Another year of the legendary festival that is Roskilde has come to an end (wellies full of water and a head full of unforgettable memories).
Roskilde 2019 saw 8 days of 130,000 festival-goers and 180 acts make their mark in the Danish city – one of their biggest yet with a proud nod to their boast-worthy sustainable accomplishments and the fact they’re totally non-profit, of course. This year, we went along to the festival to document the best bits and live through the rainy bits, all with the promise to bring you a round-up of plenty of reasons why Roskilde should be on your 2020 list.
The music this year exceeded all expectations with a killer line-up of artists from all over. On the one hand, we had Robyn (Dancing On My Own), the Swedish national treasure, and on the other, we had American rapper Travis Scott blasting out his Astroworld bangers. The UK came in full force with sets from the likes of Skepta, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Noel Gallagher amongst many others. Here are our favourites…
Seeing Skepta do his thing live was just as you’d presume; full of energy with tonnes of guys (and girls) screaming the lyrics back at him. On the Arena stage (our personal favourite), Skepta treated us to a mixture of his material from his 2016 album Konnichiwa and his most recent Ignorance Is Bliss. Drinks were spilt, fun was had.
We’d wanted to see Jon Hopkins perform live for some time now, making his set in the Avalon stage highly-anticipated. And what a show it was.
His psychedelic-electronic mash-up translates just as well live as it does being blasted through your speakers. Serving a combination of his most-loved tracks across his albums (Immunity and Singularity being up there with the best in the business), he gets the crowd hyped with an effortless aura. Hopkins doesn’t need to jump about the stage to make his presence known – there’s a mutual respect that lets the music speak for itself with a little help from top-class production (lasers included).
The US band had the blessing of gracing the Orange (main) stage on one of the sunnier days of the festival – lucky, seeing as the sun is what Vampire Weekend’s music is best suited to.
Lighthearted with subtle beats and melodic tones, Vampire Weekend were a sure hit with the Danish crowd. Performing music from their 2008 self-titled album as well as hits from their most recent album Father of the Bride, it’s safe to say they made Roskilde shine that bit brighter. The A-Punk finale was a moment that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon – can’t beat a classic.
Oh, we do love a bit of Jorja Smith. And, as it turns out, Demark more than love a bit of her; over the whole festival, we didn’t see a crowd react to anyone like they did for her. It was pure madness. They went wild.
Jorja Smith is a British sweetheart who’s been climbing the charts for a while, following her dabbles with Drake, Stormzy, and Kendrick Lemar etc. Performing songs from Lost & Found as well as some vibrant covers, every track was a sing-back guarantee as she floated around the Arena stage projecting that one-in-a-million voice (goosebumps and all). Blue Lights was the highlight for us.
Another British band (also on the Arena stage), Jungle performed on the hottest day of the whole festival, and what an atmosphere that was.
Boasting music from both their albums Jungle and For Ever, they had the crowd dancing to their well-known tracks like Casio, Busy Earnin’ and Heavy California. The London boys know how to put on a show, executing their feel-good music for everyone to latch onto. Their vibe is infectious – if you don’t know, get to know.
Also on the Arena stage (you see why it was our favourite?), Johnny Marr came out to a slightly older (but just as raring) crowd than what we’d seen in the few days before. But that’s ok – if you’re a Smiths fan you wouldn’t want to miss this for the world. We’re certainly glad we didn’t.
In true festival spirit, Marr wowed his audience with songs from his 2018 album Call The Comet including the hits Hi Hello and The Tracers, but many people present were there for one thing – a glimpse of The Smiths that we all know and love. The encore came and the first cords of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out played – needless to say, the whole Arena stage lost their minds (we included). Have you ever heard a song live and thought, ‘yep, that’s me set. I can sleep happy for the rest of my life now’? That was one of those moments for us.
Another Brit act, The Catfish and the Bottlemen, took to the ARENA stage on Saturday (last day) afternoon, and what a show it was.
Perhaps one of the less popular acts in Denmark (their loss was very much our gain), we took front and centre – the only time at the whole festival we were able to do this (side note: the Danish are tall) – to see the spectacle that they are. Coming out with all their hits from The Balcony in 2014 to The Ride in 2016 and The Balance, their 2019 album, the sound and production hit the spot for the last day. Kathleen, 7, Longshot – they were all there, and we were singing. Loud.
Taking to the main stage on Thursday night, Travis Scott was well-worth staying up for (1am is late for us, ok?). The man knows how to put on a show, and he stopped at nothing to get the crowd jumping about and ‘moshing’ song after song (after song).
Playing a load of Astroworld tracks as well as his latest single Highest in the Room, Scott literally had thousands at his feet chanting for more. He’s a true showman.
Turns out Oasis is big pretty much everywhere. Noel did a load of his own tunes, unsurprisingly, including AKA…What A Life! and Holy Mountain, but in true festival spirit (and much to the joy of the hundreds that gathered) he whacked out a couple of Oasis tracks – what a crowd-pleaser. Wonderwall had everyone in song, Don’t Look Back In Anger has everyone in tears and Little by Little was the throwback we’d all been waiting for. It was a round-up of music that we’ve loved for years, a blessing to bear witness.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: this non-profit festival deserves a standing ovation for their dedication to our planet. Run almost entirely from volunteers (there’s a whole village for them!), Roskilde has tricks up their sleeve that are way more advanced than your average gig. From all the different camps where community comes first to their recycle schemes to reduce waste – you even get money back for handing in your empty cups! – Roskilde has put sustainability at the forefront of their message. On top of this, all of the money made from the festival each year is donated to various charities, and it’s been this way since 1972.
Each year trying to better their efforts than the last, we can’t wait to see what they come up with for Roskilde 2020.
Every year, Roskilde promises a more impressive line-up, mixtures of both old school acts and up and coming wonders. We can’t wait to see what next year, their 50th celebration, brings. Keep your eyes peeled on the Roskilde website for the 2020 festival, and make sure you make the trip to Denmark for the festival of a lifetime.