About the „E“ in „TIME Sector“: Roskilde Festival July 4-8, 2013

20130709 Roskilde Festival

For newcomers, bands without a big label contract, festivals have for decades been a far-reaching platform. In our digital times, the music industry has changed dramatically: Now even for established artists, concerts have become an important source of income as buying CDs has gone out of fashion. And along the same line, gigs have become a vital PR instrument as big labels‘ promotion campaigns appear quieter in the internet‘s information cacophony.

So I was wondering what Roskilde — legendary annual open-air rock music festival near Copenhagen — would look like these days.

Summing it up in a nutshell: Big. Party. Fun. And (albeit more felt than statistically proven) condensed access to more big names in a few days than 25 years ago.

The history of Roskilde is impressive: Existing since 1971, it has grown from 20 bands in two days, allegedly Denmark‘s answer to Woodstock, to a week-long international event with 175 bands on nine stages, 80.000 paying visitors, 32.000 volunteers. And 50.000 tents. The 2013 line-up was called „bombastic“ by MTV and included Metallica, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Slipknot, Sigur Ros, Airborne, Calexico, Turbonegro, Angel Haze, Suicidal Tendencies, Bobby Womack… Ok, I‘ll stop here. But special mention to Kraftwerk‘s 3D performance, an acoustic and visual big bang beyond verbal description.

20130709 Watching Kraftwerk in Roskilde

Roskilde is not exclusively focused on bands on stage but has arts and acts all over — sculptures, speeches, performances — which contributes to the party atmosphere as one strolls around the premises. Also interesting: Sunday is traditionally the Copenhageners’ excursion day to the festival and you see nicely dressed senior citizens meander through smoke clouds and noise walls with an attentive and curious look on their faces.

To complete the story, we were really lucky with the weather, aka five consecutive days of brilliant sunshine. Nevertheless, the majority of our little professional travel group had decided that given our age, caravanning was a more appropriate form of accommodation than camping. An excursion into the camping grounds with the, umh, impressive smell and garbage piles confirmed me in that sissy attitude. Noticeable difference to 25 years ago, attending at a festival with enough money not to care about those little extras like a daily hot shower: Quite enjoyable. And so we all thrived in feeling younger than ever. Celebrating midlife crisis can be lots of fun.