Friday, April 17, 2009

An Open Letter To Roskilde Festival

I'm sorry I have to write this, but I need to tell you how unhappy I am with your line-up this year.

Firstly, let me explain my background. I was introduced to Roskilde by The Devil, she rated it as the best festival in the world, and raved about the time she had at the 2006 event (headliners Bob Dylan, Guns & Roses, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, sub-headliners Primal Scream, Kaizer Chiefs, Deftones, Placebo, Scissor Sisters among others)

I went and was soaked in 2007, but amazed by the acts provided. Pretty much everyone on the main stage and the Arena stage were people I'd heard of and were interested in seeing. Okay, so there were a lot of American and British bands, but they were, for the most part, rock acts. While I stood in the horizontal rain patiently waiting for my wristband, I heard the Killers. From the leaking tent you provided, I heard The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Queens of the Stone Age. I dragged myself through mud to watch My Chemical Romance and Machinehead in the tent. I stood all day in front of the main stage watching Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Flaming Lips and Basement Jaxx.

Despite the soaking, despite the mud, despite the leaky tents, we came back for 2008. We bought our tickets before the headliners were announced. We were delighted with your free Get-A-Tent tickets to make up for the debacle of the previous year's tents. We waited with bated breath to see what delights were in store for us.

And you announced Grinderman, Slayer, My Bloody Valentine and Neil Young. We didn't complain as we felt sure there would be other acts added to make the journey worthwhile. You added Slayer, Gnarls Barkly and Radiohead. We noted with delight that we could avoid Radiohead fans by going to see the final Hellacopters performance. We hoped Bullet For My Valentine would be as good in the tent as MCR had been the previous year. And then you announced Jay-Z....

I mean, really. What were you thinking? And he was closing the festival? What. The. Fuck. A rapper/hip hop bloke closing the Roskilde Festival? Had you taken leave of your senses?

The Festival itself had much better weather than the previous year. Which was a relief, as we spent most of it as far away from the main stages as possible. Seasick Steve was in too small a venue and we saw nothing. MGMT were too far from anywhere to get to easily. And Slayer were only funny because of infants dancing to them whilst wearing headphones. The "highlight" for me was the fact that it started to piss down with rain just as Jay-Z was about to come on stage and everybody legged it. We managed to squeeze into the tent for Hot Chip and dried off by bouncing up and down with the crowd there - until they ruined it by finishing their set with a cover of "Time After Time". Way to go to ruin a vibe.

And so to this year. It started off with some promise: Slipknot, Madness, Nine Inch Nails. And some dross, Coldplay, Lily Allen and the fifteen years past their "prime" Oasis. It will pick up, we said, and even though the disastrous fall of the GBP against the DKK meant the tickets were nearly twice as expensive as last year, we bought early. We also dutifully filled in the Artist Request forms so you could see what we wanted.

And then you announced Lil' Wayne and Kanye West. And, just for good measure, the fucking Pet Shop Boys. Oh how we fumed. But we believed that you would, Roskilde Festival, pull out some big names when you announced the main line up for this year's event. And in some ways, you did. Not the ones we were expecting though, sadly.

Grace Jones?!? Who the hell asked for Grace Jones? Why do you bother asking for band requests and then book Grace Jones? Where's Faith No More? Where's Limp Bizkit? Where's the upcoming metal bands? Didn't this used to be a rock festival? Why the obsession with hip-hop?

Consider this a warning. Please get some better acts or we won't be back.

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