Copenhagen loves music. You can find a myriad of concert venues and, especially in the summer, music festivals. I’ve already mentioned Distortion and my experience with it, but I’m giving a bigger roundup of what’s happening festival-wise in the larger Copenhagen area this summer. Some are world famous, like Roskilde or the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, others you might not have heard of. But I’m sure there’s something for all tastes. I only worry there won’t be enough weekends this summer to enjoy all of them!
Probably the most famous music festival in Denmark, if not Scandinavia. Established in 1971, the festival has been held in the town of Roskilde about 30km outside of Copenhagen. The festival is run as a non-profit and an astonishing 32,000 volunteers help out every year. If you have friends from the greater Copenhagen area, chances are they have worked there, too! One of the special characteristics of the Roskilde festival are the different camps where people dress up, e.g. as “Where’s Waldo” characters, or an “Organized Nakedness” camp or a “Don’t Hassel with the Hoff” camp (find a list on the official website here). Another highlight is the annual “Naked Run” (see a video here)!
Headliners: The Rolling Stones, Artic Monkeys, Drake, Stevie Wonder, Outkast
Dates: 29th June - 6th July, Roskilde
Tickets: full festival ticket DKK 1,910; one-day tickets DKK 970 (Thursday sold out)
Copenhagen Jazz Festival
One of the most famous annual events in Copenhagen, attracting the “who’s who” of the international jazz scene each year. The program is so extensive and there are so many venues and concerts that it is nearly impossible to keep an overview of everything! Some concerts are open air, as well.
Headliners: Gregory Porter, Concha Buika, John Scofield Überjam Band, Dave Holland’s Prism
Dates: 4th-13th July, Copenhagen
Tickets: sold individually for each concert
Trailer Park Festival
This festival is a mix of art and music, and the music part strongly focuses on Danish artists, so if you want to learn more about the Danish music scene, this is your place to go! It was started in 2007 by ArtRebels (artrebels.com), a curated web shop community for artists and visual designers. The goal of the festival’s organizers is to select musicians and artists that are not super famous yet and help “push them closer to a mainstream breakthrough”.
Headliners: Reptile Youth, LE1F, Baby in Vain, Giana Factory
Dates: 31st July - 2nd August, CPH Skaterpark
Tickets: 1-day pass DKK 250, 3-day pass DKK 500 (early-bird DKK 350)
Vanguard Music Festival
Vanguard festival offers music and food in “a green oasis” in the heart of Copenhagen (Søndermarken). The festival features both international and Danish artists. You can bring your own picnic basket or buy one at the festival - made specifically for the occasion! Mind that there is no camping area, as it is intended to be a day-time event (closing at 23h).
Headliners: The Roots, Babyshambles, George Clinton, Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def
Dates: 1st-2nd August, Søndermarken (Copenhagen)
Tickets: 1-day ticket DKK 670, 2-day ticket DKK 1,070
Denmarks largest metal festival. What more is there to say? It’s only been around since 2010, but has managed to attract some of the biggest names in metal and hard rock (Iron Maiden is playing this year!). The three-day festival in an old shipyard of Refshaleøen already starts tomorrow, so be quick if you want to be a part of it!
Headliners: Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister, Within Temptation, Anthrax, Bad Religion
Dates: 11th-13th June, Refshaleøen (Copenhagen)
Tickets: 3-day ticket (excl. camping) DKK 1,095
Copenhagen Opera Festival
On the opposite end of the spectrum, lovers of classical music and the opera will also find something this summer, as the Copenhagen Opera Festival takes over large and small stages across the city. Highlights include a performance of “Romeo and Juliet” in a courtyard, “The Marriage of Figaro” as well as “an opera stage on wheels” on a truck showing free performances of “The Barber of Seville” and different locations (e.g. Torvehallerne).
Main concerts: “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Marriage of Figaro”, “The Barber of Seville”
Dates: 27th July - 3rd August, Copenhagen
Tickets for individual concerts available online (around DKK 250)
“Denmark’s prettiest festival” - yet another music festival in Copenhagen! Founded in 1979 the festival normally takes place in Skanderborg, where this year’s lineup has some world stars like 50 Cent and Skrillex, but also the “crème de la crème” of the Danish pop music scene, including Nik&Jay, Christopher, and MØ. This year, the festival will move on to Copenhagen for two days, and it takes some of the acts with it. The festival kicks off with a “family concert” with Danish heartthrobs Rasmus Seebach and Christopher, so if you are a teenage girl (or a closet fan, like me), you will have to be there!
Headliners: Pet Shop Boys, Rasmus Seebach, Christopher, Kato and Fire
Dates: 14th and 15th August 2014, Tiøren (Amager Strandpark)
Tickets: DKK 350 per day
If you’re interested in all music festivals in Denmark, you can find a comprehensive list here!