Summer Festival Guide: Northside Festival
Aarhus, Denmark, Friday 12th – Sunday 14th June
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Bagging an absolute bargain of a return journey from Stansted for just £50 before wheeling our suitcases in to a cosy little AirBnB apartment in the centre of town, my friend Jessica and I felt that we had done very well as we unpacked our bags and headed out to see what this university town had to offer.
Aarhus is renowned for it’s musical history, in particular for it’s jazz and rock scene. So it is no surprise that this year’s Northside Festival, held on a hill in a small park just on the edge of town, attracted big names such as Ben Howard and alt-J.
Despite playing on the central Green and Blue stages, respectively, Northside is a tiny festival by British standards, making getting an up close and personal view at the front of the crowd for these acts a breeze. From such a standpoint, the majesty of Ben Howard’s I Forget Where We Were and alt-J’s cover of Bill Withers’ Lovely Day truly washed over us.
Northside also played host to some rather more energetic artists. Denmark’s home grown answer to Sporty Spice, Mø, invigorated the crowd with her latest collaboration Lean On with Major Lazer whilst I got my first taste of Years & Years as they performed hits like Shine.
Northside set itself aside from my previous festival, Wildlife. Despite having a much smaller line up, the organisers demonstrated that there is much more to events like these than the music. The entire site was beautifully constructed, adorned with sculptures, paintings and a myriad of unconventional furniture allowing for enjoyment of the music from pretty much any angle. The city of Aarhus outside the gates is also steeped in history and is home to some very friendly and accommodating people, making our final few days exploring the town once the festival had finished very pleasant.
The Good Bits
1. The view: The festival is small and built on a hill, meaning you can sit back and eat lunch whilst looking down over the crowd with an undisturbed view of the stage, or get right up to the front without feeling too crushed.
2. The food: Loads of great stalls featuring cuisine from across the globe, along with some brilliant cocktail bars. Makes a welcome change from cider and chips.
3. Very green: Denmark is a very clean country, so there were bins left, right and centre and a real ethos of trying to keep things eco-friendly. The place was littered with nothing but bicycles, as the Danes seem to cycle everywhere.
The Not So Good Bits
1. Aarhus is quiet: If you appreciate art galleries and history, Aarhus is the town for you. Otherwise, if you’re on the hunt for somewhere a little more upbeat to spend your time once the festival’s finished, Copenhagen’s your best bet.
2. It was too loud: This might sound like a weird one, but the music was uncomfortably loud. So much so that the sound from one stage ended up clashing with another and I ended up putting earplugs in. Hopefully the organisers will turn it down a notch for next year.
All in all…
Great fun overseas for less than the cost of a festival in the UK. A brilliant first impression of Denmark, so I’ve got my sites set on Roskilde in Copenhagen next year.
To hear Jack's favourite songs from Northside Festival, click here to listen on Spotify...