Though Roskilde Festival is one of the largest festivals in Northern Europe, the majority of participants who reside in this week-long temporary city are Danish.

It seems like most international festival goers from places like America tend to stay for four days only when most of the music is playing, visiting Roskilde Festival mainly for the headliners. In doings so, however, they miss out on the experience of spending a full week in this amazing community. Exploring the motives of international festival goers at Roskilde Festival helps shed some light on how to attract more guests from abroad, increasing the diversity of the Roskilde Festival community and spreading the Orange feeling to all.

Friendly attraction

At the skate park, we found 19 year-old Kristian Draw of Ipswich, England. Kristian is half Norwegian and half British. He and learned about Roskilde Festival through his friends in Norway, who were raving on about the festival, inspiring him to gather his friends from England for Roskilde Festival this year, thus making this their first year at the festival.

Kristian Draw

Kristian notes that the tickets are cheap compared to other festivals in Europe, especially Norway. Roskilde Festival creates a more inclusive community compared to other festivals Kristian has attended, such as Latitude Festival in England and Sziget Festival in Budapest. He has observed that the age group is very expansive, and music is accessible to all types of people. He also feels that Roskilde caters mostly to the festival goers and works to provide the most rewarding and enjoyable experience for participants.

Peaking at Roskilde Festival

A walk through Dream City led us to a group of boys from Sweden with an incredible tradition. Every summer, these five friends pick one country to conquer in which they climb to the top of the highest point in the country, followed by attending a music festival.

This year they chose Denmark, which led them to Roskilde Festival. They had heard of the festival before, claiming it is very popular among Swedes.

Swedish camp

Alvin Hilmersson noted that there is some difficulty in navigating the festival:

“The language barrier definitely makes it a lot harder to know what’s going on. It would almost be better if the festival organizers wrote everything in English, so more people could understand.”

However, they agreed that most festival goers of various nationalities are willing to speak English.

International bonding over Facebook

After making our way out of Dream City, we came across two international girls, Alice Jennings hailing from England and Shanti Galla from Australia, alongside one Danish volunteer, Seira F. Ybañez, at the City Hall.

Shanti learned about the festival from her stepmother, who is of Danish descent, while Alice Jennings, who has been living in Denmark for six years since moving from England, was influenced through her Danish friends. Alice’s British friends were also interested in going to the festival with a large group of people, so they tagged along with her group. This is the first time at Roskilde Festival for both Shanti, 23, and Alice, 26.

Shanti’s  knowledge of the festival was limited before going into it; instead she went on Facebook and found a group of Australians, Norwegians and Danes willing to make camp, before arriving at the festival. Although she decided to go for the entire eight days, many of her Australian camp mates would be arriving “right before the music started”, as she put it.

Pitstop at the Dream City Post Office

Roskilde Festival also gave us many opportunities to understand how Danish festival goers feel about the International Community at the festival. A stop at the Dream City Post Office allowed us to get an overall feel of the International Presence at Roskilde Festival this year.

Jimmie Torp and Marc Larsen, two members of the Post Office camp, recorded every place that mail has been sent to from the festival so far and shared their observance of the international presence at the festival. Mail has been sent out all across the world – from Ghana to Canada and even Australia. Both Jimmie and Marc have attended  Roskilde Festival many times before, and claimed that they haven’t noticed a significant change in the amount of international attendees.

(left to right) Jimmie Torp, Marc Larsen

Jimmie, who is attending his seventh Roskilde this year, stated that he hardly ever even noticed an international community, and that most non-Danes at Roskilde hail from Scandinavia.

This article was written by our two talented guest authors from the US, Chrissy Santariello and Natasja Cucullo, who visited the Roskilde Festival as part of a course provided by Danish Institute for Study Abroad.                     

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