There’s a sanguine cliché about music festivals: They’re, greater than the songs themselves, about gathering the plenty, unbiased of backgrounds, collectively to worship at a common sonic temple. Within the storied historical past of festivals, we’d wish to consider the adage holds true – that even within the age of larger and higher, communal campgrounds ship on a promise to impress the collective unconscious. Our actuality is far more bleak. At present, these features have grow to be a dime a dozen. Much less a Dionysian playground and extra an Influencer’s ticket to scoring these coveted Instagram factors. On this degradation, it appears, we’ve misplaced the plot. Which has, on a couple of event, begged this author to wonder if the music died together with that dastardly trendy Moloch, consumerism.
After all, it’s simple to criticize from behind the keyboard. Quite than be an Web Vigilante combating for the message within the music, I put my cash the place my mouth is. I set my sights on a pageant that demanded my consideration in an particularly twisted means solely a seasoned millennial memelord with a dusty outdated soul might be gripped, with simply 4 phrases: “Bob Dylan” and “Cardi B.” Whereas the irony of this matchup was by no means misplaced on me in the middle of 4 days at Roskilde 2019, the tip end result was a lot much less a cosmic joke dripping in incongruity, and extra an effervescent instance of what music festivals in the present day have to goal for — inclusive environments striving to make a distinction, constructed with inventive expression and, sure, music at their cores.
Roskilde Crowd, picture by Preston Drake
In 2019, Roskilde introduced they’d partnered with Freemuse, an unbiased worldwide group working to defend inventive expression, to launch Inventive Freedom Defenders. With this new initiative, Roskilde and Freemuse search to create a community of entry for artists, activists, professionals, college students, and everybody in between. This message, I’d quickly discover out, was imbued in each nook of Roskilde.
Roskilde Crowd, picture by Kim Matthai Leyland
The Calm Earlier than the Storm: Strolling into the pageant ghost city on Wednesday, a lightweight chill whipped round Denmark’s fourth largest metropolis (if just for one week). The wind’s chunk appeared to get up a pageant whose occasion had already began. Hordes of younger folks fill Roskilde’s campsites days previous to the large day to listen to nationwide acts, really feel a way of neighborhood, and, in fact, have a rattling good time. I’d heard it mentioned that Roskilde is Europe’s finest stored occasion secret. Effectively, secret’s out.
Roskilde Crowd, picture by Roskilde
Heeding the recommendation of an outdated Roskilde professional, I positioned myself behind the primary pageant gate to look at as folks amassed, ready ever so patiently for the clock to strike, the gate to open, and the video games to start. Positive sufficient, they did — right into a triumphant flood of diehards and pearl divers aching for that particular one thing they’d hopefully uncover within the days to come back.
Roskilde Crowd, picture by Kim Matthai Leyland
Issues Have Modified: As the primary hours ticked by, Maggie Rogers, draped in fringe, started the day as she is wont to do — inciting a pop-perfect dance occasion punctuated by spotless renditions of her debut album’s standouts, like “Gentle On” and “Fallingwater”. It was strolling away from this crowd, listening to the excited chatter amongst pageant goers that a Roskilde truism struck me: Right here, regardless of my preliminary revelry in a lineup all too good to be true, no two acts are pitted in opposition to one another within the hearts and minds of listeners. You aren’t both a Bob Dylan or Cardi B fan. Roskilde gave us a move to be unabashedly each, collectively. Except, in fact, you had been Bob Dylan, who wasn’t fairly taking the bait.
Maggie Rogers, by Peter Troest
Maybe it was the lots of flippantly chanting his identify to the tune of Bob the Builder, however the charms of the pageant circuit appear to have been misplaced on one among folks’s best heroes. The end result? A stoic entrance trailed by the thunderous piano of “Issues Have Modified”. A becoming sentiment. With out a lot as a breath, Mr. Tambourine Man himself launched right into a howling rendition of “It Ain’t Me Babe”, solely to weave a tangled net of again catalog tunes and traditional jams that will as nicely have come off a Rolling Thunder bootleg. Seven songs in, Dylan had seemingly shed his awkward shroud with a poignant efficiency of “Make You Really feel My Love” festivalgoers would proceed to speak about within the days to come back.
Bob Dylan, picture by Roskilde
Because the solar set on Dylan’s Orange Stage residency, the gang rapidly started to prepared themselves for Cardi B regardless of the hours wait. Recent off a small run of canceled tour dates, Cardi B served as the best foil to Dylan not solely in ethos however in efficiency. The rapper of the second delivered the kind of high-energy set one would count on. Cardi got here to entertain, and entertain she did. Flanked by Cardi clones, the rapper delivered a vivacious slew of rhymes from “Get Up 10″ and “Cash Bag” to “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It”. What the Invasion of Privateness mastermind lacked at occasions in supply, she greater than compensated for with power. Hell, we even beloved that she repeatedly referred to Denmark as Denver with that signature Bardigang attraction.
Cardi B, picture by way of Roskilde
A Completely different Type of July 4th Spark: Being an American overseas is a merry-go-round of pathetic and schmaltzy emotion. Straddle the glimmering porcelain saddle, let the carnie music start, and understand all too out of the blue that you simply’re perched on nothing greater than low cost plastic. Disgrace and sheepishness meet you on the lows, ephemeral exhilaration and tawdry elitism on the highs. Being an American overseas on the Fourth of July? Barely extra morose. This sentiment was echoed within the units of stateside residents who used their platform to talk out in full drive. Julien Baker denounced the vacation as an egregious celebration of imperialism earlier than swaddling my dejected soul in her signature sorrowful soundwaves. Sharon Van Etten, for her half went one additional.
Julien Baker, picture by Christian Hjorth
Stepping out to a full crowd on the Avalon stage, the indie rock legend dellivered a harrowing run down of hits soaked in a sticky, viscous melancholy she’d run via her fingertips for all 50 minutes. But it wasn’t the drive with which she delivered “Jupiter four”, “Comeback Child”, and even Tune of the 12 months “Seventeen” that stood forward of all the remainder, however the pause Van Etten took in the course of her set to sit down behind the ivories, denounce Donald Trump, and give up utterly to a canopy of Sinead O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds” that noticed her seldomly search for from the instrument. You see, when Sharon Van Etten seems you within the eye, it stops you in your tracks — an completely intoxicating switch of thoughts, physique, and soul that refuses to allow you to look away till the notice has completed. When Sharon Van Eetten refuses to provide you even momentary look, it’s all the extra paralyzing.
Sharon Van Etten, picture by Christian Hjorth
Carbon Copy: To the shock of completely nobody, Vampire Weekend gifted followers an indulgent roster of latest and outdated classics (“Concord Corridor’, “Diane Younger”, “Cousins”, and “A-Punk”, anybody?). Ezra Koenig seamlessly nailed each notice and Messainic hand gesture alongside the way in which. To some, this ease with which these dwelling legends espouse their instructing may merely be written off as one other lackadaisical notch on the belt of seasoned veterans. That’s, except you utterly miss Brian Robert Jones slice into the very fiber of your being with the face-melting, speaker-razzing guitar on “Sunflower” and “Sympathy”. Ultimately, Koenig and co. hit the nail on the top with their spare, soul-stirring “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin”. What does existence as a part of an entity bigger than oneself imply? Ask Ezra, or perhaps attend Roskilde 2020.
Not Precisely Dancing on My Personal: At music festivals as in on a regular basis life, as soon as Friday rolls round, we’ve nearly had sufficient. Oh, and we’re prepared to bounce. As such, Robyn ascending onto the Orange Stage on the apex of the night was a textbook case of “proper place, proper time”. What’s extra, Sweden’s most revered dance-hit darling exceeded the already supremely lofty expectations of viewers and (particularly this) critic alike. Cloaked in ethereal smoke and encircled by thick, snowy, white sculptures, Robyn stared straight down the barrel at some 130,000 folks to ship renditions of “Ship to Robyn Instantly” and “Honey” that left us all in awe. As rapidly as she had taken up the persona of an imposing pop monolith, she let it go, the euphoria set in, and her extra club-leaning classics like “Dancing on My Personal” and “Name Your Girlfriend” reminded us we had been amongst household. The standout right here? A convincing sing-along to “Dancing on My Personal” that left even probably the most skeptical of us dumbstruck.
Robyn, picture by Christian Hjorth
Better of the Tiny Fonts: Love Notice to Gloria: The final consensus amongst Roskilde veterans is when doubtful, go to Gloria. A stage with a singular repute for a rotation of cutting-edge expertise it’s essential to know. Not a single set on the festivals solely indoor venue disillusioned, from Consequence of Sound favourite Stella Donnelly’s acerbic but charming center finger within the face of poisonous masculinity to Madame Ghandi’s sensational and immersive feminist lyricism. Hmmm, we see a pattern right here…
Madame Gandhi, picture by Jacob Shjorring Jensen
It’s Saturday, I’m Nonetheless in Love: Whereas Roskilde’s 49th installment would proceed till early hours of the morning, The Treatment’s wonderful 27-song set was endgame. There are fleeting moments in life that provide the sense you’re dwelling historical past. Robert Smith’s triumphant return to Roskilde is a kind of. Endlessly married to his melancholy however promoting it like scorching desserts, these not-so-merry purveyors of goth-rock wrapped, riff by riff, an icy, white claw round our hearts, squeezing ever so slowly with every tune till our blood had run dry. From “A Forest” to “Footage of You” to “Near Me”, The Treatment allow us to in on a secret: There is no such thing as a twilight to their profession. By the point these legends rolled round to “Friday, I’m in Love” the physique rely had skyrocketed. All of us sat at Robert Smith’s ft in a saccharine, sorrowful give up.
The Treatment, picture by Kim Matthai Leyland
Leaving the Pageant: By the point the pageant’s curtain had closed, regardless of the exhaustion and uncooked ft, there was, in true Roskilde style, a lingering “orange feeling.” If Roskilde 2019 is remembered for one factor, let or not it’s this: An art-first (oft female-first) protected area for talking out about injustice on each stage in phrase or in tune that unites us all in pondering that perhaps there’s hope for a brighter (oranger?) tomorrow.
Roskilde Crowd, picture by Nicolai Vilhelmsen