A lot easier to get into than Berghain.
The best party in Europe is in a muddy field with ‘Where’s Wally’ impersonators at a three hour Darude ‘Sandstorm’ tribute DJ set.
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That party is in the Roskilde Festival ‘Dream City’, an audience community project that’s part of Northern Europe’s biggest festival. The eight day event is attended by 130,000 people, but a huge number never leave the campsite because they’re too busy partying.
The attendees of Roskilde Festival are encouraged to create camp identities with unique decoration and enormous portable handmade sound systems. Camps with a particularly strong philosophy (and often legendary party status), apply to be part of the Dream City.
Successful applicants come down to the campsite eight weeks in advance of the event to build their camps – solid wooden structures with unique designs, entertainment, and sometimes even solar panels.
The camps are varied, and have t-shirts and stickers that they place on visitors. The Camp of Ice and Fire is Game of Thrones themed. It is built around a weirwood tree “because we think it will be very important next season,” camp organiser Mikkel tells me. “On Tuesday we had a Night’s Watch party and there were like 100-200 people here. We made people sit in front of the tree and perform the vow.”
Why does he think the Dream City needs a Game of Thrones camp? “We have people from all over stopping to compliment us on our camp. They’re all fans of the show and we can stop and exchange predictions and thoughts about upcoming series together. It’s like a real life fan forum.”
The notorious ‘party triangle’ at Dream City is a collaboration of four different camps, Where’s Waldo, Dating for Farmers, Crazy Legs and the Zoo Tower. Together they have built a ‘Metro Station’ for the Dream City. They’ve been working on the construction since 2010, purely “because it’s fun,” explains Christoffer from Crazy Legs. “All our friends are down here doing the construction together. The Dream City is definitely the best place to go out because it’s a collective. There is nothing going on underneath the surface, no one profiting. In the party triangle, instead of competing with different music, we share our sound systems using wireless so we can host epic parties together.”
The idea is echoed by Nilje and Filip from the Good Neighbour camp. “Doing Dream City is a whole different kind of festival experience. We’re all part of the community, we have loads of fun doing the construction and we can host whatever parties we want. We hold a three hour ‘Sandstorm’ tribute party. We host techno yoga. We look forward to this week all year and we’re already planning our camp for Dream City 2018.”
But the Dream City is not a concept that can be easily replicated outside the festival world. “Someone would try and make a profit out of it. There would be sponsorships. This works because it’s for our own interest, to offer the festival something different, a good party. You can’t experience a night out like this at bars,” says Filip.
Ida, from the Where’s Waldo camp, is dressed head to toe in red and white stripes and believes the carefree nature of Roskilde is what makes a night out at the Dream City so good. “You don’t have to worry about looking hot. I haven’t worn make up all week or washed my hair in several days. My clothes look like shit. I don’t care. I’m just having fun.”
Jonas, ‘Event Manager’ at The Library camp (who have an assortment of books, magazines hammocks and poetry readings), laughs when I ask if the Dream City is the best night out in Europe. “Well I’ve only been to 25 European cities. Now I don’t have any statistics, but of those 25, there is no doubt in my mind that the Roskilde Dream City is the best night out in Europe. ⅗ of the people here are not here for the music. They’re here to party.”
So put your Berghain rejection behind you and head to Roskilde Festival – community partying doesn’t have a guestlist.