172 music acts. Performers, talkers, street artists, writers, architects. Roskilde Festival is an abundance of experiences and adventures. From the headliners to the breaking talents, from the parties to the intimate moments, from the experiments to the experienced. 

The programme is put together by a group of music programmers and art curators along with a string of partners. 

What’s special about Roskilde Festival 2019? What’s new, what’s different and what’s particularly exciting? 

Head of programme Anders Wahrén and head of Arts & Activism Signe Brink are answering all these questions in this interview.

How would you describe this year’s line-up?

WahrénWe have a lot of young headliners, we have the most diverse and possibly best ever talent programme – across music, art and activism – and we’re moving in sync with the movements that are so important to most of our young festival-goers. It makes me proud that we can attract artists who really care and have something on their mind, apart from entertainment. You will see a lot of things that wouldn’t work at just any festival but seems obvious in the context of Roskilde Festival.” 

Signe BrinkWe have a programme that’s both fun and serious, with big acts and fresh talent of all styles and artforms. This year, we’re shining a light on solidarity and what it means in 2019, and this topic really shines through in the line-up. 

Why did you choose to focus on solidarity? 

Signe Brink“We’re witnessing artistic tendencies and activist movements, and the young generations are carrying the torchWe’re witnessing communities critical of several aspects of our time, not least the environment and the demands for perfection that young people are facing today. There are obvious parallels to the 1960’s and 1970’s, but there are new interpretations and new artforms reflecting this new way of interpreting solidarity.” 

Can you give us some examples from the line-up? 

Signe Brink: Danish artist Hannah Tocicki Anbert will conduct a silent parade in the name of unproductivity. It’s simply about taking part with absoluley no demands, a sort of antithesis to what many people feel they have to live up to in society today. Or take renowned Swiss artist Claudia Comte as an example with her large-scale sculpture ME WE, this is something really simple but powerful to make you contemplate your role in the grand scheme of things. This is about solidarity with the young generations, but even the logs used for the sculpture have been felled in a sustainable way and in a way that allows them to be used and repurposed.” 

Anders WahrénSilvana Imam is an interesting example from the music programme. She’s a very outspoken feminist, she’s an immigrant, and she’s first and foremost a role model. She’s opening the Orange Stage, which will give her show a lot more exposure and awareness, and she’s chosen to share the spotlight by inviting about 10 upcoming Nordic rappers with her onstage. This kind of artistic solidarity is not only beautiful, it’s luckily something we see more and more often.”

What else differs from last year? 

Wahrén: “It’s striking how many artists are trying out new formats, experimenting with different modes of expression. We see it among well-known artists such as Christine and the Queens and her focus on performance and dancingRosalía is an artist who incorporates the flamenco tradition. Danish act Baby In Vain are preparing a show with a choreographer and a dance company from the Royal Danish Ballet.” 

Tell us a little about the new headliners. 

WahrénThey’re sure to deliver great shows, that’s for sure, but I think some people might not know how conscious they are of their surroundings. An artist like Janelle Monáe is really challenging the social and sexual norms in society, and she’s helping new talent with her Wondaland Arts Society which opens its doors to young musicians and activists. When she first played Roskilde she called it her most amazing show she had ever played, and we’re so excited to have her back.”

Signe, what’s the first thing you’re going to see from the Arts & Activism programme? 

Signe Brink
“Where to start?! I’m excited about Søren Aagaard’s post-apocalyptic food truck and how it looks when Tomoko Sauvage transforms water bowls into instruments and turns water into soundI’m also proud of having CERN and the Niels Bohr Institute at the festival for the first time.”

How does CERN relate to the rest of the programme? 

Signe Brink“Activism has many faces, and science is one of them. It’s very important to us to offer debates and discussions at Roskilde Festival. We have 130,000 participants each year from all over the world, and they’re all different people with different viewpoints. Instead of telling them what we think, we’re more interested in offering different perspectives on the world. CERN and the Niels Bohr Institute offer debates on energy resources, workshops that will give you a better understanding of nature and power sources and much more.

Anders Wahrén: “Generally speaking, we’re not interested in being an echo chamber. We don’t have to tell festival-goers what’s right and wrong.

Can you elaborate on that? 

Anders Wahrén: “It’s a general viewpoint, but it’s vital in 2019. Just think of the algorthitms on social media and streaming services, even if it helps you choose the most relevant content for you, there’s a risk that you won’t broaden your horizon and discover anything truly new. That’s actually the reason why we have so many different genres on all the stages, so people will move around and catch different vibes and walk into a concert that they didn’t know about instead of staying in front of one stage a whole day.”

Speaking of different stages, what should festival-goers keep an eye out for? 

Signe Brink: “Apart from the Avalon stage moving to the east of Orange Stage, we have a new construction called the Ambereum with performances, concerts and a space to sit and relax. In this space we also have our Sensorium with an interactive museum of smell, a detox with flowers for the hungover, underwater production in a waterbed and much more. At night we’ll have DJ’s and techno raves in the Ambereum.

Where else do I find a good party? 

Anders Wahrén: “You won’t have to look far for that! There’s always something going on. From the very first day and until the last night there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for legends like The Cure closing the Orange Stage or opting for DJ Koze’s closing party at the Apollo stage.”