Copenhagen Festivals #1: Distortion

One of the many things I love about living in Copenhagen is the number of festivals on our doorstep – we truly are spoiled.

Whether it is documentary films, opera, electronic music, dance, or design, over the summer months especially they are coming at us thick and fast.

So this is the first in a series looking at some of the festivals that we have enjoyed over the last couple of months (with a few more still to come no doubt)…

Distortion festival street party

Photo by Jacob Schjørring

Distortion festival is a well-known and well-loved local institution that is spread over five days at the end of May/start of June. The first day sees sound-systems and street parties in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen for around 100,000 revellers (think Notting Hill Carnival but without the carnival part), and on day two the madness shifts to the Vesterbro district. Both nights there is additional music in the Rådhuspladsen, and ‘after parties’ and events at various music venues in the city.

The next two days are dedicated to ‘Distortion Ø’ a huge event out at Refshaleøen (an old industrial area that plays host to various events throughout the year, and is slated to gain a large food market in 2018 to take over from where Copenhagen Street Food leaves off).

There are various tickets on offer depending on which parts you want to attend (and ticket prices are very reasonable as it is organised by a non-profit org) but the street parties are free – so of course that’s what we opted for, being on a very tight budget at the time!

I went to the second night in Vesterbro with my very willing accomplice Amelie, who somehow persuaded me that it would be a brilliant idea to purchase a large bottle of Smirnoff from one of the corner shops. If I tell you there was none left at the end of the night then you can probably guess what kind of evening we had…but luckily we made it home in one piece. Sadly there is no photographic evidence.

From the curious tourist, to the locals enjoying the great atmosphere of a raucous street party, to the die-hard dance music fans who attempt to ‘do’ the whole of Distortion, you can pick and choose just how much mayhem you can cope with.

Next year, Distortion will be celebrating its 20th anniversary, with any luck me, Amelie, and our dancing shoes will be back for more!


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