We are up, fed and washed as lunchtime approaches and Norway’s Highasakite are like a gentle day-glo shoehorn into the day. Painted faces, multi-instrumentalists and Ingrid Håvik’s soft but cracking voice, it’s a pop overhaul on a folk aesthetic. A new track near the close has her hit noises so strange that we were looking for the instrument they came from for half the song. So infectious.
Dead Can Dance are taking on the massive Arena tent and managing to wrap everyone into their warm world. Technically perfect as a band, Lisa Gerrard’s voice is still amazing – Perry’s too. We wander up close and are spellbound, the tent seeming so small. Wandering the grounds afterwards we find lots of food options, all of which are provided by groups such as swimming clubs. Because Roskilde is non-profit it means that this type of concession must feed their profits back into something for the community, not a commercial enterprise. The phone-charging stations, cloakrooms and other services are all efficiently run by the festival themselves and customers aren’t charged. Also, as befitting Denmark’s championing of technology anyone using the media village had to use a chip on a wristband to pay for food and drink. They are working towards a card and cashless festival and this trial seemed to work pretty well, especially as they disabled the auto-top-up from your credit card so no insane bills from lost chips/drunken users.
What turns out to be the last fluffy clouds of the whole weekend blow away and the hot sun, with perfect timing, is shining down on Bobby Womack. The regenerated soul hero has that great balance of swagger, attitude and humbleness. With a super-tight band, his own daughter one of the backing singers and the crowd in his hand he could do no wrong. Two songs in and it’s ‘Across 110th Street’ and sure you’re about to surrender to Bobby at this stage anyhow and then ‘The Greatest Man…’ just carries you away in the evening heat.
It’s a thin enough day of musical interest for us after this – a cruise by EL-P is amusing as we catch a gold-necklace presentation worthy of an olympic event. Suuns are being very serious at the Pavilion tent and around the site the Danes are getting into the sun, eating from the relatively varied food stalls of course (no pies though) and also shopping. As befitting the schtyle of this nation there are stalls from some of Denmark’s big labels here including Henrik Vibskov and Mads Norgaard as well as one selling just New Balance trainers, already covering the feet of about 95% of Danes between 20 and 35 anyhow. Try and imagine a BT2 in Oxegen. Yeah, tricky isn’t it. Works here though.
So tonight’s main stage superstar is Rihanna – half an hour late but there’s no pressing need to go see anything else anyhow. After an opening fanfare she finally pops up at the back clad in a dress version of a baseball shirt, the tails on her matching cap covering her face. Box fresh Air Force Ones marching around, cock-sure as you’d expect, she’s still smiles and “wow, you guys”. Choosing nailing the tunes vocally over a convoluted stage show she is in superb voice. Some complaints afterwards ranged from ‘show was a little boring’ to ‘unengaged’ but complaints from the back of the field can’t be taken too seriously when up the front are some seriously passionate fans getting a lot of love from the main lady. She give an early front row fly-by, collecting flowers and polite touches. ‘Umbrella’ catches us unawares, but ‘Only Girl (in the World)’ was the one we were waiting for and on a warm evening in a field in Denmark we made a sweaty pop nightclub from the pit, throwing dignity to the fresh breeze.
Crystal Castles were walking all over a dazzled Arena as we finished with Rihanna but we were spent. The campsites partied almost till the dawn to Simian Mobile Disco on the Apollo stage and all we were good for was a swinging porch seat at Prince bar until we ourselves saw the early Scandinavian morning spread over the site.
Bobby Womack photographed by Jakob Bekker-Hansen.
See our day 2 photo gallery here.