Tomorrow is the day when Roskilde Festival can finally celebrate its 50th anniversary! But for its founders, Year One still feels like yesterday

The Festival, originally known as the Sound Festival, should first have been a one-off concert in 1971 to promote and bring mainstream music to Roskilde province. Now, in 2022, the music festival is finally celebrating its 50th anniversary edition after the .

Created by two high school students, Jesper Switzer and Mogens Sandfærd, with the help of music promoter Carl Fisher, should originally have been held in Borrevejle Vig.

However, Borrevejle Vig decided at the last minute that they would not participate in the festival and withdrew. As the festival approached with rapid strides, Jesper and Mogens decided to go to Dyrskuepladsen.

A hectic start
Back then, a ticket to Roskilde Festival cost 30 kroner against over 2,000 kroner today, and the maximum number of tickets the organizers could hope to sell was 5,000, as it was the only thing the place had room for. So it was a big shock for the organizers when more than twice as many people showed up on the first day of the festival.

The unexpected swarm of guests put enormous pressure on the food and toilet facilities at the festival, and according to Mogens, they desperately called all the beer and vendors they knew. Fortunately, many of these were able to come to the festival and sell refreshments right out of the back of their trucks.

To make matters worse, the weather was not in their favor either, as they experienced heavy on the first Saturday of the festival. The rain was so intense that the festival’s main names, Grease Band, refused to go on stage until the rain stopped. This was largely due to the tarpaulin hanging over the musicians who were about to fall down due to the pressure of the rain.

The aftermath
The Roskilde Festival has always been known for its high amounts of waste, and this has apparently been true since the beginning.

Before the start of the festival, a deposit of DKK 15,000 was paid to . After the festival, this was paid out for the cleanup, and both Mogens and Jesper did not earn anything for their contribution as there were several other fees to be paid.

The U25 group
About 12,000 people attended the first festival in 1971, and this number has continued to grow as the years have passed, as has the festival’s popularity.

It has attracted people with all sorts of different backgrounds and with different motives to participate. In the beginning, many students wanted to go, and this is still the case today, as more than 80 percent of those who go to Roskilde for the first time are under 25 years old. It has also led to the festival selling tickets specifically targeted at those under 25 years of age.

Jesper and Mogens were students themselves, and their busy schedule at the festival almost made them miss out on graduating. They were both behind in several of their classes, but were fortunately able to catch up with this and graduated on time with the rest of their class.

Today’s Roskilde Festival
The Roskilde Festival has continued to develop over the years and today everything is at a higher level than before.

The 12,000 participants in 1971 have risen to an average of 135,000 in recent years, including this year the 50th anniversary edition.

Source: The Nordic Page

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