Copenhagen Festivals #3: Haven

Haven festival is the new kid on the block, a brand new event this year, billed as “a festival for the senses that will merge experiments in art, music, food and beer.” And what’s not to like about the sound of that?

Held out at the more-than-a-little-rough-around-the-edges industrial area of Refshaleøen over two days, Haven featured artists such as Iggy Pop, Feist, Tinariwen, Bon Iver, and The National. Loving the sound of the line-up – but our pockets not loving the 1250 dkk (around £150) price tag – we decided fairly spur of the moment a few weeks before the festival to volunteer in order to get free tickets. For Steve, this meant an eight-hour shift on the Friday (first day of the festival) working the beverage warehouse, for me, two eight-hour, post-festival clear up shifts.

Sadly for me, I managed to do something really nasty to my lower back the preceding week. Despite my lovely osteopath working some serious spinal magic, I was in no fit state to make it on the Friday, and was therefore massively disappointed to miss Iggy Pop. I made do with playing his greatest hits as loud as I could to my kids whilst they ate their dinner. Sorry downstairs neighbours…

Our plan for the Saturday was to take the kids along for a few hours (since they got in for free), then for Steve to bring them home before the festival got too busy (and dark), put them to bed, and come back once our babysitter arrived.

The kids especially enjoyed the DJ set supplied by Mouse on Mars and busted out some great moves.

Haven, Mouse on Mars, dancing

Busting out some moves to Mouse on Mars

Their departure for home was well-timed: pretty much as soon as they left, heavy drizzle set in for the evening. Before long I was cold and searching for shelter (ending up huddled next to the huge HAVEN sign) – and texting Steve to bring me back some warmer clothing on his return journey.

Haven sign

The Haven sign (day after) which provided much needed shelter from said rain


Watching Feist at Haven in the rain

Just your average Danish summer…but Feist was fab


Despite the rain, Feist’s set was easily the high point for me – just a little sad to be enjoying it without my partner in crime…When he did arrive back (with a thick jumper and a contraband home-made burger – yeay!) I was so pleased! We enjoyed Bon Iver and The National in the company of a lovely couple who had come all the way from LA just for Haven, and before long it was time for some slightly tipsy cycling home (I later learned a friend had come off his bike doing the same and broke a couple of ribs…I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere.)

I guess with any new festival there are going to be teething problems. Unfortunately, the queues for the toilets were crazy, ditto for food, and there was only one narrow crossing bridge across a canal that connect the two areas of the festival. This created a really bad bottle neck at peak times, and put us off exploring much outside the main Meadow field, (well, that and the rain), since we didn’t know how long it would take us to queue to get from one side to the other and back again, and we didn’t want to miss the main acts.

As for my clean up shifts – the first starting bright and early at 8am on the Sunday morning – several hours of picking up plastic straws, coffee cups lids and cutlery was a sobering reminder of just how badly we are slowly drowning in single-use plastics. That said, Haven did have some lofty goals for recycling as much waste as possible, in collaboration with a local company specialising in sustainable events. (Again, they could have done a much better job of promoting this: I only found out afterwards that you could get free drinks tickets for bringing recyclables back to certain stations during the festival.)

Hopefully Haven will be back for round two in 2018. Hopefully, we’ll be here to enjoy it too…but next time I’ll probably pay for my ticket!


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