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Roskilde Festival is held south of Roskildemarker in Denmarkmarker and is one of the five biggest annual rock music festivals in Europe (the other four being the Sziget Festivalmarker, the Glastonbury Festivalmarker, the Paleo Festivalmarker and Rock Werchtermarker). It was created in 1971 by two high school students, Mogens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller, and promoter Carl Fischer. In 1972, the festival was taken over by the Roskilde Foundation, which has since run the festival as a non-profit organisation for development and support of music, culture and humanism.

It is Denmark's first real music-oriented festival, originally for hippies but today it covers more of the mainstream youth from Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Roskilde Festival 2007 had more than 180 performing bands and gathered around 80,000 people paying for the concerts, with more than 21,000 volunteers, 5,000 media people and 3,000 artists — which means almost 110,000 people participated in the festival.

Traditionally the campsite opens the last Sunday of June, which gives the festival guests plenty of time to settle down and "warm up". The festival officially starts the following Thursday at the Animal Showgrounds (in recent years simply known as the "Festival Site") and lasts for 4 days.

Until the mid-1990s the festival attracted mostly Scandinavians, but in recent years it has become more and more international (with an especially large influx of Germansmarker, Australians and Britishmarker). A Scandinavian alternative remained in the Midtfyns Festival, until that closed in 2004 following declining ticket sales.


The bands presented at Roskilde Festival are traditionally a balanced mix of large well known artists in the absolute live elite, cutting-edge artists from all contemporary genres, popular crowd-pleasing acts plus local Scandinavian headliners and up-and-coming names. The special Roskilde feeling is in particular ensured by stages located inside large tents, catering to an enthusiastic music-loving audience. As opposed to most other European festivals all bands play "real" concerts lasting for at least an hour.

The stages were until 2003 named after their colour, but as the names had not matched the actual colour of the tents for a period, it was decided to rename all stages except the Orange Stage, the central and main stage. The Orange Stage is open in front of a huge field, whereas the other tents cover the whole audience, the largest of which is the Arena stage (formerly known as Green Stage), the largest tent in Europe with an official capacity of 17,000 people. The 2007 edition saw two new tents, replacing Ballroom (1997–2006) which presented mainly World music, and Metropol (2003–2006) which presented mainly Electronica.

The music covers such styles as rock, Hip Hop, Metal, urban, electronica and 3rd world contemporary music. It has become a tradition to let an up-and-coming Scandinavian band open the Orange Stage on the first day of the festival. There are often surprising performances by classical acts, film-music, opera etc.

Apart from music there is always some theatre and 'lone acts' wandering around the festival site. Terrain and tents are always decorated in various ways. The current tents are:

Stage name Year introduced Capacity Main genres Replaced
Orange 1978 60,000+ All Big Stage
Arena 2003 17,000 All Green Stage
Cosmopol 2007 6,000 Hip Hop, Electronica, Urban world music Metropol
Odeon 2003 5,000 Mixed, mostly rock-ish Yellow Stage
Astoria 2007 3,000 Singer-songwriters, electronica, experimental, world music Ballroom
Pavilion 2003 2,000 Mixed, mostly rock-ish Blue Stage
Pavilion Junior 2005 2,000 Mixed - only up and coming acts Camp Stage
Lounge Spoken Word, comedy, electronica


The festival campsite covers nearly 80 hectares and access to it is included in the ticket price. It usually opens on Sunday morning prior to the festival itself. Apart from the small and separate Camping South it is divided into two areas, East and West, each comprising a service center with establishments ranging from food stalls to a cinema. The campsite is further divided into 'agoras' that provide toilets, cell phone charging and luggage storage. They also host events according to each agora's theme: dance, skate, swim etc.

Over the most recent years, the opening of the campsite has turned into an event of its own, as getting an attractive place for your tent seems to be increasingly important to people. And this has only been increased by the fact that large areas of the campsite each year is turned into gravel pits.

Thousands of people arrive during Saturday (some even arrive several days before), to wait (and party) in the queue until Sunday morning at 8 a.m. when the gates to the campsite officially open. Due to this, the festival has introduced temporary transit areas (in both East and West), making it possible to let all these thousands of people get in at the same time. The last couple of years the fences around the transit areas has been knocked down several hours ahead of official opening by festival guests eager to get the spot for their tent that they have in advance thoroughly planned to get.

In recent years the fences into the camping site have been overrun earlier than the official opening. This is called "Væltning af hegnet" (The overturning of the fence). The festival has improved security at the fences up until the festival, but without success. Thus the camping side was overrun at around 4:30 in 2008 and, even though new steps were taken to prevent this, at Saturday around 21:00 in 2009.


Apart from the coverage in everyday media an event of this size gets, Roskilde Festival also has its own media: A newspaper with 1 daily issue and a radio station broadcasting 24/7 throughout the entire festival, including the initial "warm up" days. Besides playing music and reporting from the concerts and campsite, the festival radio also hosts the annual Naked Run, with a ticket for next years festival at stake. The rules are simple: You have to be the first to cross the finishing line, and you have to be naked. Through the last couple of years, as an attempt to attract other than male contestants, the rules have been changed, so that the first female to cross the line also gets a ticket.

2000 accident

During Pearl Jam's concert at the Orange Stage in 2000, a violent accident occurred. Nine people died in front of the stage. The exact conditions as to how they died have been examined by both the police and the public prosecutor and at subsequent civil trials - the conclusion of these determines that it was an accident. Many people fell down, which often happens at big concerts, but at one place they did not get up again. Some crowdsurfers fell into this "hole" and are believed to have been factors of the event turning wrong (crowdsurfing was subsequently forbidden across most of Europe). The people at the bottom died of suffocation. When the security guards in front of the stage got to the area after the music had been stopped it was too late. In the following year, the accident led to massive changes with regards to safety to avoid similar situations - not just at Roskilde Festival, the security conditions for festivals everywhere in Europe changed. Before the accident in 2000, Roskilde Festival was considered one of the safest festivals, and yet the accident happened there. Many other festivals have smaller safety systems than Roskilde Festival and revised their procedures even further. For instance, Glastonbury Festival in England chose to cancel its festival in 2001 to have enough time to reorganize the safety planning since the festival in 2000 was not at all at level with Roskilde Festival. Each year Roskilde Festival makes an extensive health and safety assessment which the festival is executed on the basis of. The accident at the Orange Stage led to the construction of a memorial grove with a stone with the inscription "How fragile we are" surrounded by nine trees.

Pearl Jam's song "Love Boat Captain" references the tragedy with the line "Lost nine friends we'll never know... two years ago today." When performed in concert, Vedder modifies the lyric to reflect the passage of time since the tragedy (as of 2009, the lyric is "9 years ago today").

Festival by year

# Year Dates Guests Main artists Ticket price
01 1971 28.–29. August 10,000 Strawbs, Gasolin', Mick Softley & Sebastian 30 kr.
02 1972 30. June–2. July 15,000 The Kinks, Sha Na Na & Family 40 kr.
03 1973 29. June–1. July 15,000 Canned Heat, Gasolin' & Fairport Convention
04 1974 28.–30. June 21,500 Status Quo, Incredible String Band, Savage Rose & Camel 55 kr.
05 1975 27.–29. June 26,000 Ravi Shankar, Focus, Mickey Baker & Procol Harum
06 1976 2.–4. July 32,500 Weather Report, Steeleye Span & Dr. Hook 60 kr.
07 1977 1.–3. July 31,000 The Chieftains, John Miles, Ian Gillan Band & Dr. Feelgood
08 1978 30. June–2. July 36,500 Bob Marley and The Wailers, Dave Swarbrick & Elvis Costello 100 kr/120 kr.
09 1979 29. June–1. July 40,000 Jeff Beck & Stanley Clarke, Talking Heads & Taj Mahal 110 kr/130 kr.
10 1980 27.–29. June 50,100 Santana, Joan Armatrading, Dan Ar Bras & Steel Pulse
11 1981 26.–28. June 51,500 Ian Dury, Robert Palmer, UB40, Toots & the Maytals & Saga
12 1982 2.–4. July 57,500 U2, Mike Oldfield, Osibisa & Jackson Browne 170 kr./190 kr.
13 1983 1.–3. July 60,600 Simple Minds, 10cc, Southside Johnny & King Sunny Adé 200 kr./225 kr.
14 1984 29. June–1. July 64,800 Lou Reed, Paul Young, The Band, The Smiths & Björn Afzelius
15 1985 28.–30. June 53,500 Leonard Cohen, Paul Young, Ramones, The Clash & The Cure
16 1986 4.–6. July 56,900 Eric Clapton, Metallica, Phil Collins, Madness & Elvis Costello
17 1987 3.–5. July 58,700 Iggy Pop, Europe, The Pretenders, Van Morrison & Sonic Youth
18 1988 30. June–3. July 62,100 Sting, INXS, Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen & Toto
19 1989 30. June–2. July 56,300 Elvis Costello, Joe Cocker & Katrina & The Waves
20 1990 28. June–1. July 70,600 Bob Dylan, The Cure, Midnight Oil & Sinéad O'Connor
21 1991 27.–30. June 60,500 Iron Maiden, Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, Allman Brothers Band & Paul Simon
22 1992 25.–28. June 64,500 Nirvana, Megadeth, Texas, Pearl Jam, Faith No More & David Byrne
23 1993 1.–4. July 76,500 Ray Charles, Velvet Underground & Bad Religion
24 1994 30. June–3. July 90,000 Aerosmith, Rage Against the Machine, ZZ Top & Peter Gabriel
25 1995 29. June–2. July 111,000 R.E.M., Elvis Costello, The Cure, Suede, Van Halen & Oasis
26 1996 27.–30. June 115,000 Sex Pistols, David Bowie, No Doubt & Rage Against the Machine 700 kr.
27 1997 26.–29. June 115,000 Phish, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Erasure
28 1998 25.–28. June 100,000 Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop & Kraftwerk
29 1999 1.–4. July 96,000 R.E.M., Metallica, Suede, Robbie Williams & Marilyn Manson
30 2000 25. June–2. July 102,000 Oasis, Junoon, Nine Inch Nails, Lou Reed, Pearl Jam & Iron Maiden 860 kr.
31 2001 24. June–1. July 92,000 Robbie Williams, Bob Dylan, Tool & Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
32 2002 23.–30. June 100,000 Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rammstein & Pet Shop Boys 950 kr.
33 2003 22.–29. June 107,000 Björk, Metallica, Coldplay, Massive Attack, Blur & Iron Maiden 1050 kr./1150 kr.
34 2004 27. June–4. July 106,000 Santana, KoRn, Avril Lavigne, Muse, N*E*R*D, Wu-Tang Clan, Slipknot & Iggy Pop 1050 kr./1150 kr.
35 2005 26. June–3. July 97,000 Black Sabbath, Green Day, Duran Duran, Audioslave, Foo Fighters, Brian Wilson & Interpol 1250 kr.
36 2006 25. June–2. July 110,000 Bob Dylan, Guns N' Roses, Tool, Kanye West, Magtens Korridorer & Roger Waters 1350 kr.
37 2007 1.–8. July 110,000 The Who, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tiesto, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age & Björk 1475 kr.
38 2008 29. June–6. July 90,000 Radiohead, Grinderman, Neil Young, Judas Priest, The Chemical Brothers, Kings of Leon, Slayer & Jay-Z 1650 kr.
39 2009 28. June–5. July 110,000 Coldplay, Pet Shop Boys, Slipknot, Oasis, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Trentemøller & Faith No More 1785 kr.
40 2009 27. June–4. July N/A NOFX 1675 kr.

Specific years


Sunny. Shows by bands such as Metallica, Blur, Electric Eel Shock, Coldplay, Björk, Massive Attack, The Streets, Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, Urlaub In Polen, Interpol and 150 more.

Orange Scene in 2004


Rain. The 2004 festival featured artists such as Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Santana, Korn, Pixies, Fatboy Slim, Wu-Tang Clan and Morrissey. David Bowie was scheduled to play at Roskilde 2004 but cancelled due to heart problems, with a notice on his website. Instead, Slipknot, who were on tour in Europe, filled the spot.


The 2005 edition featured artists such as Audioslave, Autechre, Snoop Dogg, Black Sabbath, D-A-D, Duran Duran, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Brian Wilson, Fantômas, Kent, Sonic Youth, Interpol and more than 160 other bands and DJs. This year was also a huge contrast to the previous year on the weather front. Hot and sunny all week.


Roskilde Festival 2006 - Kaizers Orchestra on Orange Stage

With more than 79,000 paying visitors (as well as approximately 20 000 volunteer day workers), the 2006 festival was the biggest in Europe for the year. With only one day of rain and the rest of the week being sunny, this festival also ranks as one with lucky weather conditions. Changes from the previous year included a new swimming lake - which proved to be very successful due to the warm and sunny weather - and a lounge stage called Bar'n. Some of the performing artists were Bob Dylan, Immortal Technique, Roger Waters, Guns N' Roses, Tool, The Strokes, Deftones, Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, Kanye West, Placebo, Bullet For My Valentine, Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Rós and The Streets. Danish band Magtens Korridorer opened Orange Stage.


Roskilde Festival 2007 turned out to be the wettest one yet, by a rather large margin.Approximately 95 mm of rain fell during the course of the festival, as opposed to 44 mm in 1997, which was the wettest before 2007. Thursday was a day consisting only of rain, ending up with a lot of guests returning from the concerts to find their tents flooded. The organisers stated that it seemed that most of the people who left returned later on enjoyed a somewhat mixed weather experience Friday, and mostly dry, but a bit windy and chilly days on Saturday and Sunday.

The full programme was released on April 19, 2007, and included bands such as Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Björk, Beastie Boys, My Chemical Romance, Arctic Monkeys, The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers and Tiësto. Danish band Volbeat opened Orange Stage.

Also danish rock band Nephew played at Orange Stage at the 07th of July. This concert was later released as a live CD/DVD named 07.07.07 - this referring to the date of the concert. Danish rapper L.O.C featured in the concert, where they also mixed their songs with other songs, e.g. singing a line from Rammstein's Amerika in the song USA DSB, and singing an Ace of Base chorus as a part of Movieclip.


Roskilde Festival 2008 was dry with the exception of a 10 minute shower on Saturday July 05 and rain that started around 22:00 on Sunday July 06. The sun shone for the rest of the festival.

The full programme was released on April 16, 2008, and included The Chemical Brothers, Band of Horses, Duffy, Kings of Leon, Neil Young, Radiohead, Grinderman, My Bloody Valentine, Gnarls Barkley, Girl Talk, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Streets, Judas Priest, Slayer, Tina Dickow, and the The Hellacopters.


Roskilde Festival 2009 was the hottest in 33 years according to the festival newspaper Orange Press. The festival was hit by a major cancellation, when rapper Lil Wayne had to cancel due to sickness. He was replaced by Gogol Bordello who played the only 6 starred concert at the festival. Orange stage was opened by Swedish rapper Petter, who had prominent visitors on stage such as Dee Pee from Rockers by Choise and L.O.C, who was on Orange stage for the third year running (featuring on Nephew's Hospital in 2007, and his own concert in 2008). Petter has been called a failure for this concert, because he wasn't able to get a full crowd, and the opening of Orange has to be big.Nine Inch Nails played at Orange Stage friday night at 01.00am - 03.00am and gave what several Danish newspapers called "the best concert of Roskilde '09". Nine Inch Nails were on "Wave Goodbye"-tour and will most likely never visit Denmark again.Roskilde '09 also meant the anticipated return of the Danish hip-hop group Malk de Koijn, who played a 2 hour concert the night between Saturday and Sunday at Arena, and a big party-atmosphere at Orange Stage Thursday night, when Trentemøller and prominent guests made all of the crowd dance as if they were clubbing.Danish rapper Jooks played as an up and coming act at Pavilion Junior Wednesday in the warm up days, and due to him having a major hit after he was booked (Hun vil ha' en rapper), the tent was packed to the limit in a concert, who could easily have filled one of the bigger stages.

Other big names were: Kanye West, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Oasis, Coldplay, Faith No More, Volbeat, Slipknot, Lily Allen and Pet Shop Boys.

Notes and references

External links

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