It all starts as these kind of things usually do, as a vague premonition in the back of my head, when I wake up just a little too late suffering from lack of sleep and a vaguely palpable hangover. I get up and start getting my packing together, the plan being to hang with Josefin for a few hours before meeting with Jenni, Janne and Ellen to head for Roskilde.
Halfway to Stockholm, the phone goes of with that tired old ring tune, why are there so many ostriches…It plainly states that Josefin wont be able to make it. Shit. I decide to get lost in Stockholm for a few hours and wander of aimlessly. Good fun.
At around two, I briefly meet up with old friends Erik and Johan outside central station whilst waiting for Jennifer to show up. After about ten minutes, she and Janne shows up, made obvious by the fact that Erik shouts “Oh..! Look at the panda”, meaning, of course, Janne.
Any way, we hit Arlanda by train and just chat for a few hours. Turns up we do have quite a crowd of friends in common. Odd how small the world is. Before we head for the first flight of my life, I buy a decent Latte and use the facilities. Got to say a place has class if it plays Barry White in the bathroom.
We arrive at Kastrup an hour after take-off, and with my first flight ever complete, I’m feeling both a tad shaky and mildly excited. After two quick train-rides we arrive at Roskilde Station and the festival seems so close you can actually taste its salty odour. While Janne and Ellen try to get to the regular entrance, me and Jen wanders of, trying to find the press check-in. A long and gruelling trip on foot later and the bracelets are on. We hook up with a Swede, a Canadian and two Scottish girls and head for the eastern entrance whilst sharing a few beers and stories.
The first sight of the festival is quite overwhelming. There’s one word that completely describes the camping. Vast. Un-fucking-believably vast. While light rain gently dribbles on our sweaty necks, we ascend on camp-site K with its book-bus agora. Waiting for the others, me and Jen shares a few beers and a bag of crisps under her umbrella.
We put up our stuff in the camp-site, made easy by the fact that our tent is up when we get there. The first thing that hits me is that I’m sharing a three-man tent with three girls I’ve hardly met before for about a week. This could mean death and destruction.
Setting priorities straight, we go and buy a crate of lukewarm Tuborg to enjoy while bonding with our newfound friends. Tremendous. We enjoyed quite a few beers, and had a good laugh or two whilst chatting with everything from Kiwis to Scotsmen, from Danes to Swedes and from pissed Finnish metal-teens to tired Cannabis-stereotypes old enough to be our dads and moms. Major shouts go to Ally, you’re one hell of a Britton!
The first day ends as these days usually do, as a hazy memory in a way-to-cold tent somewhere on a camping brimming with excitement, music and drugs.
Song of the day: Has to be ‘Shut up and sleep with me’
Food of the day: The feta-cheese wrap at Arlanda
Moment of the day: Take off in Stockholm or perhaps falling asleep in Denmark
We wake up as explorers mostly do, a gazing headache, tired eyes and a dead opossum lodged in the throat as wake-up gifts from a body that now hates the brain with a passion. And exploring ends up being the main topic of the day.
After wasting a few hours on waking up, having a morning coffee, a beer or two and a bowl of nachos, we hit the part of the festival already open, passing tens of thousands of tents, danes and music tastes and a wide variety of headache-inducing witty tees. Actually only there for the fashion we get stuck at a bar drinking Mojitos (which turned out to be the drink of the festival, med and Jen downed at least six of these each) and Cosmo. After Janne almost ends up being picked up by a Dane high on champagne and cigars we start shopping.
I end up a pair of fake ` Bans and a green Palestine-scarf richer. I’m also a newly recruited member of some animal-rights society and quite drunk by now. The other guys fare better and as I can recall, the only one buying anything except for me is Jen, also sporting a green scarf from Palestine.. After wandering around without structure or aim for a few hours, briefly gazing upon both the Orange stage somewhere in the distance, and on the rumoured western camping, far beyond the bridge, we descend on the camp and our crate of beer with a few fresh bags of crips, one sporting the brilliant flavour of Heinx Tomato Ketchup. God bless the seasoning gods!
The night ends up being a wet one yet again, me acting as a stand-in boyfriend for Janne and poor Jenni getting far too drunk for her own good, almost passing out outside the tent after a less-than-charming vomiting session. Oddly enough Ellen seems resilient to peer pressure and hardly touches the bottle.
The tent is as always the scene for the final act of the day, and we pass out in a big pile as chilly winds punish the surrounding wasteland-turned-camping.
Song of the day: How about CK with Dixie (hepp, hepphepp)? Or Hearbeats by The Knife.
Food of the day: Either the coconut soup of Mama Mombasa or the garlic bread made from Pale Ale.
Moment of the day: Passing out in the tent was pretty funny, so was the drunken trip with Janne across camping K hiding from her fan. It’s all pretty hazy, actually.
Waking up in the gazing sun certainly brings back unpleasant memories from Hultsfred, though knowing that today will kick off the party in a spectacular way makes the headache so much more bearable. Breakfast ends up being a cup of coffee and a Ciabatta that definitely hasn’t aged with grace, along with love-stories of regular dinner and hot showers. This is festival for sure. We sit at a falafel place, watching people smoking water-pipes and actually taking a few sips ourselves while waiting to regain consciousness as the clock moves torturously slow towards five o’clock and opening time.
After downing at most one beer to kill various bacteria, and chatting with Lou, Pettri, Erin and the others for a few hours, the clock finally announces it’s party-time as Danish Whomadewho prepares to enter the Metropol stage. The first thing that hits me when I set foot on the area is again the size of it all. The area is stupid big and showcases an eclectic mix of fresh graffiti, sparse, white, almost space-like lounge-areas and exciting cuisine both high and low. Another observation you’re forced to arrive upon is how crowded Roskilde is. Even though the area is so vast several choppers patrol it in the sky, there’s hardly ever an empty booth, and the lines for the cash dispensers seem never-ending.
After eyeing a few of the stalls we enter Metropol just in time to see two men dressed as rabbits and one as a bear rocking a crowd with disco-infused post-punk. Their energy seems never-ending as they play everything from their own material to mad covers of Mr Oizos Flat Beat and disgusting Benny Banassi hit Satisfaction. A fucking terrific show, all around. We leave just before the extras and start browsing for clothes. There’s a lot to look at and some of the tees found are just amazing. I’m actually wearing one now. While we explore, Janne takes off to catch Bullet For My Valentine. I’m staying and checking out all the crazy fashion and gadgets, such as the Hitler mask and the art-money though. Probably the right choice.
After what seems like an infinite line of stores, it seems it’s time to catch a glimpse of Guns’n’roses. A fucking spectacle. The guys are an hour late whilst over 60 000 people wait for them in front of Orange. Not us. North-bound, the target is Clap your hands say yeah, and they refuse to disappoint. Everything from Upon this tidal-wave of young blood and The skin of my yellow country teeth to previously unheard tracks and a completely arrogant version of intro-track Clap your hands becomes an amazing, living composition as CYHSY dominates the Odeon completely.
We wander of just after the finishing track to catch Sigur Rós, playing the Arena. It turns out to be an excellent ending to a great first day at Roskilde, and as we sit outside the tent enjoying the magnificent track eight from (), I can’t help but to love the entire world.
As we leave the area after several unsuccessful attempts at an evening snack, and one rather disappointing Mojito, the sun is setting and the chill slowly creeps upon us. We share a few words with the gang and soon hit the tent, one man short and refreshingly sober.
Song of the day: Upon this tidal wave of young-blood
Food of the day: The wicked, albeit way too sparse tofu-salad me and Jen shared outside Metropol.
Moment of the day: Sitting in a state of half-paralysis outside Sigur Rós and loving the skies above, the people around me, and the companionship ever so palpable in the air.
“There’s a Party in Participation!” Shouts Mike Skinner to a crowd far too mighty for the Arena to bear in the chilling Danish night, but let’s rewind it a few hours. I awake early while the girls still sleep to open the tent, and as an embodiment of the surprise part of the Kinder-egg equation I find that someone has taken a piss on the entrance. Almost as revolting as it would be hilarious if it was happening to someone else, it helps to quicken my wake-up if nothing else.
The first thing on the agenda for the day is grabbing a snack, and me, Marja, Marie and Ally hit the closest store to stock up on beer, bread, bananas and everything in between. My Visa not working in the store leaves me without that precious bottle of Jäger. In retrospect, a wise decision. Getting back, I enjoy a breakfast of smelly cheese, smelly chocolate and smelly bread. The Danes enjoy the notion of fat food, especially fat food that sweats, and that’s clearly noticeable in every product in the stores. Though probably my twentieth time in Denmark, this is the first reflecting I’ve done upon the subject.
After breakfast, the festival-day starts with a gruelling 90 minutes waiting to dispense cash. If there’s one thing I’ve ever agreed with Pitchfork Media on, it’s this: Get more cash points! After acquiring some cash and along with the cash two fresh tees, Threadless-style, we revisit Mama Mombasas for some more lovely coconut-soup.
We follow up on soup with Kaizers Orchestra dominating the Orange. Although the second time I see them this summer, they never fail to impress, not even in front of 50 000 people. Always keen on exploring new music though, we take off and enjoy a bit of world-music with Korean Vong Nguyet and hyped Yiddish dancehall act Matisyahu. Both acts impress, but as much as Vong tries, it’s simply not my pint of beer, and Matisyahu? Well, calling the venue crowded would be like calling an axe in the face a minor inconvenience.
After much convincing, we give Fat Freddys Drop a try too. Apparently one of the bigger acts of NZ, they deliver a fresh mix of dub, straight reggae, ska, calypso and much more. Since we only stay for like ten minutes, my description might seem off-target, but give it a download.
Somewhere here, the time-frame becomes a bit hazy, but in my recollection, we wander aimlessly for a while before we hit backstage where me and Jen enjoy fresh bathrooms, a few bottles of Smirnoff and sharing a coconut drink before catching both stoned out rockers Happy Mondays and Mr Bob Dylan.
Although watching Dylan might be epic, watching The Streets is even more so. Mike Skinner is an entertainer, and delivers he does. Performing a hilarious set, he does everything from parodying Usher to buying a round of Brandy for the first row of the audience. Reviewers are complaining of it being a bit too much showmanship and far too little music, but me, I’m dancing and having a huge laugh in the process, so it’s all good.
We take of early from the Streets, me and Jen to watch Death Cab for Cutie and Ellen to watch fag superstars Scissor Sisters. Not being a huge Death Cab fan, I can still contend the show was awesome and they delivered in a way totally orthogonal to Skinners. Completely engulfed in the music, they lose themselves to the riffs and harmonies and weave a dreamy yet intense framework in which the music evolves and grows to something outer-worldly in my weary neo-cortex. We watch it from a fair trade coffee shop a little bit off side, but when they’re playing the final track, Transatlanticism, they could just as well be right next to me, so intensely close is it.
Buying some coffee and sweets to keep the mind working we go for yet another experimental act, dance-jazz ensemble The Five Corners Quintet from Finland. They deliver an awesome set to fall asleep to, and the smell of cannabis really fulfils one of the festival stereotypes I’ve been carrying around of the perpetual stoners lying everywhere. No other festival has delivered on the drugged out hippies in quite the same way as Roskilde.
Final act of the evening is becoming an annual tradition, as Looptroop enters the same stage Death Cab played just an hour ago. This is by far the best Troop-gig I’ve ever seen and Embee seems to have had a stroke of madness, controlling the troop with an iron hand, not even telling them which song is next. They perform two amazing medleys, the regular set of old classics and an extremely intense version of Modern day city symphony sporting a completely darkened stage and lighters across the crowd.
As we hit the camp, foul winds of piss, beer and cannabis traverse the patchwork of party-tents, chairs, flags and semi-passed out people that is camp east and we enjoy an hour or two of talking about nothing in particular before the sleeping bag gets to fulfil its workload.
Song of the day: Transatlanticism or perhaps These Walls Don’t Lie
Food of the day: The coconut shards from the drink backstage
Moment of the day: “Don’t you wish your boyfriend was fit like me” or perhaps dreaming of butchering the rude danes we tried to visit.
Saturday opens like always. Escaping the tent with my sleeping-bag, I’m reminded of a song by A Silver Mt. Zion, “Stumble then rise on some awkward morning”. I join Erin in sleep under our party-tent, lying only in my boxers. Refreshing and extremely needed, but with the unwanted side-effect of me waking up more than an hour later with my leg half on fire from the scorching sun.
I don’t notice this until well on the area, because this morning, we’re in a bit of a hurry to catch Koop at one o’clock. Waking up at eleven, it’s a bit of a feat to be there just in time to catch the band. When we enter the venue, they’re just about to begin, and they put on an amazing jazz-electro show displaying influences from both samba and house. Xylophones never sounded quite this good. Just what’s needed to get the day started.
Walking back to the tent, we take some detours and enjoy the area, and pick up some fresh clothes. I buy a fit pair of Vans and Jeffi and Ellen buy a shirt each and we look just smashing. Finally at the tent, we enjoy a few hours of talking bullshit, namedropping Simpsons and just having a good time before American trio Why? enters the scene at six. They put on the most amazing show, and the lyrics are classic New York-smart, just as the band look classic New York-good. I must admit I have no idea where they are from though, except that they are Americans. One quote from the witty banter between songs really strikes a chord with me: “You are all so beautiful. I would sleep with every single one of you here: Man, woman, child or beast, I don’t care”. True love.
Catching a glimpse of singer/songwriter Josh Rouse just after Why? brings back a few memories from last year and discovering his album Nashville on my way to Hultsfred, though the show fails to deliver for me. I’m too much in a party mood, I guess. After Josh, we fell asleep together on a pillar for an artwork against slavery outside The Ballroom to the tones of Primal Scream echoing off the Orange stage.
After Primal Scream, we revisit childhood together with Thåström. The man plays every single hit you could hope for, and we enjoy everything from Fanfanfan and En Vacker Död Stad to Österns Röda Ros. A really amazing set that took me back to that old boy-room in Göteve.
Saturday is indeed a day of music, with the next act being Tool, entering the Orange stage with a stage-show so amazing it’s hard to comprehend. Uncompromising, progressive metal meeting psychedelic and twisted films of a bastard offspring of our race with cartilage sprouting from all body parts whilst fire sets the stage ablaze in front of 50 000 people makes for a truly dreamlike experience.
After Tool came nightfall, and with nightfall Under Byen, a Danish melancholic rock-ensemble sporting everything from cellos to saws. Almost too dreamy, it seems, as I find both Jen and Ellen sound asleep. I can’t resist scaring the hell out of Ellen, something that truly lightens the mood even more.
Ending the night is Kanye West with an excellent show that I only got to see a few songs off. After that I decide to hit the sack, but the night takes a bit of a wrong turn, and I’m well on the way to ending it on a real sour key. Suffice to say it involves quite a bit of liquor, the first few songs of a HIM-concert and me being way too emotional. Everything turns out really good in the end though, but I’m still such an emotional sod. It’s beyond odd.
Song of the day: The Pot with Tool. Actually, the whole set, but The Pot will do.
Food of the day: Didn’t actually eat anything. I guess a lukewarm Carlsberg.
Moment of the day: Seeing Maynard blazing through a fire on orange stage or watching Kanye enter to the live strings of diamonds are forever.
Things are blurry when I awake, slowly, and get outside the tent for a morning piss, like the caveman in the Kellogs commercial. When I’m back at the tent I down a few sips of Koskenkorva before med and Ellen tries to get some sleep together outside the tent. Suffice to say it really fails miserably. What to do? I decide to hit the bottle at full effect instead. Petri obliges with Kosken tasting of Salmiak, and me and Ally’s crate is still filled with beers.
The clock turns close to lunch and by now I’m in that hallowed semi-drunken state that makes it bearable to use the crapper. Sunday is a decidedly lazy day, and I have no real ambition of catching anything. My objectives for the day are Wolfmother, Raconteurs and Roger Waters, and they seem to be somewhat similar to the others. So we sit around downing pint after pint until like three o’clock when we head for the area.
By now, I’m pretty hungry, but also pretty drunk. We aim for Wolfmother which ends with me falling half-asleep. Not the stoner-experience I’d hoped for, so we head of to Ellens favourite band of the festival (perhaps comparable to Scissor Scissors, but definitely in the top tier of the list) – Placebo! I mostly sat outside on the warm grass of the Arena stage, enjoying a show like most others. Since I’d never listened to Placebo, I’m not the one to judge the show, but Ellen definitely seems happy afterwards, so I guess all is well. Somewhere around here, I have vague memories of a Mojito split between four. But who knows.
Though after Plac, we split up as Ellen heads for Franz while me and Jeffie decide to grab some decent food to still our mutual hunger and then start queuing up for the Raccs. We wander around and scout the area outside Odeon, but all the places are either full or serve useless food. We end up splitting a bag of crisps, perfect if you haven’t eaten in 30 hours, and stack up front. After what seems like nothing, but actually was closer to 45 minutes, the guys enter the stage.
We scream, jump and bang. Jeffie seems quite taken and myself, I really enjoy it. Pulling off monster hit Steady as she goes as like the fourth track, they then intensify the show. Ending the regular set with a Danko Jones-cover, which by the way is an amazing way to end it, they set the tone for the extras.
After intense amounts of shouting, Jack and the guys finally enter the stage, and together they pull off one of the most intense encores I’ve ever heard. The rock-ballad that opens it all is mind boggling in every way, and the other two tracks really finish it of perfectly. After the show, I’m a drooling, sweaty excuse for a happy man. We say goodbye to our Norwegian pit-friends, and go to meet up with the rest for Waters.
At the slavery statue, we hook up with the gang and Ally is so happy it’s actually a bit hard to comprehend. His festival is, him concerned, actually quite finished now. What could top this? Well, we’ll soon find out. After a while, even Janne and Petri show up and we push ourselves to a decent and quite roomy spot in front of Orange.
After only a few minutes, to my excitement, music starts blasting from the loudspeakers. Mr Roger fucking Waters enters the stage. The guy invented my music taste. Without him, no King Crimson, no Jetthro Tull, no Mars Volta, no ELP, no Van Der Graaf-generator, no nothing. And there he is, almost palpable in his aging grace.
The show is almost too intense to describe. I’m going through every emotion there is. I jump with joy, I cry, I try to strangle myself and I shake and quiver like leaves in the wind. From the stage they all boom: Shine on you crazy diamonds, Wish you were here, Set the controls for the heart of the sun and the amazing Leaving Beirut. It’s too amazing to even begin to comprehend. At the end of the first hour and act, I’m a wreck. A complete, utter wreck. And then, the second act. The entire, yes, I kid you not, the entire Dark side of the moon. Money, Breathe, Speak to me, the great gig in the sky. The entire camp was there and we jumped, danced, hugged, kissed and took an amazing amount of group photos.
And then; the encores. Another brick in the wall. Comfortably numb. Head raised towards the skies, my feelings and thoughts go to my father who once showed me the Wall, ages ago. As the concert ends, my life seems devoid of meaning. This is the defining moment of my adulthood, and I could not be happier.
After the show, we wander around aimlessly, trying to find a place to eat while the speaker on Orange announces all kinds of good news about the festival. All seems closed though, so we hit the camp and the booze simultaneously. We sit up for hours, just enjoying the sun going down and then up again, talking and watching as the weed fills the air. People love, they sleep, they dance, they drink, they remember, they smoke, they flip. This is the epitome of Roskilde right here.
At five or six in the morning, I grab my sleeping bag from the tent and fall asleep outside in the wet grass, more than content with what I’ve experienced in the last week. Now remains only the journey home.
Song of the day: Shine on you crazy diamonds or The Wall.
Food of the day: That half bag of crisps.
Moment of the day: Redefining the purpose of everything in front of Orange. Moment of the festival, of the year, of my life.