Student Blog: Roskilde Festival

roskilde2Nearly a month ago, I had a chance to visit the iconic Roskilde Festival in Denmark. The week was a terrific ending for my first year - a perfect displacement from my usual surroundings in Oxford and in my home town Helsinki. It was a week filled with music, art and survival in a tent, adorned with the Danish culture. In three words I can summarise the trip: spontaneous, memorable and exciting. I would like to thank the Annual Fund committee for making this experience possible.

Roskilde is an institution for the Danes. Some people have attended the festival for decades, passing on the tradition to their kids. Even some Finns have adopted this tradition. One of our travel companions had been to Roskilde seven times at his early twenties, following his parents’ footsteps. I cannot blame those who go back. Not only were the acts and activities in the festival amazing, the event was also impeccably organized. Altogether, 100 000 tickets were sold to the festival in addition to the 30 000 volunteers, who make the festival possible. Considering this vast amount of people packed in the same area, one would assume that queues and chaos are bound to happen. Yet, we barely queued anywhere and those nightmarish images of camping in puddles of mud and people getting squashed on gigs were hardly true. Roskilde has truly worked for perfecting their festival over those forty years it has taken place. The organization of Roskilde festival is something that even organizational theorists could learn a lot from, all the way from incentivizing workforce to creating a pleasurable atmosphere.

The great operations made the festival an enjoyable experience, but the acts and activities in the campsite and the festival were what made Roskilde memorable. In total, I attended eight whole concerts and enjoyed quite a bit of music from the distance. World class acts ranging from veterans such as Neil Young to likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the young Danish sensation ‎ were unforgettable acts. But Roskilde offers so much more than just its top music performances. I am extremely disappointed to have missed Edward Snowden’s exclusive talk about equality and human rights that they aired at Roskilde before we had arrived. Especially, because the other activities we did were great. Roskilde presents world class graffiti artists’ works, an art form that I have usually neglected. In addition, we had a chance to use our creative minds in something called “Maker”, where we designed and executed a t-shirt print. Next time I may try making a speaker, too. Also the food was delicious, and there was a lot to choose from. Something worth mentioning is that Roskilde has a very special culture in the campsite. The camp never sleeps, and some people invest tens of thousands of euros in speakers and such to make their campsite special. Some capture the culture in Roskilde with the expression “orange feeling”.

Also the journey from Finland to the festival site in Roskilde was memorable indeed. We trekked through Sweden to Denmark, at total of fourteen-hour bus ride on top of an overnight boat trip from Finland to Sweden. We got to practice a bit of our Swedish and see a whole lot of Swedish highway. The coast of the Vättern lake was beautiful, which made sitting in the bus for hours on end slightly better. We travelled with a bunch of Finnish festival goers, a group of true characters. For instance, our trip leader told us how he once bought a truck from Alaska and had to drive it down to Vancouver – not to mention this event was made into a documentary film by a Finnish director.

We also visited Copenhagen, which is one of my favourite European cities as the sleek and minimalistic Danish style and design is easy on the eye. Somehow Copenhagen manages to be very similar to my home town Helsinki, yet it has a completely different feeling in it. I wish we could have stayed in Copenhagen for longer than the brief visit we made in the middle of the festival.

Without the Brasenose College Annual Fund, it would have taken years for me to visit Roskilde for the first time. Now that I know what an excellent event it is, I have so many years ahead to enjoy Roskilde time and time again.

Aini Putkonen – 1st year Economics & Management student (pictured left in photo)

The Brasenose Annual Fund exists to fund student research, extracurricular activities, and educational and personal development.

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