It is in the spirit of the Roskilde Music Festival to promote human rights through music, the festival’s board members explain
By Marion Chen
One of the first days of the festival Edward Snowden was interviewed live from Moscow at Roskilde Music Festival. More than 16,000 young people attended. “It was amazing to see all these young people, sitting on the ground, silently and seriously, watching the screening of the interview”, says Peter Hvalkof, one of the music programmers of the Roskilde Music Festival.
Snowden made a speech of the needs of human rights and afterwards answered questions from the audience.
Human rights is a natural topic
Having an interview with a whistleblower needing protection from prison because of using his rights to free speech is natural for the people behind the festival. Actually the main theme of the Roskilde Music Festival 2016 is human rights, freedom of speech and equality.
This also explains the booking of the Syrian Music Orchestra – a band with many of its members being refugees from the war, says Peter Hvalkof.
“It was a powerful opening of the music festival. About 40,000 people were attending during the entire show. I think these kind of concerts make people open their hearts and their minds, and realise that we are living in a globalized world. We can not close down the borders“ says Peter Hvalkof. “Open the borders, open your minds, this is the philosophy and basic ideology behind Roskilde Music Festival.”
It is the first time for the Roskilde Music Festival to book a Syrian band, and together with the interview with Edward Snowden and many other of the projects focusing on human rights Roskilde Festival managed to send a political message Peter Hvalkof says. “I was really happy to see that the Danish media made the Syrian concert a top headline story. They feel that the festival stands out among other music festivals, highlighting that there is a political agenda behind the Roskilde Music Festival”.
More than music
The people behind Roskilde Festival believe that music itself can improve human rights in the world.
“This is also why musicians very often are the first in line to suffer together with other artists, writers and journalists in hostile regime changes”, Peter Hvalkof says.
According to Marianne Iversen, another board member of Roskilde Music Festival it is the obligation of the Roskilde Festival “to speak more than just music”. And music has a lot of power to do so.
”If you compare the different senses’ impact on the brain, music has the strongest impact”, she says.