Distortion out, Copenhell in

Raise the devil horns. The Copenhell festival, the city’s only metal and hard rock festival, is returning with yet another furious line-up.  Among the headliners this year are the legendary Seattle-based Alice in Chains and the home-grown throne holder himself, King Diamond, the former falsetto frontman of Mercyful Fate. 

A total of 32 bands will appear at the festival at Refshaleøen in Amager, which has recently been expanded to three stages:  the rather befittingly named Hades, Helviti and Pandemonium. Copenhell, which was attended by 8,000 fans last year, includes two days of bone-crunching metal, providing a sanctuary for those yearning for throbbing metal tunes, copious amounts of pilsner, and some inevitable sore necks from all the endless head-banging.

Talking of beer, the waterholes are plentiful in the festival grounds, and a massive biergarten will ensure liquid gold to the masses. As tradition dictates, the garden will feature a heavy metal karaoke area for those wanting to test their pipes. There will also be headbanging contests where the prize is free beer. Numerous heavy metal DJs will also be performing in the beer tent.

For those hungry during the festivities, the food selection is varied and contains everything from vegetarian risottos at the famous Rock ‘n’ Risotto stand, to the butcher’s best pork cuts seared over an open grill at Guldberg Slagter. Those looking for hearty French classics can head towards Cofoco’s stand, which is premiering this year at Copenhell.

A curious area of Copenhell is Smadreland (Danish for destroyland) where you can allow yourself to go berserk and smash cars, stereos, campers etc if you are feeling destructive. While Asgard, an area known as the home of the Vikings, transports you back to the Viking era. This area will serve Viking food and also features a sauna.

If you’re a family man/woman, you can bring your children who are under 12 for free to the festival, provided they have adult supervision. In terms of accommodation, the camping areas have been sold out for a while now, so guests are urged to find their beds at the numerous hotels in Copenhagen. For a cheaper budget option, try the Danhostel on HC Andersens Boulevard.

The festivities start on Friday afternoon and continue for another 19 hours, on and off, until a performance by King Diamond (starting at 00:15) brings proceedings to an end in the early hours of Sunday morning. The festival pass gives fans access to both days plus a warm-up day on Thursday on which many of the upcoming bands will perform on the Pandemonium stage.

From the most terrifying black metal in the form of Norwegian God Seed, to the hilariously epic ‘pirate metal’ of Scottish Alestorm, the sheer variety is key to the Copenhell experience.  Here is a list of our top picks to look out for.



This year, fans of the earlier Metallica days will have a unique opportunity in witnessing the legendary bassist Jason Newsted, who will debut with his solo-group eponymously named New-Sted. The quartet features Newsted on bass but he also provides some pretty menacing lead vocals with a thrash metal backdrop.

Hades; Sat 15:30



The blues-metal outfit Danzig will also perform this year’s edition, and the phenomenal Glenn Danzig remains as obsessed with the occult and horror themes as his early days in The Misfits Their performance is not one to miss at the largest stage, Helviti.

Helviti; Sat 00:15


Sweden’s best

Sweden have always been known for producing some of the best death metal, and Copenhell have accordingly this year invited both Amon Amarth and Grave to the festival.  

Amon Amarth; Helviti; Fri 16:30; Grave; Pandemonium; Sat 18:00



Another icon of heavy metal, Phil Anselmo of the now disbanded Pantera, will perform with the sludge heavy southern outfit and highly successful supergroup Down.

Helviti; Sat 21:30



Refshaleøen, Cph S; camping ground opens Thu 17:00, closes Sun, concerts Fri 14:00-03:00 & Sat 12:00-03:00; festival pass: 795kr; www.copenhell.dk