Copenhagen Distortion

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This article is about Distortion festival, in Copenhagen. For other uses, see Distortion (disambiguation).
Copenhagen Distortion
Distortion logo.png
Date(s) Week of first Saturday in June
Frequency Annual
Location(s) Copenhagen, Denmark
Years active 1998-present
Attendance ~125.000
Budget 10,000,000 DKK (2013)[1]
Organised by The Distortion Foundation / Fonden Distortion København

Copenhagen Distortion is an annual celebration of Copenhagen street life and club culture. With an estimated 100.000 guests per day, Distortion is one of the largest annual cultural gatherings in Europe. Distortion is a mobile event taking place all over Copenhagen, Denmark, for five days in a row, in a new neighborhood each day. In the daytime, 25-45 stages are set-up in the streets, presented by local sound systems. At night, Distortion hosts a music festival for cutting-edge dance music, taking place in Copenhagen clubs, bars, one-off locations. The week ends with a major rave party with 12+ stages in an old industrial shipyard: the Final Party. In 2014, Distortion attracted 80.000-120.000 people per day at the street parties and 150 to 15.000 guests at the Distortion Club events and the festival area in the harbor (Final Party). In 2013, the festival's tagline became "A week of Emerging Dance Music and Orchestrated Chaos".


The name, the concept of mixing all genres, the idea of ultra-mobility and the tag-line "Distortion — A Celebration of Copenhagen Nightlife" were born in September 1998 for a one-night party in the nightclub Mantra in Tivoli, Copenhagen, established by Thomas Fleurquin.[2] Distortion became a 5-day mobile festival in June 2000, moving to a new neighborhood each day. Since the beginning, Distortion has been a hosting concept, inviting local icons of street life and club culture to host their own stage during the week. This became an international trend in 2004 with colette (concept store in Paris) hosting a radio show on a boat and a floor at the Final Party [1][dead link]. Since then, the world's leading brands of international big-city culture have hosted Distortion shows: Vice Magazine, Adidas, Fabric - London, Resident Advisor, Fact Magazine, Red Bull Music Academy... From 1998-2007, Distortion was a small, ultra-chaotic, not-fully-legal 5-day party crawl, mainly for the local underground art scene and club culture professionals. In 2007, after gathering 2.000 guests at a single street party for the first time, Distortion decided to go professional and entered a collaboration with the Copenhagen City Council and the Copenhagen Police.[3] In 2011, according to the Copenhagen Police, Distortion had 80.000-100.000 visitors per day, becoming one of the largest annual gatherings in Europe.[4] In 2012, Distortion established Fonden Distortion København (the Distortion Foundation) and the festival finally became a fully professional event with regards to administration, security, cleaning, production etc.

Distortion profile[edit]

Street Parties[edit]

In the daytime, from 16.00-22.00, Distortion orchestrates 20-40 street parties in one Copenhagen district per day: Nørrebro on the Wednesday, Vesterbro on the Thursday, the Harbor on the Friday, chill-out in a park on the Sunday. The Distortion street parties are hosted by local sound systems (shops, clubs, residents, galleries, labels, cafes, magazines...). The characteristic Distortion street atmosphere is high-energy party chaos with a strong feeling of "total freedom", thanks to a wide collaboration between shops, residents, the City Police and other authorities - and mainly thanks to a widespread enthusiasm for turning the streets of Copenhagen into one giant party-carnival. The Street Parties are partly financed by the Gadearmbånd ("Street-Wristband"), a voluntary donation (100kr / 13€) to support the production and cleaning of the street parties.

Distortion Club[edit]

At night, Distortion hosts an international festival for modern club music in nightclubs, venues and one-off locations like the Royal Theatre, swimming pools, bridges, museums and climbing arenas. Names like Hot Chip, Simian Mobile Disco, Spank Rock and Sebastien Tellier were booked for Distortion events, years before they became music heroes of international scope (see notable names & dates below).

Final Party[edit]

The Distortion week peaks on the Saturday with the Final Party, a massive rave with 12+ stages on Refshaleøen, a former industrial shipyard on an island in the heart of the Copenhagen harbor. According to the Distortion website: "Final Party combines the chaos of the street parties and the musical finesse of the Distortion Club". This is also where icons of international club culture host events: Vice Magazine, RedBullMusicAcademy, Resident Advisor, Fact Magazine, Fabric-London, Salon Renate, Ed Bangers, Trouw - Amsterdam, Keller - Berlin... (see notable names & dates below).

Music profile[edit]

DJ Lyne and Nitai firing up the party at Distortion 2011.
Copenhagen Distortion 2011

Notable names that have played at Distortion :[citation needed]

And more.

Party Profile[edit]

They hosted parties at Distortion events:

  • Vice (2005+06+07+08+09+10+11+12+13)
  • colette (Paris/2004)
  • The Royal Theatre (2005)
  • Rio (Berlin/2008)
  • (Paris/2004+05+06+07+08+09+10+11+12+13+14)
  • EasyJetSet (Berlin/2008)
  • Electro GoGo / Mark Moore (London/2005+08)
  • Pig Magazine (Milan/2008+09)
  • BPitchCtrl (Berlin/2005)
  • Kitsuné (Paris/2005)
  • Optimo (Glasgow/2005)
  • Wet Yourself (London/2008)
  • Resident Advisor (London/2008+2013)
  • Redbull Music Academy (2008+2012+2013+2014)
  • Phantasy Records (London/2013)
  • TrouwAmsterdam (Amsterdam/2013)
  • Fact Magazine (2014)

And many more..


  1. ^ Brudvig, Mette. "Nedslående regnskab: Distortion bliver ikke det samme næste år" (in Danish). Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Kirkbak, Jesper; Lasse Ladefoged; Kathrine Kellemann; Jonas Pröschold (June 1, 2012). "Distortions historie: Fra Tivoli til Tistorion" (in Danish). Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Andersen, Louise (2008-06-09). "31.000 deltog i Distortions festkaravane" (in Danish). Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  4. ^ Lautrup, Claes (2011-06-02). "100.000 til larmende fredelig Distortion-åbning" (in Danish). Berlingske. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  5. ^ Nika, Colleen (2012-06-08). "Copenhagen Distortion Festival Is Europe's Own SXSW". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 

Other resources[edit]

External links[edit]