Repost from Copenhagen or Bust
There is no summer before NorthSide festival. It’s a thing I’ve come to learn every year at the beginning of June, when my (then) city would prepare to host what has grown to be one of Denmark’s greenest festival. From sleep deprived nights, to chaotic shifts and amazing musical experiences, NorthSide festival has been the mark of the beginning of the summer holiday. This year, I visited it once again as a volunteer…
For five years now I’ve been involved in Aarhus’ very own music festival. I’ve seen it grow and with it I, myself, have grown. It all started in 2011, a year after I came to Denmark and since then it has been marking the beginning of the summer holidays. It was a challenge I was willing to accept when the opportunity to run a bar at the new festival hosted by the city of Aarhus arose. Around 15,000 people, some rather solid Danish and international artists and the promise of an extraordinary experience.
It was indeed extraordinary – from the amount of male and female intimate parts resulting from people not being able to hold their bladder because of the limited number of toilets and the outstanding number of drunken beers, to the festival running out of the same beer alongside other alcoholic beverages well before closing time, to crowds trying to find shelter by the bars during the (now) traditional Saturday showers cooling down the audience.
Since then NorthSide became one of the most appreciated festivals in Denmark, and it was sold out in the past three years. From 15,000 guests it now accommodates 30,000 over three days of really good music. And not only music – the food is overwhelmingly organic, their main sponsors produced an exclusive organic beer for the festival last year, it is known to be one of the cleanest festival with a clear focus on sustainability – everything is recycled.
I know it’s not my place to sell the festival – but I’ve got a warm spot for it – I grew with it and every year I’ve been a volunteer, giving away time and experience towards the making of it. It’s far from being perfect – but so are many things these days. Being there made me somewhat melancholic.
A strange feeling of being at home took over while waiting for a concert in front of the Green Stage – the sun was shining as usual and people were laying in the grass, beer in hands. I knew that the night would be long behind the bar, the tablets would probably crash at least once (and they did) and the next day (Saturday) the traditional shower would come. And it did – nothing to do with the prognosis, it just really rained every Saturday at NorthSide since I’ve been there – not quite as this year, but nonetheless… It’s a safe feeling to have – there will be stress, there will be good times, and there will be rain. Kind of like my life in Denmark. Nothing really changed since I came to Copenhagen, and NorthSide remained the same – there to announce the summer, it pretty much marks the opening of the festival season in Denmark, and for me is a reminder that no matter how good you’re doing there’s always place for improvement.
And, of course, this year there was The Black Keys. They rocked. I’ve been hoping to see them “at home” for three years now. I guess third time’s a charm.