Roskilde 2019: Festival Preview

Denmark's Roskilde Festival starts almost as soon as Glastonbury finishes; we take a closer look at the 2019 line-up

Preview by Max Sefton | 18 Jun 2019
  • Roskilde

How do you spend late June if you didn’t get a Glastonbury ticket?

Well, across the North Sea, the Danes may just have the answer in the form of Roskilde, one of Europe’s biggest festivals and a bill packed with huge stars both modern (Cardi B, Travis Scott) and from decades past (Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, The Cure).

Taking place in the eponymous Danish city – home to a Viking Ship Museum and a gothic, twin-spired cathedral should you fancy taking in some local culture – Roskilde is within a stone’s throw of Copenhagen and a quick flight to the UK.

In recent times Denmark has been rather overshadowed musically by its Scandinavian siblings, but MØ flies the flag for the hosts alongside Farveblind’s pumping electronica, widescreen synth rock from Spleen United and the well-established party starters Scarlet Pleasure.

Wednesday night sees Christine (or is it just Chris now?) and the Queens deliver flamboyant high energy pop and Skepta drop tracks from his more mature new record Ignorance is Bliss. While the organisers haven’t done anything quite as eye-catching as Primavera’s gender balanced line-up, they have certainly tapped into many of the trends of the past two years.

Alongside Latinx acts smashing their way into the charts like never before, 2018 also saw Spain’s Rosalía go global with her amazing fusion of electronic beats and traditional flamenco influences. She’s also up on Wednesday night, providing a sharp contrast from perpetually-touring Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan.

Elsewhere there's a strong selection of African acts on the bill who are not in the typical crossover mould (Ghetto Kumbé, Santrofi and more), all set for major slots. Could this be the next wave of music to go global?

If you’re into hip-hop be sure to hit the main stage for headliner (and Mr Kylie Jenner) Travis Scott on Thursday night but also make time to check out the unusually strong group of US rappers on the undercard. Denzel Curry, Sheck Wes and Joey Purp, plus South London’s brilliant Flohio are all coming for Scott at the top of the hip-hop tree, while Brockhampton bring a multi-headed, psychedelic vibe with tracks from their new album Iridescence.

On the Friday night, the UK seems to get its highest-profile showing with dance veterans Underworld, heavenly psych voyagers Spiritualized and the still socially acceptable half of The Smiths Johnny Marr. There's also Sheffield’s Bring Me the Horizon, who have somehow become the UK’s biggest guitar band, and hotly-tipped newcomers like Black Midi and Octavian. Brexit Britain may not be making many European friends at the moment but these young acts show that UK acts can still break through abroad.

For those of you who don’t necessarily relish the prospect of screeching guitars, there’s also an interesting experimental side to the Friday night with Aldous Harding, Weyes Blood and Julia Holter all pushing at the limits of what it means to be a singer-songwriter and Yves Tumor making brilliant unclassifiable music. And for fun in the sun and a bit of a dance it’s hard to beat Vampire Weekend, back with their first new record in six years, and Robyn, the effortlessly cool aunt of modern pop.

Finally on Saturday the multi-talented and phenomenally funky Janelle Monáe lays down her claim to be the most exciting performer on the planet right now, before discerning listeners have to choose between Jorja Smith’s infectious R'n'B, the unhinged heaviness of Converge or The Cure’s legendary pop-goth gloom.

Scandinavia might be best known for sparkling pop and scorched earth metal, but this year’s line-up has something for everyone, from late night jazz with The Comet is Coming to Ross From Friends’ lo-fi house music. See you there?

Roskilde Festival takes place in Roskilde, Denmark, 29 Jun-6 Jul