summer 2021 events go ahead in Denmark?
Art zone på Roskilde Festival 2019.

An expert group appointed by the government published late last week its recommendations on for corona-safe, large-scale events. Music festivals, concerts and sports are among the sectors keen for a final decision over restrictions.


Although the expert recommendations have now been published, they must still be negotiated and agreed on politically before restrictions are finalised.

Organisers of events must then adapt their programmes and plans to fit with those guidelines before they can apply – and be approved for – police and authority permission to go ahead with the events.

The Roskilde Festival has already said it is unlikely to take place in light of the recommendations, and the Copenhagen Marathon, scheduled for May 16th, was cancelled on Monday. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival has said it hopes to go ahead in streamlined form that will fit with guidelines.

According to the recommendations, rules for large scale events will be split into two phases: 1 and 2.

The summer will begin in the first phase before switching to the second at a later stage, when the restrictions will be a little less stringent. Phase 2 will begin when everyone over the age of 50 (apart from those who decline it) have received the coronavirus vaccine, the recommendations state.

Here’s an outline of the events that can go ahead – and those less likely to.


Festivals are unlikely to take place as we know them should the eventual government guidelines broadly follow the expert recommendations.

A crowd of 10,000 will be the maximum allowed at festivals even in the milder, second phase of restrictions. Overnight camping at festivals is not advised.

Most of the largest Danish summer festivals, including the Roskilde Festival, have already said they doubt they will be able to take place this year. Street festival Distortion has already been cancelled, but the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, which like Distortion normally takes place in city spaces, has said it hopes to go ahead in some form.


Euro 2020

Copenhagen is a host city for the Euro 2020 football tournament (which has retained its original name after being postponed from last year), and matches will go ahead in the Danish capital.

Almost 16,000 spectators could be allowed into Parken stadium to watch the matches if vaccination and infection rates move forward optimally.

Guidelines allow spectators at professional football matches if they are separated into sections and have permanent seating, amongst other guidelines. The government has previously confirmed that at least 11,000 people will be allowed to attend the fixtures in Copenhagen.

The so-called ‘Superliga model’ used last year to allow football fans to attend matches already returned on April 21st. That means up to 500 spectators can attend restricted, separated sections within stadiums. Corona passports are required and all professional football is encompassed.



Venues which are indoors, such as concert halls and arenas, will likely face more difficult obstacles than outside events given recommendations.

The expert report advises a maximum of 300 people standing in indoor sections with a total of 3,000 people in attendance in the final phase. The sections are to be separate before, during and after the event, with separate entrances and exits and service outlets.

Marathons and other running races

Outdoors running events can go ahead with a maximum of 3,000 participants in phase 1 and 5,000 in phase 2.

Contact tracing will be required using timing chips which are commonly used in such races. Other guidelines include distance between runners and avoiding repeated use of the same route.

The Copenhagen Marathon, which was scheduled for May 16th, was cancelled on Monday. The event’s organisers said they had been left with too little time to be able to go ahead with the event, with political talks outstanding and guidelines still yet to be finalised.

Should the recommendations become the actual guidelines, more 2021 running events in Denmark could follow the marathon into a second successive cancellation, according to Dorte Vibjerg, CEO of organiser Sparta Atletik & Løb.

Vibjerg said that the DHL Relay, Copenhagen Half Marathon and Aarhus City Half Marathon would all struggle to follow the recommendations in their current form.

“All the big running events are under threat,” she told news wire Ritzau.


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