I went to Roskilde festival in Denmark and it was better than anything we have in the UK
Yes, even Glastonbury
Festivals abroad are always guaranteed to be mad. The likes of Outlook, Benicassim, Hideout and Fresh Island all promise drunken fun in the sun. But what about the less discussed European festivals? Roskilde in Denmark is a practically unheard of festival over here in the UK, but it sure knows how to put on a show.
Locals buy you drinks
This is the best part really. Danish locals buy you drinks. They’ll get a round for themselves, and then magically emerge back through the crowd like Moses parting the red sea with a round for you too. This just doesn’t happen in the UK. We’re too stingey as a nation and we aren’t always enthusiastic about sharing alcohol, but not the Danes. They’ll talk to you about the football teams they like and you’ll realise that all they know about Scotland is from Braveheart, but they’ll do it with a genuine enthusiasm for you as a tourist, and after handing you a pint.
Nobody is too drunk
Okay, so we all love a drink. Whether it’s through a funnel or a straw in a water bottle, getting smashed is a given at any show. Still, let’s not pretend that people who are too drunk don’t ruin things for people. People falling over constantly in crowds, throwing up or being generally irritating around you gets tiring when you’re trying to enjoy music. Although there wasn’t much drug use at Roskilde, there wasn’t people who were overly drunk either. It seems like people know how to have fun whilst drinking, differently from desperately trying to have the most fun by drinking. This also meant no fighting, no shouting, and no violence.
They queue for the front pits so people aren’t injured
In England, we love a queue. We love moaning about queues, but we also love queues. I’m sure we’ve all been super excited to get into the front few rows of our favourite act, only to have the show ruined by those assholes who think it’s funny to start pushing and shoving around. In Denmark, they have three sections on the main and tent stages, where you queue on either side to get into the front two pits. People queue in advance to get close to their acts, and wardens can count the people entering the pit. This sounds tame, but it means people aren’t hurt or pushed over as they dance. You can drink ya tipple in peace, and can actually enjoy the act without the fear of dislocating a limb.
The little book they give to everyone encourages community spirit
Instead of making you pay £10 for a shitty lanyard, you’ll be given a small, 100 page booklet with everything you need to know in it. The book has an A-Z of all the acts and some info about them, as well as a list of environmental and social actions they’ve suggested to maintain a happy, sustainable festival to bear in mind during your weekend. They include things like “Groping is not acceptable. Consensual touching is, of course.”, “Do not tolerate sexism, racism or discrimination.”, and “have a conversation with someone different from yourself.”
The food is absolutely amazing
How many times have you paid £7 for a below than average burger? The options at festivals are often pretty dire, but not in Denmark. They had everything from whole pizzas to vegan tofu hotdogs, to traditional nordic food. It wasn’t dirt cheap, but you’re getting way more for your money, and when you’re pissed it’s always exciting to have an amazing meal rather than some soggy chips.
The acts at Roskilde are scheduled so you’re much less likely to miss anyone. Shows are usually always on the hour every other hour, and occasionally at quarter past and half past. This hyper-organisation means that there’s less chance you’ll miss an act as you’ve got an hour to get to the next stage.
The camping is almost obsessively organised
Think of the spaces drawn out a car park. Now put it on yards of grass, and add a bunch of tents and gazebos. The camping at Roskilde only took place in designated areas, with areas marked out to ensure that there was always space to walk around. Everyone makes loads of effort for their camps, writing names on them and fashioning cute gates and signs out of rubbish.
Cold showers are FREE, and there’s even free charging stations around if you bring a charger. There was also a designated communal sandy cooking area for portable stoves, which surrounded a fire pit to keep you toasty. But wait for it – the WiFi gods manage to get into the site too, as every campsite had its own sheltered area with WiFi, chairs and a cute piano, where people gathered to sing The Beatles at 2am.