[Skip to Content]

Northside Festival is getting greener and grander

The newcomer on the Danish festival scene, Northside, is growing bigger and greener year after year. In June the festival was held for the 6th time.

NorthSide

By Sara Mejlvang Møller

There is a woman on stage, it's 2.30 in the morning and she is working the hula hoop like she was born with it around her waist. Grace Jones, the American disco icon, is the last act on friday night at the Northside Festival in Aarhus. “I wish I was out there watching me,” she says. And you do not blame her, the audience’s eyes are hypnotically fixated on this 60-something who's hula hooping topless like there is no tomorrow.

The Danish festival, Northside, is based in Denmark's second largest city and has in a few years grown from a small one-day festival to a big event with three stages and over 30.000 guests. 12 to 14 June, the festival was held for the sixth time. The tickets were sold out, the beer was flowing and the music was provided by over 30 Danish and international bands.

Sustainable Northside
Just like Grace Jones’ hula hooping is a completely CO2 neutral act, Northside is making an effort to be as sustainable a festival as possible. This is why there are specific demands in regards to food and drinks sold at the festival, why you can see “trash talkers” walking around helping guests with sorting their waste, and why the festival offers bicycle reparation for the ones that have arrived on two wheels.

Just like Grace Jones’ hula hooping is a completely CO2 neutral act, Northside is making an effort to be as sustainable a festival as possible. This is why there are specific demands in regards to food and drinks sold at the festival, why you can see “trash talkers” walking around helping guests with sorting their waste, and why the festival offers bicycle reparation for the ones that have arrived on two wheels.

Just like Grace Jones’ hula hooping is a completely CO2 neutral act, Northside is making an effort to be as sustainable a festival as possible. This is why there are specific demands in regards to food and drinks sold at the festival, why you can see “trash talkers” walking around helping guests with sorting their waste, and why the festival offers bicycle reparation for the ones that have arrived on two wheels.

NorthSide - Trash talker

From infant to teenager
Since Northside started in 2010, it has evolved from a small but ambitious infant to a well fed teenager. Five years ago the festival lasted only one day and around five thousand people came to listen to the all-Danish bands.

In 2015, the festival draws in around 35.000 and lasts an entire weekend from Friday to Sunday. And the bands that are booked are known way beyond the boundaries of the small Nordic kingdom: Interpol, The Black Keys, Placebo.
Obviously, this has come to reflect the prices of the tickets. Back in the day, you could get yourself into Northside for 250 kroner. These days a ticket costs almost 1500 kroner.



The festival estimates that at least one thousand of the visitors come from outside Denmark. One is Sóla Þorsteinsdottir, a young Icelandic woman, who comes for the atmosphere and the music – and for the festival's focus on sustainability:

“I really like that they take the environment into consideration, that the food is organic and that you can see that they are making an effort in this regard,” she says.

Art and design on a grass field
As you walk around the festival area, you cannot help but see a huge wooden man, whose legs can be used as benches for tired festival guests. The sculpture/furniture is only one of many design and art installations on Northside. The festival is keen on art and innovation and collaborates with several different local schools and companies when creating an area that is both usable and aesthetic.

“We are always trying to come up with installations that are multifunctional. When you are creating a festival it is important to think about the movement of the guests; where do they sit, where do they walk? At the same time we want to make something that is innovative and beautiful,” says Andreas Balslev-Olesen, who is “atmosphere responsible” on the festival.

Northside Festival will be held again on 17-19 June, 2016.

Facts about Northside

- Based in Aarhus - Denmark's second largest city
- Started in 2010
- Located in Ådalen
- All food sold at the festival is minimum 30% organic
- There is no camping on the festival, but it is placed only a couple of kilometers from the city center
- Previous bands include: Queens of the Stone Age, Arcade Fire, Pixies.