Roskilde Festival: Day 1 Roundup

By on Monday, 19th July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Roskilde Festival this year was my first big festival, and everyone who’s heard of it here in America has been like, ‘nooooo, you went to Roskilde? Really?’ (The most humourous/cool? A clerk at the local guitar shop who looked at me incredulous, saying, ‘I just watched a Metallica DVD and there was Roskilde footage on there from ages ago. You were there?’) Yesterday I finally cut my wristband and took it off my right wrist after showing it off, victorious, to friends Friday night. It is now safe in a box with my other festival souvenirs.

It’s been over a week since I got back from Denmark, so I’ve had some chance to reflect on the whole Roskilde experience. Physically the site is much more massive than you can possibly imagine. (Except of course if you’ve been to Glasto, as Roskilde is often referred to as ‘Northern Europe’s Glasto’.) The main festival goes on for 4 days, and at first glance, the schedule does not look all that daunting. But after drinks and walking around a lot for those 4 days, you’d be surprised to find that after a while you get lazy and don’t want to move on to the next band you have circled on the schedule because you can’t find your legs. Somehow I managed 28 bands in 5 days (2 on Wednesday the 30th of June at Pavilion Junior, part of the festival warm-up period before the main event).

The first day was the calm before the storm. I think everyone was at the opening ceremony featuring American punk icon Patti Smith and her guitarist Lenny Kaye, and rightly so, because this being the 40th year of the festival and 10 years on from the horrible accidental deaths of 9 young male punters at Orange Stage during a Pearl Jam set, those lives were celebrated as well as the continuance of the festival for all these years. I didn’t see too many bands the first day because there really weren’t too many bands playing. American emo rockers Paramore was playing at Arena, the second-biggest venue on-site and in the far southeast corner of the property, but after all the trouble of getting to Orange Stage for Patti Smith, I really did not feel like going in that direction, only to have to turn around again.

Instead I headed over to Cosmopol stage to wait for LCD Soundsystem. In the intervening time I caught Electrojuice, a Danish electronic duo, and Tim Sweeney, a New York City DJ signed to James Murphy’s DFA Records label. But it seemed like everyone had come far and wide for LCD Soundsystem. It wasn’t so cramped at the start, but then it got really rammed. This performance on Thursday the 1st of July was just 2 days before they headlined Wireless in London and this as just a taster for Murphy of things to come. At the start he was uneasy by the crowds but soon got into the groove with numbers like ‘Drunk Girls’, ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’, and ‘I Can Change’. Claustrophobia set in and I just had to escape, and escape I did back to Orange Stage, hoping to get a good spot to watch Gorillaz.

After the cut: this review of day 1 continued with more photos.

I was completely mistaken when I thought going an hour before a band was supposed to play was sufficient to get in the queue for the Orange Stage pits. As a result, the entire time I was at Roskilde I never managed to actually get into pits, but I don’t think this was really a loss because I saw far more bands than anyone who queued for these shows. Claustrophobia was worse here, because everyone was packed in like sardines in front of the jumbotrons, and the heat was getting to everyone. (Just like Glasto this year, Roskilde was unusually blazingly hot and sunny.) I watched a couple numbers – ‘Stylo’ with Bobby Womack in tow and ‘On Melancholy Hill’ and some others – but then left to find some place to breathe.

At the recommendation of several ‘famous’ friends prior to leaving, I departed to check out Wild Beasts at Pavilion, the smallest of the five stages. There was enough room where I could get a drink and not bump someone, what a concept. And I have to say, those blokes from Kendal sounded great. While they didn’t have the star power of Gorillaz, they definitely had heart. And we were ‘Hooting and Howling all the way with them. On the way back home, I could hear ‘Sunshine in a Bag’ reverberating as I waited at a bus stop. I wondered to myself, how does anyone sleep at a festival?

Photos:

LCD Soundsystem:

Wild Beasts:

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