It’s that time of the year again – Distortion has just swept through Copenhagen again. For those of you who haven’t heard about it yet, it is a one of the kind festival combing underground music and art, which roughly translates to massive street parties, eardrum-bursting beats, an infinite stream of Danish beer, and hundreds of thousands of Viking party animals flooding the streets of the city – although it is rapidly gaining popularity among foreign party goers too. Rolling Stones Magazine called Distortion a “relentless, free-form party monster” and it is not that hard to see why – read on and find out how this festival has earned its name.
Distortion in a nutshell
Distortion takes place every year at the start of June and goes on for 5 days straight. Every day it takes over a different district of central Copenhagen, with multiple stages and DJ stations spread out across up to 44 streets at a time. The festival attracts a great line-up of famous and upcoming international DJ’s and some 300,000+ life loving people – making it a massive chaos and turning the city upside down.
Distortion is wild, versatile and never boring. You are bound to come across something wacky around every corner – be it in the form of street art, foam parties, or a sauna (yes, why not) right in the middle of the street. All that combined with the newest of the dance-techno-electronic music, a flow of beer anywhere you go, and the wonderful city views in the background make up for an experience of a lifetime!
And if the street parties don’t leave you completely run-down you can always choose to go to one of the many after parties. By purchasing a pass you get an access to the very best party venues, as well as night parties at some of the less mainstream locations such as warehouses, theaters or swimming pools. Either way, you will probably leave every last ounce of energy dancing and jumping around to the music like there is no tomorrow – only to find yourself doing it all over again the next day. Distortion is not for the faint-hearted!
What makes Distortion different
If you are still not convinced that this madness of a festival deserves a place at the top of your bucket list, here are three good reasons you might want to reconsider it:
1. It is free! That is right, attending the street parties won’t cost you a buck. That is unless you would like to contribute by a voluntary purchase of a wristband which supports the production of events and cleaning of the streets. And considering how much mess the Distortion-tsunami leaves after itself, it must be expensive (it is quite amazing that the city council allows this to happen in the first place!) However, the cleaning fairies must be doing a terrific job because by 5 am the city districts that resembled a war zone just a few hours ago are shiny and squeaky clean again.
2. Despite the party-hard spirit, there is something there for everyone. Is hip-hop, punk rock, Gaystortion, or a rather unusual chill-out at a gas station more like your cup of tea? Or perhaps you feel wasted after partying like an animal for three days in a row? There are Michelin star ranked restaurants serving dinners at a fraction of the price, and classical music concerts for those that want to feel, you know, human again. It is also not uncommon to see parents with their toddlers strolling through the streets – equipped with noise blocking headphones. Danish kids learn how to have fun when they’re young.
3. Last, but not the least, Distortion offers a safe and friendly environment. That is not to say that trouble never happens, but compared to the majority of festivals across the world, even with a crowd of this size, you may find it quite peaceful. Be it due to the good-natured Scandinavians, or the fact that the police are always within a arm’s reach, I don’t know – but in my 3 years of Distortion-ing, I have yet to see a street fight.
How it all began
By now you are probably curious – so how does one throw a party like this? It all started when Frenchman, Thomas Fleurquin, moved to Copenhagen in 1998 and started experimenting with small events, varying from barbecues to party bus rides for 30-200 guests in various parts of the city. It soon gained an increasingly larger following, which led to signing a contract with the Copenhagen City Council and setting up a non-profit organization. Soon after, Distortion really took off and became the longest party that celebrates culture, youth, and Copenhagen life!
Images from: here