Roskilde - Diary of a Festival
- by Catgirl,
July 2007 -
This diary was partly written on a daily basis in my tent and also on the bus home to Oslo (an 8 hour ride). There is no reviews of concerts, but links to the festivalpaper for those of you who wants more detailed information about the music. This story is about the joy and the trials of being at Roskilde on THE most rainy festival in history.
Tuesday 03.07 - THE JOURNEY BEGINS
I just checked my pulse. Not sure if it's the nicotine or adrenaline that made it quicken so suddenly.
I am waiting to go to Roskilde. I've got my bags, my tent, my everything...and I've got 3 hours to kill before the bus leaves from Oslo, so I decided to start my diary for you. Misu (my cat) is safely housed with my dear friend Terje and now I'm at the pub Garage to enjoy a farewell beer and the luxury of a normal toilet for the next forthcoming week.
I am utterly excited, but also a bit worried by the weather forecast. I will try to keep this diary over the festival so I can recollect everything I see for the good of the Chatgang. Yey...I'm gonna go get myself another beer now.
After 2 beers and a few cigarettes to calm my nerves I took the bus down to the bus terminal to board my ride to Roskilde. I was lucky enough to hook up with a Swedish girl called Magda who is a volunteer at Norwegian Wood festival..like me..and who was also alone on the bus. After talking, a beer and several good laughs we decided to try get some sleep around midnight. The bus was still alive and buzzing with soft laughter and anticipation.
Wednesday 04.07 - DENMARK AT LAST
It's always good with the night bus...knowing you will wake up in wonderful Copenhagen the next morning.
Tired and also quite hungry we reached Hovedbanegård (Central station) to meet up with Magda's friend. We quickly decided to ditch our bags and belongings at the luggage storage to go roaming for some breakfast around Istedgade. Unfortunately, since it was only 7 in the morning - no breakfast places were open yet and we returned to Hovedbanegård for the big Brunch at one of the trainstation's fastfood places. For just fairly small amount of money you got 3 breadrolls, egg, bacon, juice, marmelade, cheese, croissant and an extremely wonderfully, tasty cup of coffee. After breakfast we all bid our adieus and went our separate ways. Time to shop for supplies and for a nice stroll down main shopping street "Strøget"
Food, wine and some beer necessities later I had my ticket in hand and entering the doubledecker to Roskilde. I really love the trains in Copehagen. They are really comfy and sleek looking. A bit of luxury is absolutely welcome during a Roskilde festival. The rest of the ride from Roskilde City and out to the fest-ival grounds is best done by taxi and as I walked out of the train station and towards the taxi stop the first drops of rain began falling. It was just a slight dribble, but it confirmed the weather forecast I was dread-ing. Some guy snatched the last taxi in the line, but two girls in front of me offered to share their ride with me as soon as we got a car. They, one of them Danish and the other Norwegian, got out of the taxi at East while I took it all the way to the entrance of MC-camp.
The Woodbread Warriors
Finally I was ready to go wake up the Woodbread Warriors. The German camp The Woodbread Warriors consists of biker friends of Silke mostly from Hamburg and Hannover, but there's been an occational Scandinavian in the camp as well. And this year they got me...First Norwegian girl to live in the camp. Silke was not coming until around 15:00, so I had to explain and show my media pass to the guards and finally they let me in to wake up the guys, so they could confirm that I was one of their camp and that they could safely give me a MC-camp wristband. And oh, what tired warriors I found. David and Ditmar was sound asleep in their tents and I felt kinda bad to have to wake them up, but after doing so I could get my gear from the guards and start putting up the tent. And just in time as clouds were closing in on us...heavy with rain. Tent ready and our sleeping quarters prepared all I had to do was sit down with the guys and wait for Silke to arrive. Shortly before 15 I went to media check-in and got my own wristband before I headed off the the really nice MC-club in Darupvej for some beer'n'bite while still waiting for Silke. She finally arrived looking like a million bucks on her black Honda and while she went to get her wristband, I returned to MC-camp on foot.
The bikers travel with all the gear they need for Roskilde on their bikes, so clever packing is key. To-gether they bring pots, pans, cutlery and coffee etc. because they like preparing breakfast in the camp. Danish prices is a bit more pricy for the average German than for us Norwegians. We went shopping for eggs, greens, milk, juice and such for the camp. This was my first ride on the back of Silke's bike, and she played around a bit zigzagging to make me feel comfortable with the bike's movements and make me feel safe. In the beginning it made me feel very uncomfortable and my stomach would turn with fear, but I soon relaxed and felt safe with just following her lead.
Shopping for Rubber Boots
Expecting the worst we decided to go to service center East to buy some tarp, a party tent (pavilion) and rubber boots. On our way up there I told Silke about the mudholes some camps dig out in the road to have people walk into them. They're called "Svenskefeller" in Danish (Swede traps). And as I told her to "Look out for..." I suddenly stood with mud up to my calf..."Yeeees....one of these". Very funny indeed. I wanted to smack some Danish teenager ass, but since I was already soaking wet and full of cold mud I just went on. Of course they were sold out of pavilions and had no boots in the right size, so we came back to the camp tired and a bit annoyed with the mud. I had to clean my DMs and jeans off all the mud. It took forever. We enjoyed a few hours of daylight before buckets of rain started pouring down. Sitting in the guys makeshift party tent (raincoats and tarp bound together) we were laughing our asses off be-cause of the insane weather (or scheisse wether as they would say).
It stopped again later in the evening and we had a pretty good night with many people of different nations (German, Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch) sitting talking and drinking outside our camp in the darkness. Around midnight I went to bed in our lovely luxury bachelorette tent. We actually had two tents - One for sleeping and one for luggage! Tomorrow was another day to go shopping for boots and hopefully without loosing the last pair of clean trousers.
Thursday 05.07 - THE GRAND OPENING
When I woke up at 8 Thursday morning it was raining. Still. And I needed badly to take a shower and get ready for the Chatmeeting at 13:00 by the brigde.
I really hate this weather. It makes sitting down any-where nearly impossible, getting somewhere on foot takes twice the time because of mud, you have to put on so much clothes just to go to the toilets in the morning and it's hard to get a meal without it being soaked. Oh well.....
Silke and me drove to the MC-club and had a nice shower before heading for the Chatmeeting. The Dan-ish bikers running the place invited Silke to move her tent up there to be safe from the mud. I think they were pretty charmed by our German femme fatale. Luckily on our way back to camp we came upon one of the trucks that were selling rubber boots, knee-high hunting socks, fleecejackets, rainsuits and so on. Yey! Finally I got myself a pair of boots and some niiiice warm socks to go with them. Ah, the bliss of correct footwear! Once again I could safely wade in the rivers of mud out on Camping East, which was just how far I got the day before.
Before I left Oslo this year I made sure my packing was complete and up to speed with the weather forecast ('cept the boots...who would've guessed the place would turn into a goddamn rainforest?), so this year I actually remembered to pack my flag.
I was a little delayed by the shopping and walking veeeeery slowly from MC-camp to the brigde, so not to fill my dry boots with muddy water, with a smile on my face. The smiling faces that was waiting for me on the other side of the brigde was worth every second of shitty weather. This was my 11th year at the festival and this was gonna be the 9th time we would have our Chatmeeting by that brigde. Amazing!
The crowd was naturally way smaller this year than earlier. Le Bear (Jens), Mesterhak (Mark), MCP_DK (Michael), Stevomatic (Steffen), Korea Keld (Jakob), Stine, Friedel, Fredde, Fio (Ingvild), D_grrl (Dorte), Püffi and myself managed to battle the elements and huddle together for a long awaited chat and some beers. Others (Silke, Honx and Chicknicker) had intended to come, but we got messages basically saying "I am NOT leaving my tent. Oh, no...not the rain..not the rain..I can't take it". And true...it was raining buckets! It was very cold also, so we stood there trying to stay close together and let the happiness of seeing eachother warm us up. FistCamp had decided to stay in FistCamp, but invited us all to come down there. We debated it and realized the camp wouldn't hold us all anyway....so we made our way to the big agora at West to find some shelter.
We stayed under the agora for almost 4 hours talking, laughing, catching up on eachothers lives. Jakob and Stine left early as Jakob was falling sick with fever and not being well at all. Silke's friends, David and Didi, were also stranded on the same "island" as us, so they joined our little party. We missed the Fisters, but I am sure they had a good time waiting for the concerts too. One of the major conversational subjects was of course the extremely shitty weather - and we all stood in gleeful fascination watching people and even a car striving their way through mud, lakes and wind at West.
Around 16:00 and after finishing only one crate of beer (in comparison we usually empty approx. 5 crates!!) and having a few Wodka Ahoy we broke up the meeting and started heading for our respective camps and for the concerts. The grand opening of the gates would be at 17:00 as usual. My phone was out of juice and I also had no money so I had to go back to MC-camp before going anywhere else. If not only to get in touch with Silke. It was getting dark and the big sea of mud confused me so I got lost and ended up at f***ing area S instead. I was so tired and almost wanted to cry when I finally walked into camp after almost 1 hour of walking in the mud with soaking jeans. I fell into our tent, picked up my stuff and was right out again and made my way to the backstage and the Media City. When I got there I was ravenous and ordered a huge bowl of Thai food and some samosas to recharge my body and mind before entering what Roskilde is really about - the music.
Opening Night Concerts
Since it was still raining my choice of concerts was highly influenced by the need of being under a roof for several hours. But then again...you can't win them all!
First concert for the night for me was John Legend since I missed out on Volbeat and didn't fancy standing in the rain to see the Killers. I just slumbered along with the crowd at John Legend. You can easily get warm if you just stand up front in the middle, because there will be people all around you that radiate body heat. It was not really my kind of music, so I was slightly bored. Everyone else seemed to be having a good time, dancing and at one point John Legend brought up a girl from the audience to dance with him. She was close to fainting while I was close to falling asleep...
I took another round back to the Media City and ran into some people I know from my hometown (Horten) while hanging around there waiting for Mastodon to play.
From the calm of the backstage I slightly ran down to Arena to make sure I got a place up front for one of my favorite bands. Hell yeah! These guys sure know how to play up a storm. Finally I woke up and I was smiling and swaying all through the concert. When it was over my jeans were nearly dry and I returned to MC-camp happy and in the mood for a few beers with some of the guys who were still awake.
Read more about Thursday's concerts in the festival paper:
Friday 06.07 - ICH GEHE PISSEN!
Friday morning Silke and me headed for the comfortable showers at the MC-club once again and this time we also took the time for a small breakfast. You get two slices of toast with cheese and a cup of coffee for 15 DKK - add another 5 and you got yourself a glas of orange juice as well! Finally it felt as if we had some time to relax after all the work with putting up camp, buying the right gear to survive the weather and just running around. So we decided to drop our two first concerts (Katatonia and and just stay in camp to catch up and have a really long and nice talk - just us two girls.
After several hours, two bottles of red wine and feeling a lot more back on track we headed for our first big concert at Orange - The Beastie Boys. I was so excited about finally getting to see the band I started liking as a 13 year old! Lots of people had gathered for the concert obviously and we soon made friends with a couple of young Danes wearing ties. Yup..you heard me. Ties. We were joking around and one of them were really taken with Silke and flirting for hard life. He he. Later a couple of Dutch guys joined us (Hans & Hank) and we discussed the festival, bands and websites. One of their friends is in charge of an official Dutch site - www.roskilde-festival.nl. After some time Fio joined us and the guys (David and Didi) also joined our little red wine infested party. The sound at this concert was a crisis! The wind was blowing and it was a bit rainy, so it just floated away and we talked instead of listening. Pity, but we did have lots of fun. And by the time we were goin back to camp we were all pissed drunk. I even managed to spill red wine into my bag. Jeeeez....
German language can be easy to understand for us Norwegians up to a certain point - that point where people have actual conversations in a pretty fast tempo.. But one of my plans for camplife was to learn some more of this highly complicated (and goddamn funny) language. During this very funny Friday evening I learned how to say "I'm gonna take a piss". First they tried to teach me the proper way for a girl to say this. But bloody hell - "Excuse me so much, I really need to take a trip to the little ladies' room" doesn't really roll off my tongue that good in English either...So they gave me the more masculine version: "Ich gehe Pissen!".
Now that, works for me.
In camp in general we were teaching eachother words in English, Danish, Norwegian and German all the time. Usually practical stuff like: Beer, garlic, eggs, mud, cucumber, rubber boots and stomach. I also ran into some British girls on Saturday that wanted to learn to say "cunt" in Norwegian. But that's a whole different story....Back in camp after Beastie Boys we attacked the beer and had the company of some really hilarious Irish guys who lived in a camp further down at the MC-camp. A really good night out I would say.
Read more about Friday's concerts in the festival paper:
Saturday 07.07 - METAL FOR THE MASSES
The morning was started with a shower as usual, but this time it was freezing cold and my head felt a bit heavy from the night before. Time for some Chili Con Carne to heat it up and get us ready for the daily serving of music. First out was Soulsavers that I saw with Silke and then we moved on to Machine Head at Arena. That was a really fun concert. The singer was all over the place and such a crowd pleaser! We hooked up with Steffen, Mark, Fredde, Jens, Honx and Friedel for the concert. Everyone really happy and jumping around to songs from their newest album The Blackening. This really set the mood for the rest of the night. Only a meal and some beers here and there interrupted the string of metal pearls.
Next up was the much talked about French metal band Gojira. Silke, Fio and me were busy checking out the physics of the bandmembers also. I've never seen such sexy arms on a bassplayer in my entire life. It was kinda distracting actually. Ha ha. Seriously though - This was one of my favorite concerts this year. Gojira gave it all and blew us away with some really massive melodic metal. After the concert we hooked up with Mark again and the two of us went to see Cult of Luna which was beautiful as always and the strange Norwegian project Dream of an Opium Eater. This was based on how an orchestra in old times would play live a soundtrack to a silent movie. In this case it was kind of a horror movie with a very experimental metal soundtrack to it. Great music!
After this it was time to hit the tent and get some sleep.
Read more about Saturday's concerts in the festival paper:
Sunday 08.07 - LAST NIGHT WITH THE GANG
Shocked by Saturday's cold shower I decided to drop the entire showering this morning as I watched Silke getting ready to leave the camp. Packing for a bike is serious stuff and somehow she couldn't find room for that bottle of Vodka, so that one's coming home with me. Silke would not be staying with us for the last night and I had promised Mark that I would try get him a dry night's sleep in MC-camp since most of my camp was leaving me all alone for the last night. It turned out okay thanks to a very nice Danish "boss". But before all this we had a very long and wonderful breakfast all together. Jens came down for a bite as well and we just relaxed in the grass and having our last talks, hugs and group photos of the camp. After saying goodbye to Silke, David and Didi I went for my last day of concerts.
First out was Zyklon and I was hanging out with Mark the entire Sunday. Finally there was some sun, and we were able to find a tiny spot of green to lay down and just relax in the sun with a few beers. After the sunbathing it was back into the darkness for some more metal. Next up was one of my favorites - Pelican. I'd never seen them live before as they have never played in Oslo. As with many other of their peers there's not much going on during the concert except for the music itself. But that doesn't matter when the music is this great. After the show I talked to one of the guys and asked him about playing in Oslo and he could reveal that they were planning a tour that included Oslo in November 2007. Yey! I was so thrilled I had to sms everyone at home about it as soon as I had picked up my phone from recharging again.
We headed down to MC-camp and got Mark's wristband for the camp and then up to Orange for more beer, concerts and meeting Steffen, Jens, Alison, Dorte + Nalini and Fio and her friend. It was time for the last night with the gang. Basement Jaxx kicked ass on that stage and Nalini was rocking with us, playing air guitar with Mark's inflatable St. Pauli-guitar and then hitting him on the head with it. We danced and enjoyed the impressive fireworks that closes Orange stage every year. The only thing remaining now was moving over to Arena to see Kenneth Bager, Dj Kålhoved and French wonderboys Justice. We were too tired to jump around, so we simply sat on the ground warming eachother and looking at people. At one point this really drunk guy decided he'd had enough and gave us all his freshly bought beers. Thank you...we were too tired to get up and buy any, so that was perfect. Sitting around like that in the dark can be dangerous too - as Alison would discover when someone stepped on her hand and gave her several fractures (this was discovered only when she came home again). When it was all over there was nothing else to do than get a good night's sleep before travelling back to our respective countries the day after.
Monday 08.07 - THE LONG TRIP HOME
Mark was off at 7 to pack the remains of his drowned tent and I got up for the last breakfast in MC-camp much later. The few of us that was left packed our gear, threw away trash and tried to leave the place as tidy as possible. Some of us left our tents up for the collecting to the homeless. Bike after bike left the spot..and in the end I did too on foot. As I was walking out of camp the Irish guys stopped me to hand out hugs and also a chair I could sit in and wait for the bus..."Here ya go lass"!
Waiting for the bus outside the main entrance is boooring, but we managed to get onto one that was leaving 1 hour earlier than our original one. But it didn't do much good in the end as we missed the first ferry across to Sweden. Finally on the ferry we could do some shopping as we were all fairly thirsty and hungry. These few last lines are written while still sitting on the bus. We're about 1 hour delayed coming into Oslo, people will miss their trains and stuff...but noone seems to be to stressed out about it. Our bus driver is Danish and we've promised to show him the way to Oslo Central Bus Station as he has never been there before. I've got the seat to myself and I can write my little story while waiting to come home.
Sharks control these waters
When mud actually has a visible current you can only hope to live upstream. On my way down to the camp on Thursday I was walking all alone in the dark with only a sea of mud in front of me that was reaching 25 cm up on my legs. Bodies could be hiding in that dark sea for all I knew and even the international press was worried about people drowning at the festival. Then again we all know they write this to sell more papers.
What media and other people seem to be missing out on is the fact that we love Roskilde so much that every trial and tribulation will only make us more strong and stubborn. The shitty things turns a bit better at one point - like a tiny ray of sun or that the rain stops for a few hours - and that renews our willpower and energy. Ready for that next fight. This year's festival was the worst ever they say, but we survived it and on that last night we danced in the remaining mud knowing that we can take it...and that it can only get better.
I've already had a peak at all my photos from just a few days back...and the mud and all those rubber boots already seems so long ago.
See you next year Roskilde! See you next year Chatgang...for the 10th time!
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