Of Mice & Men
The Mo Club, Southampton, UK - 16/4
Roskilde Festival 2005 Part 1Previous Next
author PP date 09/07/05
I don't think the sunny pause in the oh-so-rainy summer of Denmark could have come at a better time than at Roskilde Festival. Eight days of carnage, great bands, flirting and Tuborg beer combined with blue, cloudless skies equals a hell of a good time. Or Harboe beer for those who are either too cheap to buy Tuborg or just simply can't afford buying several cases of it every day. That's right folks, besides being a rock festival, Roskilde is also a beer drinking festival. I'm sure that everyone who attended the festival can remember several if not dozens of trips back and forth between the Tuborg stand - the one where you could buy cases of beer - and their own camps. The Rockfreaks.net camp alone consumed 48 cases of beer, 4 navy shots bottles, 1 Salmari bottle and god knows what else during the festival. Note that we were only about 10 guys in the camp in addition to the 12 girls - and everyone knows that even 12 girls can't drink as much as 1 guy during a festival week.
People come to festivals for different reasons. Some come for the bands only, some for drinking, some for partying, some for the unbelievably relaxed atmosphere, and some even to find love. At Roskilde festival you could definitely find all of these types of people. For instance, a group of Swedish people had parked their tents and their strange Swedish music just across from Camp Cowtits (Rockfreaks.net's camp), and they were definitely the "drinking" type. You could see an adult man walking around all day with a long, pink furred bathrobe, completely fucked at any given time during the festival. We could hear everything from Gothenburg metal to Swedish polka songs. We could see the pink furred man bashing a cd player (an activity that reminded more of mental illness than sanity during mid-festival). We could see him standing in between two empty beer cans set on both sides of him, pissing in front of them right in the middle of the pathway, gurgling some unrecognisable warcries. Nice.
During the "warm up" days (the four days of camping before the Festival area officially opened and bands started playing) there were various free activities people could participate in. You could try some wall climbing sponsored by Roskilde Climber's Club, you could try to take indoor hockey shots against one of the national teams' goalkeepers, or you could drink beers. Beers. Lots of them. That's exactly what the Rockfreaks.net camp was all about. Beer. Hour after hour, day after day we sat in the same chairs, in the same circle, in the same camp in the same position. Curiously enough, this position involved having a beer in one hand and the other hand relaxed on the chair. Three acoustic guitars and one electric guitar assured that well known Oasis songs and other singalongable songs were sung loudly by the 20 or so people during the nights. The beer drinking, which usually started around 11am and went on continuously until bedtime around 3 am, made sure that no one noticed the 'slight' off tuned vocals or the missing lyrics every now and then. The alcohol tolerance of everyone in the camp must have quadrupled by the end of the week as beer seemed to be going down as if it was water. The beer bong became familiar for pretty much everyone in the camp, as did plastic shot glasses containing navy shots.
Of course too much drinking can also be hazardous, which was apparent at around 9-10am every morning. If you walked around the camping areas that early in the morning you could find bodies lying around the grass roughly every ten meters or so. People passed out here, people passed out there, and people sleeping at the strangest places. And speaking of strange places or things, I think that the festival area is probably the center of tent design innovations in the world. We could see standard tents, one man tents resembling tombs, army-style camouflaged tents, tents set up as caves below enormous plastic fabrics, duck taped tents, and god knows what else. But the creativity wasn't limited only into tent designs. Among the different camps I found at least two Camp David's, one Tuborg camp, one "Please Kill Me" camp, about two hundred "show us your boobs and we will give you beer" camps. And don't even get me started on the flags: flags of nearly every single country out there, flags of the Spar supermarket stores, lots of pirate flags, grand prix warning flags, and pretty much any kind of flags one could imagine were fluttering high up in the blue, nearly cloudless sky. Now you might be wondering why would anyone sensible wake up at 9am during a festival when you have no hurry to go anywhere or to do anything. This is where the negative sides of spotless sky and sunshine all day come into play. By 9am each tent that wasn't somehow covered from direct sunlight had turned into an alternative for a sauna. By 10am you would have the same panicked feeling as those people entrapped in a burning room must feel just before the flames would eat them alive. So this left lots of time in the mornings just to go around the festival.
Another issue of going to a festival, is of course personal hygiene. You live in a tent for a week, and certainly can't be bothered to walk all the way to the cold showers every day. Fortunately everyone feels the same way about this issue, so it doesn't bother anyone but yourself. But it really doesn't help the situation when some swedes discover that the hand cleansing gel in the toilet booths contain 88% alcohol. Yes, you've guessed it. They ate it, which resulted in some guy ending up in the hospital, so the festival staff was forced to remove the gel from the booths. At least that was the rumour.
And that's the best part about Roskilde. You see and hear the strangest things, and you meet people so strange, that you just wonder if they hide under rocks during normal daily life. Nobody gives a shit about what other people think of them, and everyone is entirely themselves because of the relaxed atmosphere at the festival. This makes it easier than ever to meet new people from both genders. Everyone is here for one united reason - music. I don't think it's possible to imagine an easier way to start a conversation with someone you've never met before than to ask them "So what bands are you going to see/have you seen?". And then you can talk about that for ages and ages. Personally, I met some of the strangest yet at the same time most interesting people ever during the festival, as well as an awesome girl (Hej Signe <3).
Despite all the good things been said, it's not all roses Roskilde's receiving from me. It is known for being a relatively peaceful festival, but there is always an exception to the rule. there were some exceptions. During the whole week I saw only one real fight breaking out, and that was something to do with the ownership of a beer case as far as I could see (people tend to get very protective over their Tuborgs and I can certainly understand that!). However, some idiots decide to ruin the festival experience by entering the festival only for one reason: stealing. I know of at least two people's tents who had their zippers all closed for the night, and yet in the morning their wallets and mobile phones went missing from their bags that were lying adjacent to them. Also, the bottle collector gypsies pissed me off. These miniature sized, dark haired women with their even smaller sized kids would walk around the festival with their hawk eyes locked on every single bottle, can, cup or anything of any refundable value. On one sense it's a great thing, as it keeps the festival a little bit cleaner, but overall it just destroys the overall image when you see these half broken shopping carts rolling around the grass filled with garbage bags full of bottles and cans.
Overall, the warm up part of the festival was amazing. Those of you who only attended the festival days should definitely think about going there already for the warm-up, because it is at least as good as rest of the festival. It's just so relaxing not having to do anything else than to walk to the Tuborg stand and back every couple of hours or so, and to drink beers with great company during even greater weather.
Written by PP and MS
Part two containing all of the reviews of the bands will be posted in the next few days, so stay tuned.