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We need a new rhythm for 2021

Denmark's Roskilde Festival, Live Nation Denmark, Smukfest, Tinderbox and NorthSide pen an open letter appealing for political support

14 Dec 2020

Roskilde 2022 is set to go ahead from 25 June to 2 July

The consequences for the major festivals, concerts and events could be huge if the events of 2021 are also cancelled. But the festival and concert industry believes there is a sound way forward. To reach all the way, we need political support and ear splitting.

In a normal year, we in the festival and concert industry have the pleasure of selling 1.7 million tickets for concerts at venues around the country. We sell more than 1.1 million tickets for this summer’s many music festivals and a further 4.3 million tickets for concerts organised by associations, organisations or local bands in the town hall.

However, the corona infection has created a new reality where we have been hit hard and could not create experiences for anything close to the number of people we care for. It was a necessity because we had to take care of ourselves and each other. We support that.

2021 does not have to be like 2020
But the rhythm from 2020 does not have to continue in 2021. We must have found solutions on how we can live in a society with corona. We know more about the virus now than we did in the first wave of the pandemic: treatment options are better, test options are better, and vaccines are on the way.

It’s time for us to think and work together across disciplines to find good solutions

It’s time for us to think and work together across disciplines to find good solutions for how we can once again – when the time is right – come together in communities and loosen up the restrictions.

Here we as festival and concert organisers can contribute, not only in relation to our own events, but in relation to the whole community. As an industry, we have the expertise needed for large assemblies to be handled safely and securely. We believe that with our work we can contribute to other sectors and industries having better opportunities to return to their normal rhythm and level of activity.

We need political support
However, the support, prioritisation and cooperation of the population, the health authorities and the government are crucial. Only with your help is it possible to have an active and vibrant festival and concert life in 2021.

We are in dialogue with the ministry of culture and other relevant authorities. We are happy about that. But we need to work faster and more structured across disciplines if we are to get ready for the coming season.

In this connection, we have of course followed the work of giving permission to hold the European Handball Championship, and we are pleased on behalf of handball and that the rapid test for screening is part of a larger plan for implementation, where the public test capacity is used before, during and after events.

We are working on a similar model as the European Championships in Handball, where rapid testing for screening is part of a larger plan. We feel we have a responsibility to make sure that happens. A responsibility that extends beyond ourselves.

We believe that we can contribute to other sectors and industries having better opportunities to return to activity

We have a responsibility to the hundreds of thousands of ticket holders as well as the many artists, large and small suppliers and voluntary organisations who have their primary income with us.

And we owe it to the entire festival and concert life to get to the finish line. It has taken decades to build the strong festival culture we have in Denmark. The environments and creativity that we as organisations have created in all our diversity risk being lost in the corona crisis.

That is why we are appealing for political support. We can only reach the goal with their help, knowledge and patience when we develop and test new formats. We need your confidence that we in Denmark can succeed in paving the way and solving this great task.

With that confidence, we are convinced that we can find the right rhythm and once again gather many people for a dance that is not about the corona, but about meeting in the joy of music, community and life.


By Signe Lopdrup, director of Roskilde Festival; Søren Eskildsen, spokesman for Smukfest; Brian Nielsen, director of Tinderbox and NorthSide; and Jesper Christensen, director of Live Nation Denmark.

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