Everyone knows that in order to be a true hipster, you need to be able to point at a famous band and say: “I liked them before they were famous.” Now you can beat the hipsters at their own game by attending the Vesterbro Festival. The festival features 80 up-and-coming bands, so you can find out exactly what’s hot and what’s not on the Danish music scene.
The festival was first held in 2003 and is therefore celebrating its 10-year anniversary. The idea was born as two of Copenhagen’s most popular music rehearsal spaces faced imminent closure – a development that would threaten the very core of the Copenhagen music scene. A group of musicians and music devotees therefore came together and decided that some kind of protest was necessary. Ideas were tossed back and forth suggesting everything from distributing flyers and demonstrations to seizing the City Hall and using it as a rehearsal space. Eventually they decided to utilise the power of the people and the music and the result was a festival where all the performers were exclusively new, up-and-coming bands. The very first festival was held in Kødbyen with three stages and only 25 bands, but it was a great success, and this coming weekend there will be over 80 bands playing on seven stages spread over two days.
It seems fairly optimistic to gather 80 unknown bands and form a festival, but somehow it works. The Vesterbro Festival is one of the best places to catch new musicians and see what’s going on in the Danish music scene. Each year there are hundreds of artists who apply, but only ten percent are selected to play the festival. With the standard so high, you’re guaranteed to hear some premium music from bands you might never have heard of before.
The Vesterbro Festival is a great place for new artists to experience playing before a large audience and, with so many different artists performing, there’s bound to be something for everyone.
It’s worth remembering that buying one of the reasonably priced tickets is a fantastic way to support grassroots music, even if it is only to watch one gig. After all, when was the last time you paid 50kr to watch a gig?
Four different venues on Halmtorvet, Cph V: Øksnehallen, Underhuset, PH Caféen & uKirke;
starts Fri 17:00, ends Sat 03:00; tickets: one-day pass: 50kr, two-day pass 100kr; www.vesterbrofestival.dk
Elof & Wamberg
For something a little unusual, try Elof & Wamberg. The quirky instrumental duo make the ukulele and contrabass unite in harmony in ways you never thought possible.
Underhuset; Fri 20:00
Freja Kirk’s music is a powerful medley of pop, folk and a quiet acoustic feel, but through it all, her beautiful, melancholic voice is key.
PH caféen; Sat 18:30
If you need to dance to forget, there’s the electro-pop group Fitness Figures, closing the night at Øksnehallen on Friday. Created by frontman Anders Juhl, the music is catchy, full of synth and ever so dance-friendly.
Øksnehallen; Fri 02:00
If you prefer your music with poetic lyrics, you should check out singer-songwriter Anja Kickbusch. Her music is heavy-hearted and gripping, filled with raw guitar and steady rhythms.
uKirke; Fri 21:00
Judy Has A Lion
Start the Saturday early with Judy Has A Lion. The band plays mostly ‘60s-inspired folk music with strong influences from prominent artists such as Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Ph Caféen; Sat 15:30
To kick the party up a notch on Saturday night, make sure you check out Von Dü at Øksnehallen, the largest of the venues. The nine-man orchestra promises to deliver a live experience like you’ve never seen before. Drawing inspiration from their everyday lives, their lyrics are funny and philosophical at the same time. By mixing pop, rock, reggae and hip-hop, their music is catchy and perfect for shaking your booty.
Øksnehallen; Sat 23:00