Roskilde Festival Day 1 & 2: Review

Some people have a tendency to get stuck in things and can’t let go whether it’s gaming addicts, being a philatelist, or collecting Star Wars figures from the early 80s. I also got addicted after going to the Roskilde Festival in 1992 because I just had to see Pearl Jam for the first time. I remember it like it was yesterday; I graduated from the Swedish gymnasium school (10th to 12th grade) a few weeks before the festival and had spent all my money on buying a ticket to Sweden’s biggest (and only) festival at the time, the Hultsfred Festival, and then I read OKEJ Magazine (no, we didn’t have the Interwebz back then) and found out that Pearl Jam were popping by the Roskilde Festival. Luckily, my dad was a huge music fan and one of the biggest Jimi Hendrix collectors in Sweden at the time, and on my graduation day he said, ‘Yeah, we thought you didn’t want a stupid watch or a gold chain (popular at the time) anyway so I bought you a ticket to the Roskilde Festival’. Still the best gift I’ve ever got. From that festival, it has been a very long love affair, and here I am at my 31st festival (should have been 33 if it wasn’t for the pandemic) and still building up the same type of expectations I did 32 years ago.

A lot has changed over the years, but most is the same and I’m quite sure it’s the familiarity I’m looking for, to feel like ‘I’m home’.  This year we packed our bags and left already the day before the gates opened just to get into the festival feeling when having a night off at a hotel in Roskilde city, waking up in the morning, having breakfast, and the last civilized shower in nine days before setting off to ground zero – the festival area – and raise our tents. Perfect weather, +24 degrees, blue skies and although I should be super experienced by now I never even thought about putting on sunblock. Strike one, day 2 started with terrible pains (I’ll get back to that later).

Photographer Villas Hartvig

We were done super early and had raised our tents and absorbed a 12pack of beers when the clock hit noon, and after a quick detour to the media center to hand in the gear, we were back waiting for the rest to arrive. Unlike the last years, we decided to move house and not stay at the media camp to be part of the Roskilde atmosphere, the so-called Orange Feeling. So, this year we were back with our friends in Camp Vienna United, a camp made up of mostly Germans, a few Americans and Swedes, a stray Dane, a Czech dude but no Austrians (it’s a very long story but it used to be Austrians in the camp). Six hours later, almost everyone had arrived and the first night of the shenanigans started. As there weren’t any gigs on Saturday we did like almost everyone at the campsite and went to watch Denmark vs. Germany in Euro 2024 in football, but one screen and 30 000 people made it an impossible mission to catch even a glimpse of the game. Luckily, I found a former work colleague who was up for drinks and a few frozen margaritas later we didn’t care about the game anyway (or the sun which burned my skin really bad). That was day one, a perfect start of Roskilde Festival 2024 and after a very early morning, a long day, and too many beers it was time for bed around 3am.

Photographer Jacob Fredegaard Hansen

Waking up at 8 am on day two wasn’t fun at all. It suddenly occurred to me that age combined with very heavy bags had taken its toll on my back and I couldn’t move at all. After a visit to the sick bay, it was clear that I’d pulled a muscle in my back and couldn’t bend over (putting on my pants and shoes was an effort), and I booked a time with a chiropractor in Roskilde City, and she did wonders to my back. And then there was the pain from a massive sunburn. You don’t need to know all the details but every move was painful. And as day two was the opposite of the first day it was cold and rained meaning I had to out in my jeans, model skinny, which was horribly painful as my calves were burned beyond the color of red. Maybe I’ve learned my lesson at the age of 50, maybe. The first day was amazing, the second day was just painful. I slept off some pain in the back and put on cooling aloe vera for the sunburn, and instead of joining a second day of beer party, I left to watch bands. 

I didn’t have anything on my schedule the first gig day but thought it would be better to distract me from the pain, and I ended up at Boko Yout, a band I never heard anything about before – and it was amazing! Frontman Paul Adamah was an awesome performer and got the audience on his side from the first song. the band play a very interesting combination of afro-funk and grunge which Adamah apparently calls it Afro-Grunge – and that was how it sounded. The first two songs were two fantastic grunge pieces before they calmed down and turned in the direction of afro-funk. But it never calmed down because Adamah taught the audience how to dance while singing a few pieces of lyrics. Keep an eye on this band peeps, they deserve bigger stages and audiences and already have the show for it.

A few minutes after Yoko Bout ended I was off to the EOS stage to watch Norwegian artist Ramón. Sorry, not my stuff at all. I will however give him credit for a very good performance with a choreographed dance crew, but you will never find this type of pop music in my collection. I didn’t get any goosebumps and left for a beer with friends, and some social media coverage of Dream City later, I went back to bed to sleep off more of my back pains and the sunburn. Fun vs. pain: 1-1 so far.


Cover photo: Roskilde official

About J.N.

Music researcher with an unhealthy passion for music and music festivals. Former studio owner, semi-functional drummer and with a fairly good collection of old analogue synthesizers from the 70's. Indie rock, post rock, electronic/industrial and drum & bass (kind of a mix, yeah?) are usual stuff in my playlists but everything that sounds good will fit in.