ROSKILDE, Denmark, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Starting June 30 for four days, over 80,000 music lovers from all over Europe gathered at Roskilde Festival.
At the festival site some 35 kilometers west of Copenhagen, capital of Denmark, the visitors braved heavy rains and muddy ground to pitch their tents, sing and dance, and hold mass parties where the beer flowed freely.
But their most important and self-appointed task was to enjoy live performances from some of the biggest names in popular music today. In all, some 180 bands performed on six stages, both open-air and indoors, while 163 musicians showcased a range of musical genres from around the globe, during the festival.
From 1971 when it was founded, and up till 2011, Roskilde Festival has presented acts by classic bands such as English rock legends The Rolling Stones, Irish rockers U2 and newer, indie-rock sensations like Oasis and Coldplay, from the UK. This mix makes Roskilde Festival a window from which to witness the history and continuous development of popular music.
Esben Danielsen, the festival's music director, told Xinhua that "Unlike the previous years, this year's festival has set focus particularly on the audience under 25 years-old."
"Roskilde Festival should not be getting older together with the audience. We should focus on the new and young minds and put new and fresh blood into the festival. We want to see upcoming stars on the stage of Roskilde Festival," he said.
BIG NAMES BANDS
This year, some of the headline performers at Roskilde included major stars such as English bands Arctic Monkeys, Portishead and Iron Maiden, US bands Kings of Leon, Mastodon and TV on the Radio, as well as British female rapper M.I.A.
A variety of beats featured on the first day, with godfathers of heavy-metal Iron Maiden, and English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey attracting many fans.
Danish indie-rock duo The Raveonettes, playing on their home turf, raised the festival atmosphere to fever pitch on day two.
Referred to as "the next wave" in rock music by both "Rolling Stone" and "Q" magazines, the band got the audience cheering and waving wildly, and belting-out the numbers played during their one-and-a-half hour long set.
Afterwards, sludge metal band Mastodon played its brand of fast, strong music which electrifies its audiences everywhere.
And later, Beth Gibbons, lead singer of Portishead, revealed her sensual vocals, which formed a perfect match with the band's keyboard, guitar, and drums.
Sabrina, a Portishead fan from Brazil, had waited at the venue entrance for two hours before the show started just to get a good place to watch the performance.
"I love Portishead. I feel so happy today to watch the live show of Portishead," she said.
The Arctic Monkeys, who have won a lot of music awards, performed the exciting headline show of the third day, on the festival's famous, orange-canopied main stage.
Scandinavians truly reveal their exuberant side at the Roskilde Festival, and whether in the live music or the camping areas, you can find people dancing and partying to the different musical rhythms.
On the last day of the festival, young people from all over Europe pack their sleeping bags and tents and hold the festival's final carnival in the camping area, which is divided into east and west zones. The young people usually gather in the western zone.
"There are parties in the west area every day. There is even a fashion district in the west area which is hot among the young people," a Roskilde Festival staff member told Xinhua.
Beer drinking is central to these parties and fans at Roskilde drink prodigiously before, during and for some time after the festival. Figures show an incredible one million liters of beer and 40,000 liters of other beverages were consumed during the festival in 2010.
The numbers are said to be even bigger this year, so you should not have been surprised if a stranger grabbed you and talked to you as he or she was drunk.
In a warm-up to the festival, organizers also arranged a lover's special event. The 'lovers' volunteer to wear a specially-designed t-shirt and thereby show people that they are in love. The lovers give hugs and good wishes to ordinary people passing by.
And in what must be the festival's oddest tradition, Roskilde Festival Radio organizes a nude run around the camp site, with one male and one female winner receiving a ticket worth 2,000 Danish kroner (around 400 U.S. dollars) to the next year's festival.
Indeed, on Saturday, a small group of runners covered in nothing but body-paint, splashed through a muddy track inside the festival grounds, to the adulation of the large crowds gathered on the sidelines.
Created in 1971 by high school students Mogens Sandfear and Jesper Switzer Moeller, and promoter Carl Fischer, the Roskilde Festival was initially known as the Roskilde Sound Festival. At the time, only 13 performances were played during the then two-day long festival. Now Roskilde Festival has become the largest music and cultural event in Northern Europe.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, garbage has become a major problem, as the festival produces on average 1,600 tons of trash per edition. This year Roskilde launched a garbage event known as "Your Clean Hour" as a festive addition to the traditional clean-up work.
Since the 1990s Roskilde Festival has presented numerous environmentally friendly initiatives, with organizers aiming to maximize the level of waste recycled. They say 99 percent of the garbage generated by the festival this year, will be recycled.
Moreover, Xinhua noticed that some students from Denmark's Technical University were collecting waste oil from restaurants on the grounds, and will find a way to generate electricity from it.
Another DTU sustainability project encourages festival-goers to sort and recycle wastes such as paper, cardboard and hard and soft plastics such as beverage bottles, and in return, be rewarded with a soft cushion to sit on, which is itself made of recycled garbage. The cushion's contents can be emptied and recycled when the festival ends.
Furthermore, since 2009, the Green Footsteps campaign has encouraged the festival audience to act with consideration for the climate and the environment through a series of green activities before, during and after the festival. This trend continues in the festival this year.
Indeed, the organizers prepared a long line of green initiatives. For instance you could stay in one of the eco-friendly green camps, recharge your phone battery with the watts generated by pedalling a bicycle, and listen to music and buy food in the festival's so-called Sustainable Zone.