Two days ago, Northside booked Radiohead. We are thrilled, The mayor, Jacob Bundsgaard, is thrilled. For god’s sake, the municipality even granted the band and festival permission to perform a longer gig than usual, which is a pretty big deal – Especially in Aarhus. Basically, every media have been writing about the booking in capital letters, and yes, we are just as thrilled at the office. Therefore, we asked our most experienced writer, Bobby McBride, to write down his thoughts on the matter. This interesting piece of writing came out of it.
Several days ago, a press release came from NorthSide Festival that Radiohead would be headlining and closing the festival on Sunday, the 11th of June. The Aarhus festival slot was one of only 3 (so far) European festival sets announced from the Radiohead camp. A “crop circle” portrait was appearing mysteriously on the festival grounds of Glastonbury, Europe’s most high-profile rock festival. A show was also announced in Gdynia, Poland, a city that frankly I’ve never heard of, but as it turns out – has a population of nearly 250,000, pretty close to ours.
With the announcement of Radiohead performing in Aarhus as one of their few festival appearances next summer, NorthSide suddenly became a destination for thousands of dedicated Radiohead fans who want to head somewhere a little less intense than Glasto. Comments on Radiohead’s Facebook site rolled in from fans, confused about where to get tickets, would it sell out? Where would they stay? Could they get day tickets? Ryanair flies to AAR for €10? And most of all, passive aggressive rage from thousands of fans asking when the band were going to come to the hometown – on every continent except Antarctica. Actually, I would pay good money for a destination concert with Radiohead in Antarctica – but that’s for another time. We need to talk about Aarhus for a minute.
My first two thoughts when I read the media blitz surrounding Radiohead at Northside were; “Ha ha, fuck Roskilde” and “This is good for Aarhus”.
After daydreaming out of the window, watching a drizzle of rain layer the cold Autumnal morning while trying to learn how to conjugate the past tense of a non-rule following modal verb in the local language I had a “low flying panic attack” thinking about Radiohead in Aarhus. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person actually close to shitting themselves thinking of all the balls in the air for Radiohead to headline a festival in Aarhus in 8 months.
What if all the people outside of Aarhus get the tickets first and I can’t go?
I know. It’s like “Aarhusians” and the way they stress about our busses. A frequent occurrence is that our bus arrives, it’s full, we’re too protective of our personal space to get on, we wait until the next one (less full), push ahead and sit on the outside seat so no one will sit beside you during rush hour on public transport. OR just read up on right wing DF immigration policy in Danish politics – which basically could be summed up as xenophobic and exclusive and “terk er jerbs”.
What if the city is not ready yet?
We’ve had the proverbial “drawing on the fridge door” honor bestowed upon us of being “European city of culture” 2017. Like a student cleaning their dorm room before an inspection, or someone tidying their flat and nailing up shelves for our shit before house guests, we’re trying to spiff up the city for….other Europeans to visit. All this has really meant is that all the hotels are booked already, everyone with a fucking couch is running an air B&B. We’re digging and pounding and erecting new buildings like it was someone with ADHD playing Sims, and we’re spending billions of kroner on a giant tram that takes people from somewhere to somewhere and keeping the roads fucked and the ground vibrating for years. All of this going down, and rent is increasing to astronomical rates, restaurants are hipsterizing (a gourmet burger bar opens every 12 hours in Aarhus), industrial areas are becoming “bespoke” pop-up food markets and there’s even a “gourmet dog boutique” on Vestegade. Now RADIOHEAD is coming- and bringing eyes upon what’s going on in Aarhus.
I hate to say it – but most folks here, that aren’t entrepreneurs or property owners, don’t give a flying fuck about Aarhus being the city of culture next year. It’s actually annoying. Radiohead playing here, though – that’s HUGE. The yearlong celebration of Aarhus as a city is looked upon as just another very long Festugen. A time where it’s going to take 20 minutes to walk down the street, the city invaded with people garrisoned on our patch, and the smack of showing off to everyone and then having to live in the showroom for the rest of eternity after everyone fucks off.
But it’s NorthSide! Why Northside?
All I know is – Roskilde has been becoming increasingly pop with main acts, and increasingly obscure with small print names. I’m never going to Roskilde again. It’s too much. I thought I was done with festivals in 2008, but damn it if they didn’t go and book Radiohead, Neil Young, and My Bloody Valentine. I went. It was the first time I’d seen either of those acts, and they played incredible sets all of them. I’m retired from camping festivals. I can’t deal with ‘em. Northside comes along in my back yard, books great bands, I get to sleep in my own bed, and there’s rarely a queue for toilets or booze. It’s middle aged friendly. Thank god Northside isn’t booking shite like Rhianna, Lil’ Wayne or Kanye – at least it’s not a kindergarten for millennials hooped up on alcopop and cider. They’re fun to look at, but terrible humans to interact with the lot of them.
In a strange move that I haven’t really seen before on the festival circuit, Roskilde posted that they were going to announce the first round of names for next year’s festival at week’s end – and one of them was not Radiohead. Hmmm. There are a bunch of bands that are not Radiohead – so It could be…who the fuck is bigger than Radiohead?
Those could be fun party games too if you’re in the mood – ‘name bands that aren’t Radiohead’ and ‘who is bigger than Radiohead’.
Northside announced (merely hours later) that They had Radiohead. Jubilation. NS always does one of those surveys every year after the festival; “who should play NS next year”. Thousands of people unrealistically write in Radiohead and there’s always me who prays for a Smiths reunion or something – and none of this ever happens. They actually fucking booked Radiohead. Fuck me, that’s awesome! Stranger things have happened – We got the Stone Roses a few years back on one of their first reunion shows – proving that stuff like that was plausible. I’m pretty sure that everyone knew that the Roses would suck, though – to a certain degree. I think we can all agree that most of us are pretty confident that Radiohead won’t suck by next summer (if you’re a Radiohead fan at least).
Northside had gotten its cash cow. Aarhus had gotten its cash cow. Radiohead are more important for the year of 2017 than the culture thing. Why did Radiohead choose not to perform at Roskilde festival, but instead opting for a small 3-day thing with no camping, in a field in Aabyhøj next to the sewage treatment plant? I don’t know how many people are thinking this – instead – fervently waiting to get on the ticket site tomorrow morning at 10pm when day and partout tickets are released. Let’s hope NorthSide’s ticket buying servers are ready for this.
There’s also the small matter of the other slots to fill – did we blow the budget? Northside didn’t sell out last year – for whatever reason. They keep expanding every year and becoming more and more niche, as they simultaneously become more and more exclusive, and more and more fancy. You can buy a VIP 3-course dinner with champagne, you can have spit roasted goat on flatbread, you can have a raw ecological beer with chunks in it, you can bring babies in or do a rum tasting in the forest. Does any of this really fucking matter? We got Radiohead. Radio-fucking-head! Let’s just hope the announcements for who else is performing isn’t just crappy Danish shite you can see any day of the week here. Actual people who like music will be coming to town to see this – I think we can tell Malk De Koijn, Scarlet Pleasure and whatever else to take the weekend off and stay the away from the people who want to come to Aarhus, see Radiohead, have a burger, drink a brew and have a look around our city before going back to wherever they came. Northside; you’re guaranteed to sell a lot of tickets this year, now don’t get lazy with the rest of the line-up.
If I were you, reading this from somewhere, not Denmark – I’d get the tickets first. They might sell out. Then, you’re going to want to book your flights or transport.
Aarhus does have an airport, it’s an hour away and not in Aarhus – but there are busses for everyone that come to the city. I doubt SAS and RyanAir are going to be putting on extra flights because Radiohead is playing in June here, so get your booking. If you have to fly into Copenhagen or Billund – so be it.
You’re going to need a place to stay because our hotels are ridiculously expensive and already booked because of this Europe shit. We have two hostels that are awful and always booked. Get on Airbnb and get the booking. Make sure it’s within 4 kilometers of the festival grounds in a postcode like 8000, 8200 or 8210. Otherwise, you’re fucked. There’s no camping, there’s not really a campsite around, and sleeping rough is not really an option. Pulling an all-nighter is tough. Our bars are open until like 6:00.
We do hope you are coming to see Radiohead in Aarhus. Aarhus is actually a nice place – full of beautiful people. I really mean that – we are smoking hot sexy. If you manage to get a ticket for Radiohead, manage to get yourself here, and manage to find a place to stay for the night – I promise we’ll do the rest – it’s a fun place. We love music, we love drinking, and we all speak pretty good English. You’ll probably have to hear a little of our music, but we’re proud of it and it’s actually not that bad. We’re very friendly when we’re partying – we can be a little pushy when it comes to standing at concerts, and we love to talk during music – but it’s all part of the experience.
Won’t you join us? Tell us your thoughts….