Speak of good music or delicious food and Copenhagen always gets a mention. And in pursuit of this trait, the much-awaited Komos Festival – a two-day folk music and food gathering – took place in the heart of the city at the King’s Garden.
The event kicked off at 11:00 on Friday June 16, and even before the gates of the garden opened, there was already a crowd of enthusiasts gathered outside the venue. With the sun shining bright, the garden made a perfect venue for people to bask in the sunlight, enjoy great music and appease their taste buds with delish food and icy beer. Though the lush green grass became wet and mushy because of intermittent rain showers, the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm of the attendees.
Two stages were set up in the garden for different performances to take place in accordance with the schedule. Near the entrance was the massive main stage, and in the centre the tent stage. The spacious set-up at Komos allowed visitors to comfortably enjoy the concerts and simultaneously take a break to grab a bite or a glass of beer without having to push through the crowd. However, if there was a downside, it was the absence of enough trashcans, as the venue quickly became littered with empty beer cups!
With more mainstream genres like rock and pop dominating the music scene in Denmark, folk music does not always get the attention it deserves. However, with a festival entirely dedicated to folk music and a good turnout (particularly on the second day), a welcome change was witnessed in Copenhagen.
Presenting a mixture of traditional and contemporary folk music, a total of 12 artists, both local and international, performed on the first day of the festival. Danish band Dissing, Dissing Las & Dissing were the first to perform, but the last-minute absence of the band’s maestro, Povl Dissing, left many disappointed. Nevertheless, his sons lived up to the expectations of the audience and lifted the spirits of the festival with a great start.
Up next were the Danish quartet The Grenadines followed by the all-female American trio Joseph, whose performance quickly gathered the crowd towards the main stage. While British duo Seafret charmed the audience with their soothing tunes, the performance of Denmark’s very own Jonah Blacksmith harmonised with the downpour and turned out to be magical. The cold breeze afterwards, however, brought a bit of a discomfort to many people who forgot to bring warm clothes. Nevertheless, Michael Møller & Foreign Lands soon spread warmth near the tent stage with singles from their brand new album, ‘Burning Waltz’.
Next in line was Kris Kristofferson, the 80-year-old legendary artist from Texas, who received a huge round of applause and appreciation from the crowd as he held everyone’s attention for 60 minutes, despite his trembling voice. He finished off with ‘Please don’t tell me how the story ends’, which turned out to be a perfect fit for his finale.
The second last performance of the day was by the American band Tall Heights. Comprising singer and guitarist Tim Harrington and singer cum cellist Paul Wright, the duo left the audience amused with not only their performance but also with insults thrown at President Donald Trump. The duo ended their energetic hour-long performance and left the stage, but were summoned back for another song by the chanting crowd.
International musicians from House of Songs featuring popular Danish singer Poul Krebs concluded the first day of the festival with a performance that left the thin but energetic crowd more charged up, even after a long day.
Gastronomic extravaganza and food talks
With the slogan ‘Folk and Food in the Garden’, the Komos Festival turned out to be a successful combination of powerful folk music and mouthwatering food. Besides the two aforementioned stages in the garden, a third stage, the food stage, was also set up next to the food stalls.
The podium was specially arranged for discussions called ‘food talks’, where six renowned food aficionados from Denmark shared interesting stories, tips and tricks – all related to food. The culinary connoisseurs included Mette Blomsterberg, Tobias Hamann, Bo Jacobsen, Bo Lindegaard, Rasmus Palsgård and Morten Heiberg.
As for the food, there were three options available for the visitors split into three different price ranges: a dining menu from famous restaurants like Palægade, Cicchetti and Lalala, picnic baskets, and street food. To avoid food wastage, picnic baskets and dining menu had to be purchased with the ticket, while the street food was available for purchase at the venue.
The street food consisted of a variety of Danish, Asian and American fast food. The freshly-prepared food turned out to be a perfect treat for the rainy weather. In accordance with the festival’s rules, excess food was donated to organisations like Projekt Hjemløs and Stop spild af mad (project homeless and stop wasting food). There were also a number of kiosks for drinks, which definitely enjoyed more sales than the food itself.
The only downside of the food in the open air was the attention it received from seagulls that kept hovering overhead and didn’t allow people to eat in peace.