Denmark's festival season wiped out due to restrictions


May 4, 2021

Denmark’sfestival season has been decimated for the second consecutive year after thegovernment announced that a maximum of 2,000 participants will be permitted atfestivals between 21 May and 1 August 2021.

The announcementcame last night (3 May) and was followed this morning by a raft of festivalcancellations including Roskilde (26 June to 3 July), Smukfest (4–8 August),Northside (3–5 June), Tinderbox (24–26 June), Beautiful Party (4–8 August),Jelling Festival (20–23 May), Copenhell (16–19 June) and Heartland (27–29 May).

Vig Festival (8–10July), Thy Rock (25–26 June), Nibe Festival (30 June to 3 July), RingstedFestival (5–7 August), Langelandsfestival (18–25 July), Radio ABC Beach Party(17 July) and Kløften Festival (24–26 June) have also been called off.

The government’sreopening agreement states that 2,000-capacity events are permitted,provided attendees are divided into sections with a maximum of 200 people ineach.


After 1 August,the capacity limit will be raised to 5,000 with sections of up to 500attendees. Events with 10,000 attendees will not take place until it is‘assessed as sound from a health point of view’.

The agreement comes after the government’s expert advisory group warned that festivalswith more than 10,000 participants should not be carried out as usual,which cast serious doubt over the viability of Denmark’s 2021 festival season.

The organisers of Roskilde,which typically gathers 130,000 people each year, say its enforced cancellationis not surprising.

“We are devastated by the fact that we can’t gettogether at our festival and contribute to recreating the communities that thecorona crisis has destroyed for so many,” says a statementon the festival’s website.

“The cancellationis very serious for the festival, for the charity society behind it and for ourcommunity. And it is serious for the artistic environments and the growthsegments of culture.”


Esben Marcher, head of Danish live music association Dansk Live,dubbed the government’s plan an “over-cautious reopening that does not leavemuch hope for the festivals”. “It’s a day of mourning,” he added.

Smukfest spokesman, Søren Eskildsen,believes that government acted hastily: “We are extremely annoyed that thepoliticians are writing off the festivals already, as we believe that it is tooearly to make such decisive decisions on the basis of conjecture about what thesituation will look like in three months’ time and what can and cannot be doneat that time.”

The reopening agreement has effectively rendered Denmark’s DKK 500 million (€67.2m) safety net redundantfor the organisers of festivals and major events.

Announced inMarch, the safety net was designed to cover organisers of recurring events withat least 350 participants, taking place between 1 May and 30 September 2021, inthe event that the Covid-19 situation results in the cancellation, postponementor significant changes to an event.

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