In Roskilde, Denmark they believe in honoring their rockstars and giving kids the tools to become ones themselves. The Ragnarock Museum presents the history of youth culture in the country through a series of clever, interactive exhibits that should have could well have you yearning for the good old days of large, open festivals, and potentially life-changing rock songs.
We took a trip to Roskilde on an unexpectedly blisteringly sunny Summer day and can report on the rock exhibits.
What’s the Roskilde Ragnarock Museum?
Museums honoring rock music may sound like a contradiction in terms. After all, popular music has battled the established art world for nearly a century. However, with youth culture such an important part of life throughout all parts of the free world, the time has come to recognize its importance on the society as a wole.
Rockgnarock, Denmark’s Rockmuseum, has been established to celebrate the legacies of the Roskilde Festival, one of the most important yearly musical events in Europe, and of pop-rock music in the country.
Not content with merely setting a stuffy set of exhibits, the museum’s organizers have put together an interactive presentation instead. Besides the historical items, the recordings, and the videos, attendees are treated to an interactive game where they’re encouraged to set up their careers as rockstars while strolling through the museum. By the tour’s end, you will learn whether your decisions have been enough to land you the rockstar gig or not. It’s an appropriate way to learn about the importance of pop culture and, potentially, to inspire the ones who will lead it in the years to come.
Honoring the Roskilde Festival
The Roskilde Festival is the largest musical event in Northern Europe. It’s also a testament to the power of dreaming. The event was set up in 1971 by a bunch of Danish hippies eager to replicate the impact and values of the Woodstock Festival.
Few could have foreseen its longevity. By the 1970s groups like the Rolling Stones were including it on their tours of Scandinavia. By the 1980s it was playing host to era-defining groups like The Clash or U2. And, by the 1990s it was attracting more than 125.000 paying attendees and had become a certain stop for the world’s most famous musical acts.
The evolution of the festival is a fascinating one. The growth of the event, the continous integration of new styles, as well the way it has developed alongside Danish society as a whole make for quite a story. Walking through Ragnarok is like taking a stroll through the event’s history, as well as through the muddy fields with which concert-goers will be familiar. In a year where the festival is suspended due to the international health crisis, it’s difficult not to feel nostalgic.
What the Ragnarock exhibition offers
Ragnarock, which is described by the biggest Danish tourism site as an Exploratorium, is located in the city of Roskilde. This is the 10th largest city in Denmark and the place where the country’s royalty has been buried for hundreds of years.
The festival is housed in a colorful building, one that seems to resemble a disco bar in space, in the district of Musicon. A mere few hundred meters away the Roskilde Music Festival is usually held.
The exhibition is set up as a chronological journey through the history of popular music in Denmark. Interactive, and child-friendly exhibits, allow participants the opportunity to experience the music and the youth culture trends that have been a part of the country’s fabric since the 1950s.
What’s next for Roskilde and Ragnarok ?
Ragnarock was meant to honor the 50th anniversary of the festival, a tremendous feat in itself. Sadly, this has been done in spite of the main event being canceled for the very first time. When there, the museum’s personnel commented on the common hope that the situation will permit Roskilde 2022 to be set up as per usual.
In the meantime, Ragnarock has found its place on the list of Denmark’s most important attractions. It is, for now, a great substitute for the Roskilde Festival, and, hopefully, will soon be a worthy accompaniment.
A lot has happened in rock music, in Denmark during the past half-century. There’s no better way of learning the story than experiencing it. There’s no better way to experience it than taking a stroll through the exhibits of Ragnarock in Roskilde.