This year we were going to Skanderborg Festival aka Smukfest (= beautiful fest) for the first time. I’d heard nice things about it, and there were a promising line up with Tom Jones, Skunk Anansie and Robyn as some of the bigger names, though Kaizers Orchestra was the one I was most excited about. However, we’d never been there and there wasn’t anyone we knew going and we weren’t sure how much of the “smuk” in the name was pure marketing. This post is about the mud, the great music and how we discovered that it really is beautiful 🙂
We didn’t go to the festival from the first day the camp sites were opened, as we wanted to enjoy the summer house for a bit longer (I know I need to write the second post about that trip). Instead we went there on the Wednesday, which was also the first day the festival area opened and the actual festival started. However, the camping sites had opened on Monday and Tuesday, and when we arrived most of them were full. We were directed to Holst camping site, and when we got there, it looked rather full as well. We managed to find a big enough gap that had been ignored by others, as it was quite wet and muddy. It wasn’t too bad though, and we had air mattresses so we didn’t think it would be a problem.
It wasn’t a real problem. Even though it rained all through the first night, the tent held tight and we didn’t get wet. However, when we opened the door and looked outside our front tent bit was flooded, and the mud that had looked very soft the day before had turned into a thick liquid paste. The sight was almost enough to make us lose hope for a lovely festival. But as soon as we got out of the mud in our waterproofs it didn’t seem that bad. It was still raining, but it was a very gentle rain and we had proper gear. Almost! We had no wellies. So the first thing we did when we got to the festival area was to buy some boots. Not surprisingly there were quite a few stalls selling wellies, and it didn’t take us long to find some we liked. I got some traditional green farmer/fisherman/biologist ones, but Katie got some amazing, colourful smarties-covered ones 🙂 They were beautiful as you can see in the photo on the left. At about midday the rain stopped and we hadn’t been cold at all. The rain only meant that it was much easier to get around at the festival and find seats/tables at the drinking and eating places.
Another thing that helped cheer us up after the wet start was the sight that met us when we got to the festival area. It truly earns its self-proclaimed title as “Denmark’s most beautiful festival”, located on the bank of a lake in a beautiful beech forest. How important the trees are to the event is emphasised by the way they are left to lean all the way against the main stage and in front of the speakers. It makes it all seem much more organic, and is a relief from the typical “practical nature” where trees are groomed and placed in a very organised fashion. I think you can get a good idea of this from the rather blurry photo on the right from when Johnny Madsen was playing as we first approached the fittingly named “Beech Stages”. There’s another stage next to it and the bands alternate to reduce set up time.
To finish off this post I’ll leave you with two more photos. The one on the left is of our favourite bar at the festival, the Special Beer Tent. It had a wide selection of Danish and foreign bottled and draft beers, including several festival specials. The other photo is the view over the lake seen from the main road between the camping area and the festival area. It was a pleasure walking past this every day 🙂 I’ll soon post again with Part 2 where I’ll talk about the music at the festival.