I took a trip to the Danish capital city to see the tenth year of Copenhell, a four-day, metal festival which attracts several thousand fans each year. It is held at the abandoned b&w shipyard site where, for over a hundred years, heavy engines and ships were manufactured. Four iconic smokestacks line the sky. a large array of bands performed, including progressive metal band tool, and the classic 80s group, scorpions, as well as the theatric act of rob zombie, who always puts on a good show.
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Of course, the city has a lot more to offer than eardrum-blasting metal. Copenhagen is the host to many music festivals, including one of the largest jazz festivals in the world and the annual Roskilde Festival (happening now until July 6, 2019). With music genres ranging from hip hop to rock and electronic, there is something for everybody. If you make it through the entire eight-day roskilde festival, you deserve a medal. It takes some fortitude. Keep on reading for tips on other music events, local insights and more.
Photo by Yvette de Wit on Unsplash (@yvettedewit)
Other than a diverse line up of metal bands from different countries and generations, the festival offers activities such as metal karaoke, demonic art, and, if it’s your cup of tea, car smashing (do it on the first day though – after that only the frame’s left, which can be hard to destroy if you’re not a lumberjack). The food is actually very decent for festival food- though don’t expect anything Michelin-rated. They cater to all food groups- from rich deserts and barbequed meats to vegan feasts (from Hell).
Roskilde is an eight-day music festival that hosts many different genres and some of the most successful musicians from around the world. I haven’t had the chance to visit but its legacy lives on. This year’s line-up includes such artists as Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Travis Scott, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill and The Cure. In addition, there is a ton of art and activism highlighting themes such as environmental sustainability, a prominent aspect of Danish society. Roskilde is a non-profit organization, meaning the profits accrued are donated to charities that foster community development, promote equality and strive for a greener world.
The Copenhagen Jazz Festival, which has been running every July since 1979, is today one of the largest music festivals in Europe, with over 850,000 visitors every year. Jazz legends such as Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins have performed there. For jazz lovers around the globe it is certainly a must-see in a city as beautiful and culturally rich as Copenhagen. It is just around the corner so if you’re feeling it you should get your tickets now!
Midsummer Solstice Celebration
The Danish celebrate the midsummer solstice on the 23rdof June every year. It is a great excuse to get the family and friends together for a wine-soaked feast and create a massive bonfire on the beach. The tradition takes much of its roots from Norse mythology and longstanding European tradition. The smoke from the fire was originally intended to keep witches away. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the Danish coast if you are lucky enough to be there at the right time of year.
Even though I was there for Copenhell, I took some time to explore the best spots to hit for the Nomad Community in Copenhagen anytime of the year. These are some of the recommendations I got from my own experience as well as insights from local Danes.
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Where to Stay
Per usual, we’d recommend an Air BnB for the utmost comfort and convenience. I’d recommend checking out places close to the city centre and Christiania – a must-see area located a walk’s distance from the centre. Also known as Freetown, Christiania is a relatively quiet village stocked with hippies where inhabitants abide by their own set of laws when it comes to cannabis (though don’t worry- it is perfectly safe). Surprisingly, this has been largely tolerated by the Danish government and police for decades.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel, a great choice is always The Square Hotel. It is a cool and trendy hotel that lays within walking distance of the booming nightlife in the heart of town. The price range is also decent. If you are aiming for something more budget-friendly, then there are tons of cheap but quality hostels to choose from close to the city centre. The Generator Hostel and The Downtown Hostel are both great choices in prime locations. The room rates usually hover around £45 per night.
Where to Eat
If you ask any local for advice on the best eateries in town, there is a good chance they will direct to the Gasoline Grill. Its popularity is well deserved. The burgers are unreal. But if you’re not a meat eater don’t worry – the vegetarian Green Burger is fire.Reffen is also a great spot located in area of Refshaleøen that offers you plenty of choices. It’s a street food market including plenty of interesting dishes sold out of stalls and stores selling fresh groceries.
Fleisch is one for the diehard meat lovers. Located in Copenhagen’s meatpacking district, Fleisch is a butcher shop as well as an eatery and sit-down restaurant. One menu item that is not to be missed is the bacon-infused cocktail, with many varieties to choose from. Yum. Last but not least, Slotskælderen is the place to go if you are looking for an authentic experience and a menu full of classic Danish dishes. The restaurant dates back to 1910 and is perfect for lunch and dinner.
Where to Drink
There are too many great places to go out for a drink in Copenhagen to list them all here. Some of the standouts that I picked up were Borneteatret and Charlie Scotts. Both predominantly jazz bars, Borneteatret is located within Christiania and features live music throughout the week. Drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is buzzing if you come at a good time. It is open very late every night. Charlie Scotts is a little more lowkey: it is a small, public jazz bar with a warm atmosphere.
Warpigs Brewpub is a microbrewery and bar with a great selection of craft brews. For any Americans out there feeling a little homesick in Europe, this place will set you right. Texas BBQ, American style beer, great music – you’d think you were at home.
Where to Party
If you are a fan of techno, cheap drinks, mind-blowing lightshows and smoke machines then look no further: Culture Box is an epic techno club in the heart of the city, packed with a friendly young crowd and a lot of energy. If you are a night owl, then this is the place for you. Opening time is 11pm and it goes till 8am on Fridays and Saturdays. If you want to get some drinks before opening, the owners have another bar around the corner. There are also plenty of others close by to choose from.