By Mathias Nielsen

Roskilde Festival stands out from other large Danish festivals by donating the entire proceeds to charitable causes. But in a survey, slightly more than one in four festivalgoers is indifferent.

When you pressed ‘purchase’, did you consider the fact that a dash of the 1965 DKK you paid for your ticket will go to charity? For one in four festivalgoers, this makes no difference. That is the result of a non-representative survey that 339 festivalgoers have completed.

This is despite the fact that Roskilde Festival donated 26 million DKK to worthy causes last year and has used the words ‘Non Profit Since 1972’ as a central part of its branding, on everything from posters to festival wristbands.

“I know that the festival gives a portion to charity, but it isn’t something that means a lot to me. At least, that’s not why I come here,” says Astrid, who we spoke to on Tuesday as she was packing her sleeping bag and canned mackerel.

“For me, it’s more about having fun and listening to music,” she says.

The participants in the survey were asked to place themselves on a scale from one to six, based on how important they consider Roskilde Festival’s charitable work. 27 per cent placed themselves on one or two, 42 per cent on three or four, and the remaining 31 per cent on five or six.

That tolerance and openness to others that you find on the festival, it stems from the whole non-profit idea. I don’t believe people think that those values are unimportant

The festival’s cornerstone

It irks Christina Bilde, spokeswoman for Roskilde Festival, that so many of the festivalgoers are indifferent to the festival’s non-profit character. Nevertheless, she believes that the charitable work is part of the consciousness of the festivalgoers, and a reason for why they return.

“That tolerance and openness to others that you find on the festival, it stems from the whole non-profit idea. I don’t believe people think that those values are unimportant,” she says.

Charity and Roskilde Festival
Every year, Roskilde Festival donates its entire proceeds to charitable purposes.

Last year’s festival gave a record-breaking 26.7 million DKK profit. Great weather, sell-out, and a cheap clean-up made the 2014 festival a more profitable business than ever before.

Roskilde Festival has donated about 196 million DKK to charity since 1971.

This year’s profits will go to the organisation Headspace and the Danish Refugee Council’s youth division, amongst others.

Reflects society

The attitude towards Roskilde Festival’s non-profit concept mirrors the world outside the Inner Festival Area, according to Per Østergaard Jacobsen, external lecturer at the Copenhagen Business School. He has researched Danish attitudes to charity, and is currently collecting and analysing data from this year’s festival.

“About 29 per cent of the population does not support charity, so the numbers match. It could of course be the case that people answer more politically correct than what they really believe, but I would judge this to be fairly accurate,” he says.

 

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