For the first time in 6 years the audience entered the campsite on time. 30 minutes later the grounds were filled with tents, pavilions and happy people. This year's Roskilde Festival had the best possible start and is now closing down after 8 days of music, events and Roskilde festivities. In total, 130,000 guests, volunteers and artists have participated in this year's festival. A tragic shadow is also cast over the end of the festival.
Roskilde Festival 2011 offered a wealth of diverse musical experiences. A total of 163 hand-picked acts made up this year's poster. Quantity is one thing but Roskilde Festival has a full focus on quality. One of the qualities is with precision to capture tomorrow's superstars and introduce them to a large and curious audience. At this year's festival there were compelling concerts, for instance by electronic prodigy Nicolas Jaar, the melo-metal satan-worshipers in Swedish Ghost and the everywhere-at-once hip hoppers in OFWGKTA. The latter was led by Tyler, The Creator from a wheelchair. A broken foot does not stop the world's probably most talked-about hip hop act right now.
Roskilde Festival gives priority to provide unique music experiences: the musical union of the two Fela Kuti sons Femi and Seun on the same stage has never been seen before. It was also at Roskilde Festival that the audience could see the fusion of the African congotronics genre and a big setup of Western indie rock bands. The bass was deep as Magnetic Man with guests returned to Roskilde, whose stage setting and audience made the trio want to continue to play live. Portishead came back to Roskilde Festival and stated that their relevance on today’s music scene remains extremely great, with a focus on aesthetics rather than dynamics.
The artists are also overwhelmed by the Roskilde crowd. After his concert, Kurt Vile called the Roskilde audience the best ever. Soul man Charles Bradley shed a tear and hugged the front rows of the audience – he was that moved by the reception of the Roskilde people. M.I.A. sensed she was doing something big on the orange altar. She exclaimed: "This one is really gonna be hard to top." Deadmau5 was overwhelmed by the large turnout for his thumping dance party on Orange Stage. "I pretty much have no words to describe this one, if you were there, you know. ♥ so much Denmark!" was the message from the mouse on his own Facebook page.
2011 was also the year that welcomed the new Gloria stage. With a new intimate setting, Roskilde Festival had created a platform for the more delicate expressions. The scene has been visited by such diverse expressions as Danish band Frisk Frugt with clay sculptors, Svarte Greiner’s disturbing one-man expression and Wang Li’s equilibristic Jew’s harp playing.
More Than Music
Apart from the music on the seven stages, Roskilde Festival has also presented an ambitious More Than Music programme that especially focuses on temporary architecture and design. Two large installations gave the festival site a visual lift upwards into the height. This year’s temporary stair-shaped landmark Why Don’t We Do It on the Stairs?
and the up to 7.5 meter tall cube installation Subercubes
rose as points of orientation and invited the audience for pause, being together and rest with a great view. In Gloria Zone and Pavillon Zone the audience could relax on the new sitting installations Bifrost
[Swedish for Milky Way]. The art at Roskilde Festival also contributed to creating thoughtfulness and involvement among the audience. This was for instance the case with Maj Hasager’s work Memories of Imagined Places,
which brought attention to stories from The West Bank, and the container installation Poor City that focused on the shady side of society.
Festival-goers and tickets
Roskilde Festival is an experience over several days with a variety of opportunities and surprises. To emphasise this the estival in the beginning of June decided to increase the number of permanent passes from 75,000 to 78,000, while the one-day tickets were reduced from 4,000 to 1,500 for each of the four festival days. On Monday 20 June, six days before the opening, the festival announced that it was sold out. 82 % of the festival-goers were from Denmark. This means that there is a slight increase in the number of foreign guests, and some of them came from quite far away. For instance, the festival was attended by 169 Americans, 13 Brazilians and 195 guests all the way from Australia. Most of the foreign guests still come from Norway, Sweden and Germany.
The number of Norwegian and German guests is on the same level as earlier years while the number of Swedish guests has increased a little. Out of the 3718 Swedish guests there were approx. 500 people with a ticket for the bankrupted Arvika Festival, who had accepted the offer from Roskilde Festival to come to Roskilde instead.
Poor City and Statement
This year’s Statement campaign has focused on poverty and inequality with a particular interest in two social groups furthest down the social ladder: the homeless whom we meet on the street, and the Romanies whom we also meet at Roskilde Festival. The audience has embraced the campaign and provided great atmosphere in Poor City where they could gain an insight into the world of poor people by participating in activities such as limbo under the poverty line, a homeless game or dinner with a homeless.
Weather and water
The weather always plays a crucial part for the festival's organisers and guests, and it showed its sunny side in the first four days. When the audience on Thursday 30 June at 17 entered the festival site it had started raining. On Saturday evening the festival – like the rest of the country – was stricken by a cloudburst. In total about 14 mm of rain fell. The audience took it well, however – and the festival's rain contingency spread out wood chips, gravel and took care of mud pumping. In total 100-200 m3 of wood chips were spread on site.
Waste, refund and a cableway
Soon the audience head back home. Usually, they leave behind a lot of waste, but this year there will be at least 42 tonnes less. The guests had helped collect that much waste in the campaign Your Clean Hour in the first four days of festival.
A total of 1,350 volunteers from DanChurchAid, Danish Refugee Council and Red Cross Youth collected refund for humanitarian purposes. Already on Friday the collection rounded DKK 400,000 (approx. 54,000 euro).
The guests also collected refund. The refund was used as payment for a ride on the 502 metres long and 31 metres tall aerial cableway from the campsite, over the gravel pit to the festival site. The cableway offered the audience a view of the gravel pit from a new angle.
Despite having a sunny Sunday, a fatal accident cast a dark shadow over the year 2011. A young woman died after having fallen from the tower at the festival’s aerial cableway.
Despite having a sunny Sunday, a fatal accident cast a dark shadow over the end of this year's festival. A woman stepped onto a platform outside the fence of the container tower by the aerial cableway and fell from the tower. The cableway was stopped due to weather conditions at the current time. Police investigations show that this is an unfortunate incident.
The economy and the purpose
A sold-out festival also means a profit. In 2011 we expect it to be at least 1.4 million euro. All profits go to charitable causes. The profits must be donated before next year's festival.
Some of the donations will expectedly be given to initiatives that are linked with the Statement campaign, which the festival expects to continue in 2012.
Thank you for this year. See you in 2012.