Every year Roskilde Festival attracts many volunteers from around the world. We have met a few of them
With Roskilde Festival being an essential part of Danish summers, many guests seem to hear about the festival from those who have been before. The festival’s status as the largest music festival in Northern Europe also lends itself to being discovered through the release of the headliners.
Per Tore Holmberg, a Norwegian computer engineer had not heard of the festival until 2004 when it was released that David Bowie would be playing on Orange Stage. Once he found out, he knew he had to go and got a group of friends to make the trip down with him that summer. Unfortunately, near the time of the festival, David Bowie had to cancel due to an injury sustained on tour. This lead to Slipknot being booked instead.
Hooked on camp life
Despite not getting to see the artist who made him come, Per has returned every summer over the past 15 years. It was during that first festival that he “just got hooked”, he explained. Though the music may have taken him there in the first place, it was “experiencing camp life and the people” that has been bringing him back year after year. He’s even filmed a documentary about the festival tilted The Roskilde Experience and now works to help promote events at the festival along with Idar, who is also from Norway.
Some choose to take advice from a friend of a friend more seriously than others. Kaliopi who is originally from Bulgaria first heard about Roskilde through a friend of a friend who is Danish. Fast forward three years later and it is now the third time she is volunteering for an Indian food stand called Mumbai.
Other than her love for the food served there she mentions, “It doesn’t feel like work and you get to meet great people.” She looks forward to the festival and keeps coming back to camp with around twenty-eight other volunteers – some Bulgarians, as well as Romanians, Portuguese, and even a handful of Danes.
A mixed group
The existence of Roskilde Festival is a well known fact to those living in Denmark. Raquel, originally from Madrid, Spain and her friends Jana, Maja, and Vanessa illustrate this. The group of friends met while attending school in Denmark, yet have called London, Serbia, and the United States home.
While Raquel has attended Roskilde three times as a paid guest, she chose to try her hand at volunteering this year as a way to “change it up” and try something new. All four of them look forward to living in the cleaner and more quiet volunteer camping area and learning to make burritos as volunteers for Barburrito.
In other cases, coming to Roskilde Festival can be a “spur of the moment” decision. Australian native Noeleen had not intended to go to Denmark, but after hearing about the festival from her Danish friend Cecilie she spontaneously booked her flight. “She reeled me in and I fell for it”, Noeleen jokingly admits. She then goes on to explain that the two met while Cecilie was temporarily living in Sydney Australia, which is where Noeleen still resides.
Though the two have been friends for a while, Roskilde Festival had not come up until only a few weeks ago. Cecilie, along with her friend Mirra were already set to volunteer at one of the Refund Stations and luckily Noeleen was also able to sign up. Now they can enjoy volunteering together, getting away from work and taking in some “fun and sun.”
The Roskilde Festival community
Given Roskilde’s reputation, it is no surprise some volunteers, including Per and Idar, make the commute from surrounding Scandinavian countries such as Norway. While Idar has volunteered for festivals in Norway in the past, he believes Roskilde is unique, “Roskilde Festival is bigger and a place where all Scandinavians can come together.” He especially appreciates the sense of community and belonging that being a volunteer has to offer, such as access to Volunteer Village and a distinguished camping area. After witnessing the magic of Roskilde once before, he particularly loves the freedom that fills the air and how “It’s fun to see how people can live a life they don’t always get to live.”
Having some connection to a Dane seems to attract people from all over the globe to Roskilde Festival. The distinctive atmosphere provides an experience unlike any other. The unique feeling of connectivity between fellow festival-goers and the personal connection one can form with the festival itself speaks louder than any music. The enthusiasm and pride participants have for the festival is at the core of what attracts newcomers to join in the fun. But it is the collective effort of all thirty thousand volunteers, sense of community and the unforgettable orange feeling that keep people coming back every year to help put on another memorable Roskilde Festival.