Nine days of music, festival atmosphere and thousands of happy people – Roskilde Festival 2022

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Nine days of lots of music, a great festival atmosphere and thousands of happy people, 167,289 steps, 10 concerts as Crowd Safety hosts, 28 bird species and a hint of Tour de France. Three of the best concerts were The Smile, St. Vincent and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.

That was the overall status after nine fantastic days at Roskilde Festival 2022, which this year celebrated festival number 50 – Fifty Times!

Roskilde Festival nr. 50 er åbnet! Roskilde Festival 2022.
You have to run fast if you want the ‘best’ place. Roskilde Festival no. 50 has opened! Roskilde Festival 2022.
Finally festival!

Actually, it wasn’t the plan that we should take part in Roskilde Festival in 2022. ‘Why not?’ – ‘Don’t you usually go?’ Yes, we do – read e.g. The Orange Feeling and Dust and music.

We hesitated far too long to buy tickets, as we were not entirely convinced by the festival’s 2020 line-up (including Taylor Swift – but before her release of the highly praised album “Folklore”). When we later wanted to participate anyway, the festival was sold out! The next thing that happened was corona and the pandemic hit the world! The festival was canceled in both 2020 and 2021. Already sold festival tickets were “carried forward” to the next festival that would be possible to hold!

At the time, no one knew when it would be possible to hold the Roskilde Festival. But in spring of 2022 the corona situation here at home (Denmark) was under control and it was again allowed to have large events with many people – including the already sold-out Roskilde Festival 2022!

This meant that we were left without tickets for Roskilde Festival no. 50 (okay, we’re not quite young anymore, but we haven’t participated that many times). The closer the time got to the festival, the more we wanted to be part of The Orange Feeling. And since the Festival still needed many volunteers for many different functions – we decided to become volunteers!

Der var tætpakket til nogle koncerter. Arena, Roskilde Festival 2022
It was packed for some concerts. Arena, Roskilde Festival 2022.
Crowd Safety at Rising

Therefore we ended up being a part of this year’s Roskilde Festival anyway – not as paying participants, but as part of the large team of hosts – as the volunteers are more welcomingly called.

Our “career” as volunteers at the festival didn’t start in a food stall or with the “dirty job” of cleaning toilets – it started as members of the Crowd Safety team during the Warm Up days.

We had been given shifts at Rising, which, as the name suggests, is a stage where new and upcoming bands get the chance to play at Roskilde Festival – for the first and perhaps only time. Rising is also one of our favorite stages, as you get the opportunity to hear the bands and artists who might become the next “big ones” in the music scene.

In order to be ‘dressed’ for the role of crowd safety hosts, we went through a stage safety course. Here we learned about the dynamics of large crowds and how to lift people “over the fence” – and then we were ready to throw ourselves into new tasks.

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A lot of people 

Our first shift was on opening day – not at the Rising stage, but at Roskilde Station. The task was to manage the flow of thousands of expectant festival participants, who arrived by train, from the station to the festival camping areas.

We primarily had to manage the queue to the “advanced” location for exchanging tickets for festival wristbands. It was a new measure compared to previous festivals. The intent was to ease the pressure at the main festival entrances. Fortunately, we were not alone in handling the flow as the crowd grew throughout the day. The line of people got longer and longer. At one point it was all one big plug. And while at the same time there was a broken boom outside the festival site resulting in shuttle buses couldn’t pass. That didn’t help and created additional pressure and a bottleneck consisting of many many people. Along the way, we had to step in and help elsewhere to turn a queue and get people redirected and get the flow moving again.

Fortunately, everything went well. Changes and adjustments were quickly made and the situation was brought under control – it just took a little longer for many people to reach the camping area.

Der var også tætpakket ved Avalon. Roskilde Festival 2022
Avalon, Roskilde Festival 2022.
Supervisor, supervisor here is roaming

The three following days, our shifts took place at the Rising stage, where our tasks changed between different positions and functions. We were “front of stage”, where the primary task was to ensure that the audience had a good time, and at the same time make sure that no one tried to get up on the stage to the artist or the band. Even though Rising is a small stage, standing with your back to the stage with a live audience right in front of you could at times be a very intense experience – and a very different way to experience concerts.


“Supervisor, supervisor here is roaming” – “come in roaming”. “Reports a good and relaxed atmosphere out on the field. People are happy”. A call over the walkie-talkie could sound roughly like this when you had the role of roaming. You are the eyes of the supervisor and manager in the audience – the areas that are difficult to see from the stage area. The procedure is walking together two by two, quietly among the audience, and keeping an eye on how the people react and be ready in case the “normal picture” should change.

It can be quite a pleasant experience to observe and assess the atmosphere among the audience. We mostly only saw smiling and happy people who sometimes had various questions. When you roam there is also a slightly better opportunity to see the artists on stage than when standing with your back to the stage.

At the positions “mixer”, “backstage” and “front door”, the primary task was to ensure that only people with the right accreditations got access to the areas. Here it is a really good idea to learn to recognize the people who “run back and forth” all the time – for example the sound engineers. They were constantly commuting between the mixer and the stage. It may well be a bit tiring for them to have to show the wristbands every time.

Også i mellem koncerterne arbejder Crowd Safety. Rising, Roskilde Festival 2022
Crowd Safety also works between concerts. Rising, Roskilde Festival 2022.
Orange Feeling

In addition to a lot of music, Roskilde Festival is also about a very special mood and atmosphere – the Orange Feeling. And there was no shortage of that – despite the many worries about the young people – would they after two years of corona shutdowns be able to handle and behave during the festival? Earlier in the summer, there had been some bad examples of young people who were not able to do this. But that concern was quickly put to shame at this year’s Roskilde Festival. The atmosphere was great, in fact, it seemed much more relaxed and calm than before. The young people were happy, sweet, friendly and helpful – they behaved very exemplarily.

Of course, there were exceptions – that cannot be avoided. After all, it is Denmark’s fourth largest city during the nine days of festivals! Well, yes, there were some who made too much noise and drank more than they could cope, and there were also areas with litter, broken pavilions, and camping chairs. But compared to the past, it is going in the right direction. The Roskilde organization takes many measures and does a lot to change the culture and behavior of the festival guests from early times.

Roskilde Festival 2022
Roskilde Festival 2022
A small talking-to

In the days after this year’s Roskilde Festival, many “adults” shared photos and posts of piles of rubbish and broken tents from the camping area on social media – also on LinkedIn! – which received many likes and comments. In the posts and comments, the young people were shamed for being double standards and hypocrites – for “how can you fight for a better climate and environment when you at the same time make a mess and leave behind large amounts of waste?”

No one is perfect, but they “forgot” to show all the areas that were clean and spotless, and they didn’t tell about all the young people who collected their rubbish and handed it in the bins and containers. Maybe it’s because those pictures are a bit boring and – and at the same time also a bit difficult to be outraged by…?!

Campingområde Vest, Roskilde Festival 2022
Campingarea West, Roskilde Festival 2022.
Some yellow feeling

The three first stages of the bike race Tour de France were this year held in Denmark. Départ fictif of the second stage – “Storebæltsetappen” began in Roskilde and all the bike riders – and the famous caravan – would pass close by Dyrskuepladsen, where the Roskilde Festival is held. Many festival participants – including us – also wanted to see that before the music began. I don’t know exactly how many people were along the road and cheered, but there definitely was a Yellow Feeling for a good two hours.

'Yellow feeling' Roskilde Festival 2022
‘Yellow feeling’ – Roskilde participants wait for the ‘Tour de France’ field to pass. Roskilde Festival 2022.
The music

Well, what about the music – isn’t that what you’re there for? Well, yes that’s the purpose.

Concert experiences are very subjective and depend on many things – but there were many, both good, surprising, and disappointing experiences – and far too many to write them all here.

Three of the best concerts – in our opinion – were The Smile (at Arena), St. Vincent (on Orange), and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (also at Arena). One of the surprises was Julie Pavon, who performed one afternoon on the new Platform stage. She managed to create a party for a packed audience on the small intimate stage. Then there was TLC (at Arena) which turned out to be not only a nostalgic feature for us from the older segment but also a celebratory feature for the younger audience!

The worst, but probably the most talked about concert was with The Strokes, where the lead singer (who apparently is half Danish) was very embarrassing, to say the least – but you have to read more about that concert elsewhere.

St. Vincent. Orange, Roskilde Festival 2022
St. Vincent. Orange, Roskilde Festival 2022.
Julie Pavon, Platform, Roskilde Festival 2022
Julie Pavon creates a party at the Platform stage.

On Roskilde Festival’s own website, you can read more about the historic year 2022 in this article (in Danish)

Festival Birding

What about the birds? There is almost no post on our blog without something about birds or birdwatching. No exception this time.

Of course, we also watch birds when at festivals – although for once it wasn’t first priority. But we can’t help but notice gulls and crows that are attracted to garbage and food dropped on the ground. And soon it becomes a sport to see how many bird species we can see or hear during the festival.

In sports there are rules. And our rule during Roskilde Festival is that only species inside the festival site itself or the camping areas count. So if a species is outside the “fence” it will not end on the list. However, birds in the hedges and thickets along the railway that divide the camping areas do count.

There were 28 bird species within the fence over the nine days. These were all common Danish bird species. Not surprisingly Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Wood Pigeons, and Hooded Crows were the most numerous birds. A few years ago we saw three White Storks (Ciconia ciconia) fly over the area. But this year there were no unusual or rare sightings – but a few expected species were missing. We are looking forward to the next Festival Birding.

'Festival birding' tidligt om morgenen efter musikken er stoppet. Roskilde Festival 2022
‘Festival birding’ early in the morning after the music has stopped. Roskilde Festival 2022.

All photos and video © Bente Steffensen & Uffe Damm Andersen unless otherwise stated.

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