“Roskilde…ROSKILDE!!!” Chants you heard from many of the star performers during one of Europe’s largest festivals. As a first time attendee this person got to experience the true “Orange Feeling” and the feeling was great!

Background: Non-profit organization, started in 1971, 50 full-time employees. All profits from the festival are donated directly to humanitarian and cultural purposes – More than DKK 180 million (approx. € 24 million) to-date.

Location: Roskilde, Denmark
Population: 47,828 (normally)
Population during Festival: Around 150,000
Stages: 8
Bands: Approx. 200
Fans: 77,500+
Volunteers: 32,000

Fun Fact: Combined, the wristbands from Roskilde Festival 2011 is 15.5 miles.

2012 Headliners: Bruce Springsteen, The Cure, Björk, Bon Iver, Mew, The Roots, Jack White
Full Lineup:

The Music

After over a decade, the Swede’s reunited in the form of Refused, which picked up right where they left off and dominated the Arena stage.

The newly introduced, Apollo Stage featured electronica with a soundsystem and light show die for.

Waking up to glorious hymns and beautiful choir voices by Danish band Ars Nova is a perfect way to kick off the final day. Luckily, I caught a bit of Icelandic icon Björk closing out the festival. Not being blown away by her more recent music, I have to admit that her show is spectacular. She really did wear a dress with robot-snakes?! She is truly a genuine artist that takes chances, and is constantly pushing new boundaries…which was a great way to close out the festival. The musical choices are top notch, from local acts, to emerging bands, to the top tiered performers, there is a bit of something for everyone at this festival!

The Festival

So how does Roskilde compare to other festival of it’s caliber? It’s Best in Class. They’ve been doing this for 42 years, and it shows. The efficiency, the layout, the musical choices and comfort – as much comfort you can have sleeping in tents. It is a joyous festival to attend. It’s on a huge property with plenty of open room to navigate around and escape the onslaught of great music. Food vendors, lots of beer stands, a tire swing playground, and even an area that resembles a strip mall allowed festivalgoers something else to do besides run from stage to stage.

The few days leading up to the main event is called the “warm-up” where 24 of the best upcoming Nordic bands get to perform on the Pavillion Stage. Truly a wonderful cause for a festival of such magnitude to reach out in support of upcoming talent.

Each of the stages all have unique sounds and styles – I particular enjoyed playing in the giant sandbox outside the Gloria stage, as well as leaving the festival with my Roskilde temporary tattoo. Unfortunately I forgot I still had it on at a business meeting the next day, but luckily they all understand the “Orange Feeling.” If you want to hit up a festival outside the U.S., this one is a good place to start!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2, where Mikkel and Morten from the Danish band, The Foreign Resort share their experience.

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