The atmosphere at the Roskilde Festival can't be compared to anything else in the world.
It is the most friendly and open atmosphere I have ever experienced, where everyone is happy and willing to help and have fun with other people. But it has a dark side, which is most significant at the camp site. Let me tell my story, of how me and my friend Kenneth ended up in a camp of people we've never met.
The camp site opens on Saturday at 18:00, but people stormed the place around 13:00. We entered at around 23:00 hoping to find a spot for our 3-person tent, in the B section, where we usually stays. We found a spot were our tent could almost be. Since the tents around the spot were empty (people put up tents in the weekend, but won't occupy them until later in the week), we thought we'd move them a little bit to make room for our tent.
But suddenly some people from the camp across the path came running, and saying we couldn't put up a tent there, because their tents couldn't be moved. We tried to argue, that there were room for them to be moved - and that we would show them if let us try. After arguing for some 30 - 45 min. they finally allowed us to move a tent so that we could put up ours behind it - where there were also almost room for it. When we had moved it, and began to put up our tent, some people from another camp came running, saying that the spot we were occupying, were reserved for some friends of theirs, coming the following day. So after an hour, we began looking for another spot. We found one where someone had put up a round tent (also empty) in a corner of a square - leaving a space almost big enough for our tent. After removing one string from that tent, we tried to put up our tent, but our spikes(?) wouldn't go in - the ground was simply to hard from the construction vehicle from the construction site just by. So I went looking for a rubber hammer we could borrow. I found one in a camp with some nice people who let us borrow it - and I told them were we were, in case they needed it themselves. After 30 Min. we had gotten three(!) spikes down, and bent many more... Then the fellow who had borrowed us the hammer, came and asked how it was going. When he heard the ground was still to hard, he offered us a spot in their camp! What a nice guy!
There were room for our tent, but we were told to move the next day by some other fellow, because the space was reserved for some people coming the next day (again). But the first fellow said that if it became a problem we could just sleep in his tent, since he had 3 sleeping cabins for 2 persons each, but it was only him and his girlfriend who were using them at the moment.
And it is here the duality of the festival comes to show.
10 - 15 years ago the camp site was for sleeping, when you weren't at a concert. But now people spent more time at the camp site, than at the festival site and they are getting more luxurious. Here two people are sleeping in a tent for 6 - with extra room for luggage. The camp has two pavilions (only one is allowed) and a huge stereo run by car batteries - both of which require that you pay a refund charge when entering with these items - which hasn't been done. Besides all this, almost all the people in camp live nearby, and regularly goes home to shower, sleep and such. So they take up almost four times as much space as they would have done 10 years ago, but the general camp site hasn't grown much since then. And with 75.000 people on the camp site, if the live in camps of 10, with a tent each, two pavilions and three car batteries, it means 75.000 tents, 15.000 pavilions and 22.500 car batteries! If no one takes these things with them when they leave - that's a lot of unnecessary trash!
Now people is complaining that the Festival is getting greedy, because you have to pay a refund charge for pavilions and car batteries. Well the easiest step is to just ban both things - but that would destroy the atmosphere, and the festival knows this. Already Roskilde Festival is the only larger festival in Denmark who allows pavilions - so what would people have them to do?
This is the duality of which I speak. People have a very open mind towards other people - but don't think of what will happen if everyone on the camp site, do as they do.
This is the challenge the festival has - to make people be a little less luxuries on the camp site, thinking of other people who wants the same - but without making a strict set of rules.
Let's see how it unfolds the following years...
P.S. It has now been three nights, and our tent is still standing, and the group of people in the camp has been really nice to us - well, most of them...