Distortion is a celebration of Copenhagen nightlife dating back to 1998, when it began life as a one-day celebration to promote this very publication, InOut, the entertainment guide of The Copenhagen Post, which was then edited by the founder of Distortion, Thomas Fleurquin.
Two years later to celebrate InOut’s second party, it became a five-day affair, each day moving to a new area of the city to engulf them with their infamous street parties.
The three main street parties take place in the city centre, Nørrebro and Vesterbro, before a big final party on the Saturday and then a major chill-out (Hygge) on the last day. This mobile cocktail of partying has become widely popular, and according to the organisers “the mobile party concept is perfect to make everyone lose control.”
And it is safe to say that’s what happened last year when the total number of different people who attended went up from 40,000 to 130,000.
But while Distortion is playing in the big league now, that doesn’t mean they’ve developed a stuck-up attitude. There’s for instance still no VIP area as “anybody should feel welcome everywhere.”
The only problem about the increased attendance is the cleaning costs, which is why everybody is encouraged to buy a wristband to support the street parties this year.
All-in-all, the festival includes more than 166 dancefloors at its massive street parties during the daytime and spectacular raves at night. And this year includes some truly major acts, including Chromatics, Mike Skinner and Trentemøller.
The inner city will be buzzing with music, random drunkenness and festival spirit when Distortion kicks off. During the day, the street parties will take place pretty much all over at venues like Zefside, Urban Outfitters, Zoo Bar and Pumpehuset. Wear comfortable shoes, as you might have to walk from Studiestræde to VorFrue Square and on to Gammel Strand, only to head back again. When the sun sets, you don’t want to miss the Chromatics perform at Skuespilhuset along with some Danish acts under the theme of disco. At Culture Box the theme will be techno and at Pumpehuset the mood is set for hip-hop.
Wed from 16:00; recommended events at Skuespilhuset, Culture Box, Pumpehuset
On the other side of the lakes, ‘Nørrebronx’ always lives up to its name with a mix of ghetto and booty music. For the widest variety of music and no less than three stages, Nørrebrohallen is the place to be. Not to be missed are New Orleans’s gay rapper – yes, they do exist – Sissy Nobby, and DJ Funk, who pioneered the ghetto house subgenre of house music.
Thu from 16:00; recommended events at Nørrebrohallen, Spillestedet Stengade, Rust
Though the streets will be packed with drunken people, this doesn’t mean children aren’t welcome at the Distortion celebration. Distortion is a party for everybody, so also the little ones, who will be able to enjoy the festive and fun mood of Distortion spiced up by Lucky Boy Sundays. The two days of Children’s Distortion include music, playing, food, drawing and some good charity for the organisation Barndrømmen (child’s dream), which helps exposed children to cultural experiences. So bring your parents to the special children’s street parties in both Nørrebro and Vesterbro. The motto is ’Children Helps Children’, and at Vesterbro you will also get the chance to participate in a charity art project, where parents buy a canvas for their children to paint together with an artist.
De Gamles By, Nørrebro, Thu 14:00-20:00; Skydebanehaven, Vesterbro, Fri 1 June, 14:00-20:00, art project 16:00-18:00; free adm; www.facebook.com/cphdistortion
In the red-light/hipster district, various stages will be dotted around as local venues host their own Distortion parties. Keep an eye out for some of the special events that day like the street dinner party – you can bring our own food, but cheap food will be also be sold at stalls set up by Cofoco, Madtjenesten and Hein’s Flæskestegssandwich. Besides Vesterbro, these dinner parties will also be organised in Nørrebro and in the heart of the city. At 10pm, the action moves from the block party to the nearby clubs. Six dance floors at six venues with five genres of music, all in close proximity to each other. Whether you like techno, house, indie, urban or reggae, everybody is catered for. Among the highlights are: Remisen (Soup Kitchen), where one of New York City’s most popular DJs, the Chilean-born Dinky, will hit the sports hall with a mix of house, techno and funk and soul; Skateparken (Distortion), where the godfather of Danish electro Anders Trentemøller will be taking centre stage; and Lastbil Scenen (Soundvenue): where the star of the show is British rapper Mike Skinner, who is best known for his music project The Streets.
Fri 1 June from 16:00; recommended events at Remisen, Skateparken, Lastbil Scenen
This is what Distortion has come to: one big final party on Refshaleøen. The party starts at 6pm with ten stages presenting a mix of hip-hop, house, techno, disco andreggae. A ‘three-minute rave’ kicks off at 8pm, which will include music from a boat, bus, truck, and even a helicopter. Make sure you don’t miss Trojan Sound System’s original reggae music and Yelle’s French electro-pop.
Sat 2 June from 16:00; Refshaleøen
After four days of partying, it’s time to sober up at Distortion’s last party. The location and line-up will be announced soon on the festival’s website.
Sun 3 June; location yet to be announced