Covering the history of Europe’s biggest music festival but focusing mainly on the 2006 edition, Roskilde takes snippets from performances but for the most part lavishes attention on the festival-goers and organisers (or, more glibly, the people who “make it all happen”). Attendees from all backgrounds set up camp and throw themselves into the thumping heart of the experience. A group of adolescent girls amuses themselves with inflated flavoured condoms while berating the male of the species, Danes evaluate busty Swedes, latex-clad superheroes gyrate on people’s laps (here’s looking at you, Bubbleman). Some of the subjects are very aware of their presence on screen, while others are perfect interviewees, going about their business with complete abandon. The film also touches briefly on key events from previous years, including the 2000 accident wherein nine people were essentially crushed to death.
For a profile of such an exciting, popular event, it’s a little disappointing. While it may just be pandering to popular demand, the film gives too much screen time to the likes of Placebo and The Streets, particularly in light of other bands who get mere seconds of attention. The structure is pretty loose too – the documentary is neither an account of one specific year, nor is it a complete history of the festival. It does however create a positive ambience, the comparisons to Woodstock being completely fulfilled, and the decision to place focus on the audience makes it an appealing advertisement. All in all, a magnetising watch, but ultimately disposable.