Folkemødet: The politics of food and music

A quick, filling stroll around the grounds at the Roskilde Festival for politics

It has become something of an outdoor parlour game for regular visitors to Folkemødet to see how long they can go without actually paying for food.

With hundreds of booths, causes and politicos, big and small, vying for attention, anything goes when it comes to bringing in the public.

Everybody is giving away something, usually something to eat, and most have an entertainment system set up pumping out canned or live music, speeches and whatever message it is they are trying to promote.

With the Enhedslisten and Dansk Folkeparti booths sitting virtually next to one another, one can easily suffer political whiplash from whipping one’s head around to take in – or desperately attempt to avoid – the diametrically opposing screeds.

Stuffed with an agenda
During a quick walk through the booths, an aware attendee can grab a free coffee from any number of locations, including Radio Folkemødet, a radio station broadcasting all the news that could be news from Folkemødet.

There are litres and litres of free bottled water to be had – even the military was giving it away in clever little camouflage bottles.

One new political party whose theme and colour scheme is very, very green was handing out free croissants (they were not green) and a group of seafaring folk from western Jutland laid out an impressive smorgasbord of meats, cheeses, breads, beer and bitters – all made in western Jutland. They had sailed to Folkemødet on their ship ‘Maja’ to promote the food and culture of their part of Denmark.

What did she just say?
Music is everywhere. One especially impressive performance was put on by a group of youngsters from a local performance school. Extremely well played and pitch-perfectly sung, although it was a bit disconcerting to hear the cherubic-faced female vocalist warble the  “I really fucked it up this time” line from Mumford and Sons’ ‘Little Lion Man’.

As the days wear on, the major parties will start to dominate the stages and the airwaves and attendees will crowd around the main stages to see if they have anything new to say. Meanwhile, down in the trenches, in the booths along the harbour, Greater Copenhagen is giving out free chocolate cake.