A festival under guard of the capital city

In 2010, Aarhus hosted its first international music festival in the form of NorthSide Festival, which meant that the capital city of Copenhagen had to compete with its little sister in Jutland in regards to mass music events. Things are set to change, however, as this year Copenhagen will finally get its very own major festival: Vanguard, set to take place the first weekend of August.

The venue for the festival is the idyllic Søndermarken park, which is conveniently located between Vesterbro and Frederiksberg. “There has never been a festival like this in Søndermarken,” explained Peter Jacobsen, the brains behind the operation. “And I really couldn’t have dreamt up a better location.”

The first day of the festival seems tailor-made for a pleasant afternoon in the park. Many of the day’s artists are part of Scandinavia’s more refined pop scene, with the Danish alternative rock outfit Kashmir, Sweden’s Håkan Hellström and indie-folk band Junip all playing concerts.

The biggest name of the day, however, is the Detroit-born singer Sixto Rodriguez, the focus of the 2012 award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man. Since the film’s release, the now 70-year-old Rodriguez has finally received the recognition that the world failed to give him in his prime, and is a real catch for Vanguard as he will play his only European concert at the festival.

The Saturday names feature some of the very best to come out of the east coast 90’s underground hip hop scene. It may seem ridiculous to call Wu Tang Clan underground, a band that has sold over 40 million albums and has its own clothing line, but with their roots firmly in the dynamic music of the New York streets, it is really the only way to talk about them. I can confirm that a Wu Tang concert is everything you would expect: it’s grim, gritty and filled with enough attitude to “break ya neck”. The band also has the honour of being the closing act of the first Vanguard Festival.

Otherwise on Saturday, catch rappers De La Soul, lyricist Pharoahe Monch and hip hop villain DOOM, as well as Danish rap legends Malk De Koijn, who will play their only concert this year at the festival.

The schedule for the festival is organised so that attendees can have both their day in the sun and an evening outing, which Jacobsen explained is intended to accommodate a broad range of people. The programme for both days starts at 13:00 and ends at midnight. There is, however, a late-night after party on Saturday evening at Vega, during which Pharoahe Monch will act as master of ceremonies. The party is free of charge for anyone with either a weekend or Saturday ticket.

Don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy great music at Copenhagen’s newest festival in one of the city’s best parks. I know I won’t.

Vanguard Festival
Søndermarken, Frederiksberg; starts Fri 13:00, ends Sat 23:45, see website for specific event times; two-day pass: 975kr, one-day pass: 595kr, children ten and under: 20kr; www.vanguard-festival.com