Why are there crowd disturbances at Danish tourist attraction Tivoli Gardens?

Copenhagen’s iconic tourist attraction Tivoli, known for its 19th-century layout, fairground rides and family atmosphere, has announced a reservation system for concert goers due to recent episodes of crowd unrest. What is going on at the normally-sedate amusement park?

Copenhagen tourist attraction Tivoli - pictured here in October 2020
Copenhagen tourist attraction Tivoli - pictured here in October 2020 - has experienced crowd disturbances at its Friday night concerts. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Management at Tivoli Gardens on Tuesday that it was introducing a booking system for big concerts, after recent episodes of chaos and unrest caused by concert-goers.

Attendees of the weekly concert event Friday Rock (Fredagsrock) will now need a special reservation in addition to their entry ticket. The reservation will specify a time at which the guest will arrive at the concert.

It will no longer be possible to attend the Friday concerts without a reservation unless they have another specific Tivoli reservation, such as for one of its restaurants.

READ ALSO: Danish attraction Tivoli to launch booking system after concert chaos

The decision was might in the wake of several incidents of crown unrest at Tivoli during the early part of the Spring 2022 opening season.

Earlier this month, a Friday concert by the rapper Icekild was disrupted by fighting among spectators.

A week later on April 22nd, thousands of people attended the amusement park to see singer Andreas Odbjerg rapper Artigeardit perform. 

Shortly before 8.30pm, the amusement park had to close its gates as it had reached capacity, which meant that thousands of people gathered on the streets around Tivoli in Copenhagen without being able to enter. Some did not accept the decision by Tivoli to close its gates and tried to force their way in.

Several police patrols were sent out in an attempt to manage the crowds around the park.

Tivoli’s commercial director Niels Erik Folmann told news wire Ritzau that the park had experience a change in atmosphere among its concert guests since business returned to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Compared to before corona, we have seen a lot of young people deciding to come to our Friday Rock. And they are very inebriated,” Folmann said.

“It’s very unusual for an otherwise upmarket artistic programme that we see people do almost anything, instead of just finding another party to go to, so to speak,” he said.

Tivoli expected high interest in the concerts after a period when, due to Covid-19 restrictions, live music events have been few and far between. But the extent of their draw has been surprising, Folmann said.

“It has surprised us that this has accelerated so much. I had a colleague who said it seems like it’s New Year’s Eve every Friday. Not just for us, but in nightlife generally,” he said.

“It seems like there’s an ‘on’ button and when it’s pressed, people drink as much as they can. People are falling over themselves in a way we’re not used to,” he said.

It should be noted that the disturbances at Tivoli have only been reported during Friday concert events and that daytimes, when families enter the park to use its rollercoasters and carousels, have not been affected and do not require special reservations.

“We want to make sure of a safe experience,” Folmann also said.

“There’s always someone in such a crowd on a Friday evening who doesn’t behave themselves. But it’s the amount of young people whose behaviour has crossed the line that has surprised us,” he said.

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New wave of Swedish and Danish film rolls into Cannes

A new generation of Scandinavian filmmakers is making waves, following in the footsteps of Ingmar Bergman, Lars von Trier and the Dogme movement, with three directors in competition at Cannes this year.

New wave of Swedish and Danish film rolls into Cannes

Swedish cult director Ruben Ostlund, who won the 2017 Palme d’Or for “The Square”, is back with “Triangle of Sadness”.

He is joined by two other films from rising stars with immigrant backgrounds: “Boy from Heaven”, by Sweden’s Tarik Saleh and Danish-Iranian Ali Abbasi’s “Holy Spider”.

Scandinavian films have been a fixture at the Cannes Film Festival over the years.

Denmark’s Bille August is one of a handful to win the Palme d’Or twice and Von Trier won the top prize in 2000 for “Dancer in the Dark”, while Bergman was the first-ever recipient of an honorary Palme in 1997 for his body of work.

Nordic filmmakers often “push the limits of cinematographic language,” said Claus Christensen, editor of Danish film magazine Ekko.

“It’s entertainment, but (the goal is) also to challenge the audience. The director has the freedom to explore whatever his artistic vision is,” he told AFP.

Abbasi, 40, is making his second appearance at Cannes, after winning the newcomer’s Un Certain Regard section in 2018 with “Border”, an eccentric troll-fantasy film about a border guard.

His new film “Holy Spider” is the gritty story of a serial killer “cleansing” the Iranian holy city of Mashhad of street prostitutes.

“You can’t pigeonhole him. When you think you have him, he’s a shapeshifter and does something else,” his producer Jacob Jarek told AFP.

Abbasi recently finished filming episodes for the upcoming post-apocalyptic HBO series “The Last of Us”, based on the video game of the same name. That versatility defines others from his generation, said Jarek.

Swedish actress Eva Melander and Danish-Iranian director Ali Abbasi pose as they arrive for the closing ceremony of the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Immigrant perspectives

The previous wave of Danish filmmakers, such as von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, won international acclaim with the Dogme movement, which set strict filmmaking rules aimed at ensuring realism in their films.

But the new generation is “more willing to work with genre, to mix genres: to do comedy and lighter stuff mixed with dark stuff,” said Jarek.

Both Abbasi’s and Saleh’s films draw heavily on their immigrant backgrounds.

Abbasi left Tehran for Sweden in 2002, while Saleh was born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and Egyptian father.

Saleh’s background was essential to making “Boy from Heaven”, he told AFP.

“I think there’s a reason a lot of directors, historically, have immigrant backgrounds, like (Francis Ford) Coppola and Milos Forman,” the 50-year-old said.

“You’re positioned on the inside and outside of something. In a way, that’s the director’s role… to see both the similarities and the differences.”

Tarik Saleh accepts the World Cinema: Dramatic Grand Jury Prize for his movie “The Nile Hilton Incident” during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival/AFP

Hidden world

“Boy from Heaven” is a dark thriller set in Cairo that follows a poor boy granted a scholarship to the prestigious Al-Azhar University, who finds himself drawn into a brutal power struggle between Egypt’s religious and political elite.

Being an outsider was crucial, Saleh said.  “No one has ever gone into (Al-Azhar University) with a camera before. (An Egyptian filmmaker) would go to prison if they did,” he told AFP.

A former graffiti artist, Saleh grew up with a filmmaker father and worked in his film studio before attending art school in Alexandria.

In addition to directing episodes of “Westworld” and “Ray Donovan”, his 2017 film “The Nile Hilton Incident”, also set in Cairo, won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize.

Meanwhile, Ostlund, the doyen of the trio with six features under his belt, is bringing his first English-language film to Cannes.

“Triangle of Sadness” is a satire about passengers on a luxury cruise who end up stranded on a deserted island, lampooning the fashion world and ultra-rich, with a scathing criticism of society’s focus on beauty.

By AFP’s Pia Ohlin and Camille Bas-Wohlert