A mostly sunny Roskilde marred by tragic death

Sold-out festival turned a 10 million kroner profit that will go to charity, but event more likely to be remembered for death

Danish municipalities use words like ‘parasitic’ or ‘spoiled’ when describing autistic people (photo: iStock)
July 5th, 2011 9:43 am| by admin
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Roskilde Festival experienced a civilised start this year, when the thousands of queuing guests were let in before they broke down the fence – as has been the case the past six years.

To combat the worrying tendency and to take the pressure off the two main entrances, the festival had set up an additional three festival entrances where guests could reserve a place ahead of time.

An estimated 130,000 visitors, volunteers and artists attended this year’s sold-out festival, and while the music programme was heavily criticised for its lack of big names, the camping was its usual hive of activity, boasting camps such as ‘Camp Whatdot Punani Collaboration’, ‘Baywatch Boy Camp,’ and ‘Camp Crazy Legs’.

Unlike most major music festivals in Europe, Roskilde Festival is a charity whose profits are distributed to a wide range of causes. Homelessness and poverty were the main themes this year and several initiatives – such as the Poor City in the eastern camping area where guests could stay the night in a homeless hostel or hear the views of those living on the street – were established to raise awareness.

Despite a sunny start to the week, some light rain drifted through on Thursday when the music began in earnest. And the storm that flooded thousands of basements in Copenhagen on Saturday skimmed the festival before American indie band the Strokes played on the main Orange Stage, soaking the long queues of devoted fans that had waited hours to get a prime position for the show. But for many it was the highlight of the festival, as the group took the audience through its long list of hits while lead singer Julian Casablancas spoke in Danish about his ‘mormor’ (grandmother).

The 14mm of rain that fell in 30 minutes left vast muddy pastures, though nothing compared to the scenes of 2007′s wash-out, and by Sunday almost 200 cubic metres of woodchips had distributed over the sloppiest areas. A scorching Sunday saw the final of the 163 acts play to the remaining festival-goers after thousands went home that morning after sleeping in tents flooded by the downpour.

But while the festival’s music programme was panned, the sold-out festival managed to make a profit of at least 10 million kroner, 400,000 kroner of which had been raised as of Friday by 1,350 volunteers from DanChurchAid, the Danish Refugee Council and the Red Cross Youth from collecting refundable bottles and cans.

Refundable bottles were also used as payment for this year’s most iconic, and tragic, attraction – the 500 metre zip-line from the camping to the festival area. Despite high security and a ban on the visibly intoxicated, a 35-year-old German woman died on Sunday after falling from the 31 metre tower, which was the starting point of the attraction. She had apparently scaled the security fence while the zip-line was closed due to bad weather, then proceeded to climb naked to the top of the tower before falling to her death . The incident is still being investigated, but police have said the fall was probably an unfortunate accident.

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