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Roskilde Festival Playing With New Experience On Security

The music has already started to play on this year Roskilde Festival in Denmark. The Danish band Envelope played as the first band on the stage in Camping West. It's a so-called prologue to the official opening on 28. July 2001. In the four days until Sunday the 1st of July around 70,000 festival guests can see and hear 150 bands, solo acts and DJ's on what is going to be one of the largest festivals in Europe. But there has been a lot to do for festival organizers during the past year.

After the tragedy last year, where nine people were killed during the Pearl Jam-concert, there has been a lot of activity in proportion to improve security all over the festival. Now long lists of improvements have been carried out, and in May the Roskilde Festival was approved by the local police. The Danish Minister of Justice, Frank Jensen, has said that he now relies on the fact that the festival has learned so much of last year's tragedy that nothing like it will happen this year.

"What happened last year was paradoxical for the festival. Everyone in the festival business has pointed out, that Roskilde Festival was the one to do most about security. But now we have got another consciousness about what can happen in defiance of high security. We believed that our readiness could handle the situation last year, but it couldn't." said Esben Danielsen from the Roskilde Festival to VIP-Booking News.

Esben Danielsen is a part of the spokesman function on Roskilde Festival, and like the rest of the organisers he is looking forward to the festival this year, because every little security detail has been examined. A lot of experience done in Roskilde has now been passed on to other festivals in Europe. In order to be on the front edge of development, Roskilde Festival has, together with Crowd Management Strategies, one of the leading companies in audience security, produced a folder, "You and the Festival Crowd", telling about dangerous situations in a festival crowd and what to do. Economically, the folder has been supported by Oasis, Pet Shop Boys, Roskilde Festival and by The Roskilde 2000 Tragedy Fund.

"I think every festival in Europe has used the tragedy and our subsequent experiences to focus on their security and to make improvements."

In the organisation Yourope, a union of large festivals in Europe, there has been a special seminar held focusing on festival security. On that seminar security experts from the whole world were invited in order to update their best and finest knowledge. Everything that has been done in the last year seems to have been acknowledged by musicians and guests.

"Because of the big efforts in security work, we have been delayed the festival for one month, therefore the festival has not sold out yet as it otherwise could have been. But the ticket sales are going very well. And we are very glad to see that many of the new festival guests haven't been discouraged from coming to the festival. We were afraid that up to one fourth of the new guests would wait one year to see if everything is okay at the festival. However, that fear seems to be groundless. Nothing indicates that people are staying away."

Some of the improvements at Roskilde Festival are, that the audience area near the Orange and Green Stage will be divided in sections, and staff will ensure that only a suitable number of people get access to these sections. People from the staff and special front guards will move around among the people in front of the stages and focus on their well being. By every stage – except by the camping stage and Blue Stage – large text screens will be mounted which can bring messages to the audience.

Among bands and musicians, there has been a large acknowledgement of what has been done to elevate security at the festival. According to Esben Danielsen no band has been sceptical in playing at Roskilde Festival.

"We have experienced the opposite. Every band has been in sympathy with Roskilde Festival. An example on that attitude is the band Cure. Because of the tragedy last year, the Cure concert was cancelled, and this year we were contacted by the members of Cure, because they wanted to play on the festival in spite of the fact that they now are working in the studio to record a new album. They want to use the festival to start up playing again " said Esben Danielsen.

The Cures only gig this summer will be the concert at Roskilde Festival, which will close the Orange Stage on Sunday.