Damon Albarn to make his return to Rosklide Festival

The Blur frontman will join The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music but will it be another five hour set?

Damon Albarn is set to kick off proceedings on Rosklide’s Orange Stage this June with The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music and Guests.

The opening of the Orange Stage at the Danish festival is known as a prestigious task, with their performance seeing Albarn teaming up again with The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music conductor Issam Rafea.

They first played together at the Damascus Opera House in 2008 and Albarn later worked with Rafea and the Orchestra when they appeared on the Gorillaz track ‘White Flag’.

The Orchestra, together with Rafea, later joined Gorillaz on their 2010 ‘Escape to Plastic Beach’ World Tour, which also took them to Roskilde Festival.


It’ll be the eighth time Albarn has graced the Rosklide stage, with the star putting on an impressive five-hour set last year with Africa Express, which resulted in him being carried off stage by his tour manager.

Speaking of Albarn’s involvement, Roskilde Festival spokeswoman Christina Bilde said: “This will be an extraordinary, fun, moving and unpredictable opening show. To open our Orange Stage with a Syrian national orchestra together with a large group of Western musicians is a way for us to show how music and culture can make people come together and overcome borders and conflicts.

“Currently, several European countries have shut their borders, and many people view refugees as a burden. Through music we’re trying to show how people can be regarded as resources and offer something to the new communities they are now part of. Additionally, it’s very important for us to show and highlight the proud Syrian cultural history that is currently being demolished by the country’s civil war.”

The likes of LCD Soundsystem, New Order, PJ Harvey, MØ, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tenacious and Wiz Khalifa will also perform at the event, with more acts set to be announced.

Rosklide takes place between June 25 – July 2 near Copenhagen, Denmark, with Albarn and The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music and Guests performing on June 29. The concert is presented by Africa Express.

Find out more about Rosklide Festival here.