By the end of Langeland festival I was relieved that this paragraph of my life was coming to an end. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy my stay in the danish country-side, I was just worn out by the week-long family vacation. All good things come to an end and I was glad that my stay had ended with a tranquil over-night drive back to Copenhagen.
When I think of Langeland, I hear the theme song that must have been played everywhere within shouting distance at a rate of brainwash. I spent time partying in the tents doing the hill-billy ho-down and you hear a lot of danish folk tunes that bring natives from a two step shuffle to a stomp, hop, and a clap. It feels like a polka and brings out the inner bunny rabbit. These are like typical country-side barn-yard bon-fires that bring all-ages together for good-times. It’s the place where Lasse met Linda, Soren met Stine, and Claus does his penance for the church of beer. These ceremonies are like going for a swim in the community gene pool. When the recipe of physical attraction, dance skill and social charm cook together in a stew you never know what it will do. The younger boys are naturally shy, learning and observing the mating rituals of older males. The inexperienced have to learn the game quickly and instinctively replicate dance moves that are cool. Older males are confidently rolling the dice with anything and everything that resembles feminine figure. Young girls are fending off about 99% percent of males only inviting the most attractive and charming mates. The more intoxicated the female, the easier she is to fool with false confidence and shitty genetics. If she keeps her wits and uses her wisdom than she will select the best mate. It was always her choice to begin with since the beginning of time. This is the power of the pussy.
I hadn’t ventured into the festival area until danish pop idol Medina hit the main-stage. Disco balls shattered and young girls cried their eyes out as their idol was only a stones throw away. She’s got a sexy confidence to her stage presence, nothing flashy or over-the-top just her band and the music. Her voice held strong through-out the set and delivered number after number with sweet emotion. 10 minutes later and I’m joined by friends to see “non-american influenced” danish hip-hop act Østkyst Hustlers. I’m expecting a page out of the Beastie Boys Bible but instead get a whole new testament in performance, story-telling, and crowd interaction. The music can be described as a bluesy blood sugar sex magik with deep pockets and bluesy licks. Every musician is given the spotlight treatment and nail their cues, sinking the audience under the table. The 3 MC’s tell everyday stories and turn them into poetic performance. The good-times are rolling and the crowd is sliding left to ride, hands up in the air, bouncing to the one-two-three. I couldn’t understand a single word that was spoken but I fully understood the message. These cats are doing their thing and having fun… one line I had translated was “We might be getting old. But the thing is… so are you!” And with a roar they launch into an encore and leave the crowd in a frenzy. Closing the night was Alphabeat, a danish party-band with sugary soda-pop harmonies lead by a young male and female duo with support from pop-corn beats that have you bouncing till your kernel bursts. The lead male has the charisma of a pre-pubscent teen watching his first porno going bananas all over the stage wanking his tambourine and exploding confetti into the crowd. The lead female is a slice of cutie-pie that probably tastes really good. They drop an ecstasy bomb on the crowd and teenagers fortunate enough to be at ground zero take their excitement back to the camps.
A band that didn’t seem to fit the program was 90’s rock band Saybia, with a main-stage audience that was too young, too old, and not all too present for the performance. I could at any moment stand front-row if I wanted but decided to stand third row as this was my first exposure to their sound. Their sound is akin to danish rock act Kashmir & early-Radiohead without the melancholy. It’s a marsh-mellow camp-fire sound with deep stories and touching moments through-out the performance. The next act comes from a recommendation by a drummer dude who I met earlier in the week and as expected the drums in this act were upfront and a force to reckon with. Pretty Maids are years past their prime but still deliver a good rock show with a charming front-man who resembles Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler. It’s the danish interpretation of LA rockers Motley Crue and Guns N Roses. It’s tough to get past the superficial layer and think that these old men look a bit ridiculous but they’re the keepers of the metal key waiting for the next generation to take hold.
An unusual performance was given by peace-loving, socially responsible band Outlandish. What I mean by unusual is that the back-up musicians talents out-shined the performers in vocal deliveries and instrumental intensity. The group is fronted by three MC’s of different minority decent, a latino, a moroccan, and a pakistani. Their message of love, peace, and respect for all human-beings is a nice message for the kids but I felt like there was a bit too much cheese and not enough meat on this sandwich.
I guess it’s worth mentioning some of the bigger names who were there but, not really there. Tina Turner, U2, Lynyrd Skynyrd. You get the point. The older folks really enjoy that kind of stuff but I doubt they even know where Sweet Home Alabama is. Year after year these folks will return to the island summer tradition that is Langeland, where the skies are so blue. The areas surrounding are very beautiful with narrow tree lined paths opening up to sun-tanned wheat fields and colorful houses planted along streets that breathe a sea-side charm.
This festival is made for families because their is a lack of edge in the atmosphere. First, their is a noise curfew and if that doesn’t shout “old-timing” than I don’t know what does. Second, there is the all-danish music program which is a mix of old and new pop-acts, rock bands and child stars. You have a kid zone where children can wild-out and indulge in imagination. You have a youth-camp where teens and pre-teens are experimenting with alcohol and the opposite sex. For young people, it’s the plan B if your parents did not let you go to Roskilde and you want to train for Roskilde-style partying. For older people, it’s the festival experience where you can relive those crazy times and bring the kids too.
I think about all the faces I’ve met and spent time with. The shared ideas and perspectives gained. Flowing in the present with intimate strangers. This is what the tour experience has been to me. Coming home to dwell on your experience and what you’ve learned. We are always alone looking for a connection yet we’re always disconnected. When I meet someone, I always think that this is the last time I will see this person ever in my life so I better make sure my impact is a positive one. Learning to be yourself without any censors. Filling life with sweet surprise and genuine gestures. Letting the right people in. Not giving a fuck and drinking too much alcohol!