Deal with city secures Distortion’s return

Street and club music festival is given another chance despite last year’s massive losses, but the pressure is on to turn a profit and turn down the mess

The annual festival Distortion draws tens of thousands of people into CopenhagenÂ’s streets to party, dance and drink over each of its five days.

But after last yearÂ’s festival there were concerns that it may have become a victim of its own success after over 100,000 people crammed into the narrow streets on some of the days.

The vast numbers of people left enormous quantities of rubbish, the lingering stench of urine, and a 350,000 kroner bill from City Council in clean up costs.

The bill added to further losses of several hundred thousand kroner that the festival incurred, which together threatened the future of the hugely popular festival.

2012 will see another Distortion however, after the its organisers struck a deal with the City Council to pay off the bill in installments over the next three years.

“It took six months of negotiations and we’re really happy about putting it behind us,” festival organiser Thomas Fleurquin, told The Copenhagen Post.

Fleurquin explained that the spiraling clean-up costs from last year caught them by surprise and that this year partners will be asked to foot more of the clean up bill.

The street festival visits a different city district each day and is put on in collaboration with partners such as bars, restaurants and shops who open their doors and put on events including live music for the visitors.

“If this year is not successful, we won’t survive,” Fleurquin said. “We have a huge minus from the year before so we have to come up with some new business models and get partners to contribute more to cleaning costs. So far we’ve been doing all the cleaning and only asked for a small fee from the street hosts.”

Fleurquin added that they were working on turning a profit this year and hope to use it to start paying off their debt.

DistortionÂ’s organizers will also have to find a way to encourage visitors to attend the evening Club Clash events which are one of the only sources of income for festival.

Despite the enormous volumes of people attending the free daytime street parties, the attendance of the Club Clash was so low that already by the end of Friday, with two days remaining, organizers were anticipating a significant loss.

For now though, their main concern will be keeping the City Council – who have allowed Fleurquin one last attempt at making the festival concept work – happy.

“When you have a party, you have to clean up after yourself,” Claus Robl from Copenhagen City Council’s Teknik og Miljø Forvalnting told Politiken newspaper. “Distortion does not get any special treatment and they need to improve.”

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