It’s summer in Copenhagen! According to the Copenhagen Post, the weather in Denmark is turning distinctly tropical these days. With temperatures up to 29 degrees and endless days of non-stop sunshine it definitely feels and looks like a stunning Scandinavian summer! People are flooding the streets, parks, cafés, bridges, lakes, riversides, playgrounds and the Assistens cemetery – sunbathing in every possible location (even next to Hans Christian Andersen or Søren Kirkegaard’s grave). I live right next to Assistens cemetery in Nørrebro which is not only a burial site for various Danish cultural celebrities (and some American jazz musicians like Ben Webster and Kenny Drew) but it is also the largest and most important green space in the inner part of the Nørrebro district. As soon as you pass through the gates and turn your back on the busy main street you are instantly greeted with a sense of calm as you’re surrounded by a lush green space that provides a peaceful retreat from the bustling city. It’s an oasis for for sun-seekers but also a place for families, retirees, cyclists, joggers, and lovers lingering around in the cemetery’s many green corners. This Sunday I wasn’t going to hang out in Assistens cemetery though. My flatmate and her friend decided to take me to another stunning outdoor area which turned this already sunny, glowing Søndag (Sunday) morning into an even sunnier, brilliant Sunday afternoon.
Søndagsvenner (‘Sunday friends’) is a local non-profit organisation which arranges open air events around Copenhagen, transforming different disused urban spaces into thriving cultural villages. Everyone is welcome to join the community, perhaps make an one-off art installation or help out behind the bar, the food stalls or the kids ‘candy land’. There is also a batik workshop, yoga classes, a hammock-heaven, an open swimming area and two ‘dancefloors’ with artists and Djs playing ambient, experimental house and techno music all day long. The location was amazing – after cycling past some pretty sweet houseboats we arrived at Refshaleøen – a little island which is a former industrial site in the harbour of Copenhagen. For more than a hundred years, it was home to a huge shipyard which went bankrupt in 1996. The abandoned buildings are now used by a mixture of creative entrepreneurs and as a venue for arts and craft or flea markets or as storage facilities. Frequently there are music festivals on the island such as the heavy metal festival Copenhell, the electronic music festival EDM 2013, the Eurovision Song Contest a couple of months ago or Søndagsvenner last Sunday. The event took place in the enchanted forrest of Refshaleøen – an alternative urban space where people seemed to free their minds from their everyday lives, jobs, studies and other responsibilities. Everything from the DJ setup, the bar, food stalls, deckchairs, the kid’s ‘playground’ and the little bridge connecting both dancefloors, was thoughtfully designed and constructed in a DIY manner which created an amazingly organic, cosy urban atmosphere. It was the perfect Sunday summer chillout event where people could experience different ways of socialising by sharing their love for music, dance, sunshine and good food. Unfortunately it was a kind of one-off event which won’t be happening every Sunday. It was definitely a successful one though, so who knows…! Here’s a selection of Dj’s from that day: