The Orange Feeling

I'm doing a bit of packing. Just a few items dumped into a big plastic holdall, nothing fancy. Where do you suppose one is going, when packing the following items.....?

Item one: Completely outworn Birkenstocks (they almost went into the bin - but then I thought, nope: I have use for them, for a special occasion!). Next item: old trainers I use for painting, therefore adorned with various colors of paint speckle (also very worn). Sunblock. Cheap, small bumbag. One roll of toilet paper. Small flashlight. Wobbly, but small, wooden folding chair. Baby wipes. Pile of clothes (small) that I don't feel too particular about, well suited for lounging on the (dusty) ground. Solar powered cell phone charger that doesn't work very well. Visa card (most important item).

Yup, you've guessed it - of course.

I've been going to Roskilde on and off, since I was *sixteen. Not every year, far from that, but still I think I've lost count of my many visits. Sometimes I've gone for the whole length of the festival, sometimes just for a day or two. Lately we've taken to camping there again, but for fewer nights and in a very quiet corner.

To me, Roskilde is the festival. We have a load of festivals in Denmark, but I only need this one, and that's how I've always felt. The weather may sometimes disappoint, but to me, this festival never does.

I always came for the music. Even when I was sixteen! I missed out on the crazier aspects of camping life (which is legendary on this festival - with outrageously creative theme camps and wild parties in the camping areas), because that whole culture just didn't exist when I was in my teens and twenties, and now I an waaay to old for that. I need my sleep! 

But I also need the live music. And The Orange Feeling (TM... I think?). It really is very, very special. And the festival has evolved enormously over the years I've known it. 

To me, today, it is a much more interesting place, and a safer place for young kids (even though it is more than twice the size!) - and it's a cleaner, more environmentally conscious place. You can do better, cheaper shopping for the daily necessities (and also for the un-necessities!), get better showers and even swim in a lake! Back when I was sixteen, we had crappy tents, polartec fleece or lightweight raingear weren't invented (and my first festivals were quite rainy). Cash was king, and we never had enough of it. We didn't have cellphones, and sometimes spent half the festival looking for lost friends. Recycling on the festival grounds was limited to glass bottles, so everything paper and plastic were just piled up here and there, and sometimes turned into really stinking bonfires. And, another thing: we didn't really dance (and I love dancing, so much). Dancing was considered a kind of a non-rock'n roll thing to do, and therefore limited to a bit of hopping around, when funk or salsa bands played. But of course we had fun all the same! (Later, in the club crazy nineties, the whole dancing thing really took it's natural place at Roskilde - and now it's here to stay!)

I don't go there for the headliners, really - even though they are interesting, I mean, there is always at least one headliner that make you go woooow, can't wait to see that! But often you are surprised at the outcome. Last year, the headliner I looked forward to the most, was a rather boring concert (Stevie Wonder, one of my biggest, lifelong heroes. But his gig was really dull, I think. Endless singalong-audience-sessions, and one of the most miraculously funky bands in the world, that just never really got to play! Sigh.) On the other hand, a headliner I didn't think I was even going to bother seeing, was the most fantastic experience: Major Lazer created the wildest, happiest, silliest party I have ever witnessed in front of Orange Stage!

I go there to dig for new music - music I haven't heard before, and Roskilde's lineup at the bottom of the poster, with the small print, is always what interests me the most.

Last year I fell completely in love with Connan Mockasin from New Zealand, an artist I had never heard of before Roskilde, and have listened to ever since. Connan, and his very fine band, played one of those unforgettable sun-and-beer-drenched magic afternoon gigs, that only happens in a place like Roskilde. It was glorious. Here he is, from that day (photo credits, anyone?) in his weird fur hat (it was about 28 degrees C. in the tent, and a bit later the band - and most of the audience - took off a lot of clothes!), while his psychedelic, funky guitar gently weeps.

I hope I will have such delightful surprises again this year. Actually, I know I will. Because I really never haven't!

*I was sixteen in 1979. Among the he headliners that year were Jeff Beck and Stanley Clarke (we may have danced a bit that day), reggae legend Peter Tosh, Talking Heads and blues old timer Taj Mahal.

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