The summer months provide an opportunity for everyone to take off their winter coats and throw on their sunglasses and adapt a ‘get up and go’ attitude towards everything, providing the sun stays out long enough for the sun cream to sink into our skins.
the thumping vibrations of the bass drums
I’m always on the look out for up and coming events in and around Copenhagen and with the numerous musical events on offer this summer, I found myself being drawn to the annual ‘Copenhagen Carnival’ as an opportunity to be entertained by dance performances, DJs and live music acts celebrating the South American dance styles and cultures, Samba and Salsa.
Billed on the same weekend as the infamous Copenhagen clubbing music event, Distortion, I attended the festival with apprehension, hoping that people would not be put off by the array of events on, in and around the city. I was not disappointed.
On a sunny saturday afternoon, I made my way to the festival site, being held at Faelledparken, Copenhagen and allowed the thumping vibrations of the bass drums and echoes of screaming cheers to guide me towards the festival entrance.
With no preconceptions of what to expect, I entered the site to a view of happy children playing with their parents, scores of scantily clad festival goers wearing clothes encrusted with jewels and beads reminiscent of the Rio carnival performers and a host of performance tents, picnic tables and activities for families and all to enjoy.
The festival site had been set up to be family friendly and with plenty of games and activities welcoming the children on entry, parents could look on gleefully as they grasped their drinks and dug into their food from their picnics hampers.
I joined the queue at the beer tent and grabbed a local beer to quench my thirst before descending on the first act being performed on the ‘Store stage’. A mass crowd had gathered around the performers and I managed to set up camp with my camera equipment just left of the stage, with a clear view of the dancers.
the lights came on and the crowd was greeted by scores of female performers
There is always an element of excitement when you don’t know what to expect in life with what you are about to see. I had no idea what or who would enter the stage, as pre planning for this event was at a minimum for this last minute assignment. The lights came on and the crowd was greeted by scores of female performers, dressed from head to toe in all colours of the spectrum.
I could barely open my eyes for reflections of light beaming off the sparkling jewels the performers were wearing and I had to adjust my eyes and my camera to get some sense of perspective for a moment.
I gathered my composure and was delighted to see well rehearsed solo, trio and group dances to the style of samba music. The crowd cheered at every move the performers made as the flashes from the multiple cameras around the stage added an extra element of excitement and light to the spectacle.
My fingers were trigger happy at this point. The scantily dressed performers were making it hard for my camera to focus with their constant movement, but it wasn’t only the camera having trouble focusing on the show.
I’m not one to shy away from looking on at a group of women, dressed in next to nothing and I would consider myself a professional, but it was hard not to laugh to myself now and again at the thought of me kneeling there next to the stage with a big camera, flashing away at a group of women that leave little to the imagination. I composed myself once more.
you could feel the energy pulsating through your veins
The show was fantastic. A host of drummers and percussionists joined the stage and a crash and bang of the beating drums excited crowd. The view of a thousand smiling spectators tapping their feet in unison to sound of the beats only pushed the performers on with more confidence and motivation to make the onlookers cry for more or moan with discontent at the sight of the performers leaving the stage.
You could feel the energy pulsating through your veins and when the performance was over, everyone took a moment to digest what they had just seen. I had to wipe the sweat off the front of my lense and take the overheated battery from my camera and put it in the side pocket of my bag, perhaps to let it take a rest for a moment and gather its composure.
The performances continued through the night with an arrangement of alternative dances and shows. As i wandered around the event site, it was hard to find a disappointed look on anyone’s face in the crowd and you got a real sense of community spirit from this family friendly festival.
the soothing sounds of the brass band gently pushed me out the exit
I packed up my gear and took one more stroll around the site. I bumped into a large group of musical performers, busking near the entrance to the festival and took a few snaps. The sun was going down at this point and the soothing sounds of the brass band gently pushed me out the exit like a bartender at closing time, whispering into my, “have a good night and we’ll see you again.”
The festival is held every year for two days over the same weekend at the beginning of June and it would be hard for me to say that this was my last time here… I think you will see me again.