Roskilde Festival '99, Denmark - July 1-4
In an over-regulated world where commercial interests slowly corrode the human spirit, the Roskilde Festival has for many people become something like an oasis. A place where quality outruns quantity and success isn't restricted to the notion of profit. This policy of tolerance and enthusiasm has created a relaxed atmosphere through the years. You simply see many more smiling people in Roskilde than in most places. Police officers and other personnel included.
The 1999 edition of the festival, the 29th in order, was no exception to this atmospherical triumph. Organisationally very few problems occurred which made the stay very pleasant for the 65 000 visitors (wisely, the audience this year was limited to this figure). The weather also seemed to be taken by the good mood. Neither too hot or too cold and despite several nasty looking clouds, almost no rain.
Musically this year's festival was somewhat of a middle-year. But with artists like REM, Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Suede and The Chemical Brothers it would also be misleading to call the line-up weak. The highlights though, were to be found among the lesser known bands. Like the excellent minimalistic techno of Mouse on Mars and the harsh electronics of u-ziq. Orbital proved to be surprisingly danceable live and probably moved the feet of even the most die hard Metallica-fan.
Marilyn Manson (pic) seemed to be in a fairly good mood and made a powerful gig despite the absence of most visual effects from their regular tour.
Ministry, in a much too early placed performance, unfortunately had some problems with the sound. Al Jourgensen is still very cool though. Jello Biafra's appearance was something like an aggro-political stand-up comedy. Very sharp and necessary criticism of an American society on its way down the drain. Other highlights include Coldcut, The Creatures and bob hund.
In summary it is fair to say that the 1999 edition of The Roskilde Festival was a bit less interesting than last year's. But the organisation was superb and the great atmosphere made me in such a good mood that it actually leaves me no choice: I'm determined to return next year. /Erik Almgren