Folkemødet open for business

Like a county fair gone wild, Folkemødet, Denmark’s Political Festival, has descended on Allinge Harbour. Politicians, voters, lobbyists … they are all here. The ferry ride over from Ystad in Sweden was packed, as were the buses from the port area. If it wasn't for a friendly fellow offering to share his preordered taxi, I would most likely still be waiting at the taxi stand.

The gentle scent of harbour flowers and the music of the gentle sea breeze one normally associates with Bornholm are well-masked by the smell of every type of fried food imaginable and the blended cacophony of sound rigs at every booth blasting their jam of choice and folk songs being sung, well, everywhere.    

One can go the whole day without paying for food simply by grazing the offerings of coffee, rolls, sweets, vegetables, sausages … you name it at every booth along the harbour.

Local hope
A local trying to entice some of the attendees to check out her handmade ceramics was met with curious smiles but not many takers. He said things were better a bit earlier when the skies were overcast and a bit of drizzle dampened the political fires.

Now, the sun is out, there are hands to shake and causes to promote and lobbies to lobby for, so local vendors will just have to wait for the politicos to stop in for a look.

Locals are generally positive about the political Woodstock coming to the island. Søren Jensen said that his Allinge Restaurant was doing great business. In fact, some mayors and leaders of other small jurisdictions throughout the country have been a bit sour that Folkemødet pumps up the coffers on Bornholm every year and doesn't travel around the country.

Right wing party DF had officially protested Bornholm's exclusivity, but have dialed that complaint back this year, perhaps realising that their retro trailer sits right in the middle of the action this weekend.

Not everyone is crazy about Folkemødet. Some tourists from Oregon that were visiting the island for the first time were not quite as thrilled at the crush of people or having the harbour scenery covered up with tents, tables, flags, trailers and other structures of every shape and size. Not to mention the entire place being overrun with press. The press corps for Folkemødet this year is approaching 400 strong.