Review: Distortion Street Party, Copenhagen

Once a year, the streets of Copenhagen are shut down and transformed into a full-bodied festival of music, art, food and drink. It’s a declared celebration of Copenhagen’s nightlife, a week of emerging dance music and orchestrated chaos. All in all, it’s just one hell of a good week, and here’s why.

The first two days sees some serioDistortion Copenhagenusly crazy free street parties occupy Norrebro and then Vesterbro. Over 40 stages spring up on each day, playing host to some of  the 80,000+ attendees that flood the streets, and the stages are just as diverse as the festival-goers: everyone from nightlife royalty, to international brands, the prime minister and even the local church group host stages. It doesn’t stop there, testament to Denmark’s liberal and free-spirited ways: parties are set up on trains, in canals, and in front of the parliament. There are tunnels that are turned into techno sanctuaries and a bridge is even shut down temporarily for the notorious ‘4-minute rave’ – involving a bunch of people taking over a bridge with some bass heavy music and fist pumping like their lives depend on it – for 4 minutes only – and then the bridge is re-opened to traffic. In essence, the street parties are pretty much the unrestrained, wild big brother to Notting Hill Carnival. Once the sun sets, people flock to the parties hosted in clubs, warehouses, public halls and even cafes turned clubs. International DJs, local music heroes and emerging talent are booked and serenade party-goers till the early AM. The great thing about Distortion’s street party setup is nearly anyone can host a stage or party afterwards, which creates a wealth of diversity many other traditional street carnivals or festivals lack.

IMG_4239Distortion Ø is the two day final party, which requires a ticket. It’s hosted at an old harbour near the centre of Copenhagen called Refshaleøen. Numerous stages and tents host international and Danish producers and hip hop artists, including Cashmere Cat, Wooden Wisdom, Soul Clap, DJ Koze and plenty more. High wattage lasers blanket the grounds, illuminating surrounding warehouses from corner to corner. On the other side of the water, a docked cruise ship no doubt hosts a group of tourists in envy of the party we’re having. A range of international food stalls, from Venezuelan to Thai, feed the hungry while Royal Beer stands hydrate the thirsty and the subwoofers thump out electronic music well past 5am. It’s a crazy week, hosted in a beautiful city. If you’re looking for that week long getaway or seeking a new festival to attend, Distortion is your answer.

Distortion 2016 will be held 1-5 June. More information can be found on their website here. 

Here’s some photos Marck Lund Nielsen was kind enough to share from the final party:

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