HOUSE OF SCANDINAVIA
Roskilde to rock the House of Scandinavia
In many ways, SXSW and Roskilde Festival are soul brothers – both started out as smallish indie music festivals that have, over the years, grown into unmissable and integral parts of their respective countries cultural calendars.
With this in mind It makes perfect sense that Roskilde Festival organizers should be involved with booking events at House of Scandinavia. The venue is well-suited to low key live performances and will give the chance for many bands from all over Scandinavia to showcase their talent to both domestic and international audiences.
“We were contacted by the Danish ministry of culture, with an opportunity to showcase Nordic culture in the US,” says Roskilde Festival Program Director Anders Wahrén. “As a non-profit festival we want to support and promote art and culture, specifically from the Scandinavian region, making sure that there is a sustainable and diverse environment for the new artists we push forward.”
At the House of Scandinavia in Austin last year, Norwegian DJ/producer duo Stargate got the party well and truly started with a well curated set on the opening night, while several other acts appeared onsite over the duration of the festival. The expertise of the Roskilde Festival team promises even more this time around, and it’s not limited to musicians alone, says Wahrén.
We can promise an interesting taster menu of Scandinavia, that will include music, talks, art and food. To underline this, one of the highlights will be a collaboration we’ve arranged with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present an in-conversation with Magrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition.On top of that, we’re working with Art2030 to present artist Lillibeth Cuenca Rasmussen’s “Tow with the Flow,” a provocative critique on consumption, and last but not least, a Ja Ja Ja networking event and showcase which will include performances by the bands Death by Unga Bunga from Norway, Shitkid from Sweden, Lowly from Denmark and Black Midi from the UK. The latter two will also be playing at this year’s Roskilde Festival.”
Unsurprisingly Wahrén has been a regular visitor to SXSW over the years.
“I think this will be the 10th time since 2004. We’ve actually had a small delegation from Roskilde attending from the very beginning of SXSW. It’s a great place for us to pick up on new trends as well as checking out specific new artists that we often then go on to book for future editions. We always keep a few Roskilde Festival spots open in our program until after SXSW.”
Returning to the theme of the similarities between Roskilde Festival and SXSW, even though the two have grown into different entities since their earliest inceptions, a distinct ethos runs through the veins of both according to Wahrén.
“We share a burning desire to give our audiences something that they did not know they needed in their life,” says Wahrén. “Of course Roskilde is a different creature because we’re not as business-focused as SXSW, but in my opinion we have that curiosity and the will to push boundaries in common.
“I can only speak for Roskilde,” continues Wahrén, “and I think there are big differences between the two organizations,” says Wahrén. “But being based on the involvement of volunteers, and of the surrounding society along with a constant will to renew, has kept us on track for almost 50 years – with 2018 marking the point where the festival was twice as old as the average guest at 48 and 24 years respectively.”
Visitors to SXSW will have the chance to see the collaboration at close quarters throughout the operational period of the House of Scandinavia. And the chances are fairly good that should they do so, they may well discover that thing they didn’t realize they were looking for all these years.