As the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen has its fair share of festivals and events every year. Whether you are into music, arts, food, or just partying, you can find a festival or event that you will enjoy. But make sure you leave your shopping bags and backpacks with a luggage storage locker in Copenhagen first, so you don’t have to drag them along. So, experience Copenhagen through its festivals.
he evening nearest the 6th of January is celebrated as the Epiphany that Jesus is God for the whole world. It is often celebrated with all sorts of food and drinks as well as an Epiphany cake, which is a spice cake with three coins inside.
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All month long all over Copenhagen, enjoy Vinterjazz, the winter jazz festival. It typically starts around the 5th and ends on the last day of the month. With more than 600 concerts and 150 venues, over 250,000 guests visit every year.
The Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the Fastelavn Carnival is celebrated all over the country. Some of the fun children’s traditions include smashing a barrel for candy, eating puff pastries, and dressing up to go door to door for candy. Kind of like Halloween!
CPH: Dox is a film festival in Kunsthal Charlottenborg featuring documentaries from all over for 10 days in March. Over 140 Danish and International films are featured every year. You can also see art exhibits, enjoy concerts, meet filmmakers, and join in debates.
Copenhagen Sakura Festival
The Sakura Festival in mid-April celebrates Japanese traditions in Langelinie Park with Japanese music, food, and dance. You can also see lion dances, sumo wrestling, and Japanese gardens. Get some unique handmade souvenirs from the dozens of booths before you go.
Copenhagen Beer Festival
At Lokomotiværkstedet in mid-May, enjoy a variety of beers both new and old, international and local. With over 1,000 different beers to taste, the hall typically packs in over 3,500 people. Food and entertainment are also provided!
The first weekend of June, the Copenhagen Carnival is a festival of music at Fælledparken with 2,000 dancers, eight stages, 120 bands, and over 100,000 guests. Both days feature parades and there is a special area for the kids.
Distortion is a musical celebration for everyone during the first week of June. Explore lots of stages featuring many different types of music and dancing mixed with street parties and an airshow. You can even camp onsite at the Refshaleøen by the Little Mermaid.
Mid-June is the time for Copenhell, the biggest heavy metal festival in Copenhagen. Held at Refshaleøen, the event boasts two stages with huge name bands like Judas Priest, Benediction, and Gloryhammer. It’s four days of loud music, food, and fun.
SanktHansAften (St. John’s Eve; Midsummer Festival)
If you like bonfires, food, and music, this June 23rd celebration of St. John is for you. It happens all over the country, so you don’t have to look for it. Just follow the smoke. The bonfire starts the festival right before the food and drink, including Snobrød (bonfire bread), beer, and hotdogs.
On July 4, the Roskilde Festival at Festivalpladsen celebrates freedom with art, culture, and music. Similar to Woodstock, the party has about 100,000 visitors and 3,000 artists on nine stages. Enjoy artists like Taylor Swift, Eminem, and the Deftones as well as food and drinks.
Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The 10-day Copenhagen Jazz Festival starts at the beginning of July and has over 500 concerts with 100 venues. It is the summer version of Vinterjazz, which happens in February. They even have a jazz festival for the kiddos.
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Copenhagen Gay Pride Week
From August 18 to 23, Copenhagen Pride Week is celebrated all over the city. It starts with a parade of colorful costumes and floats and is followed by a week of live music, dancing, and partying in City Hall Square.
For one night in the middle of October, Copenhagen opens over 250 of its museums, zoos, parks, theaters, churches, castles, and libraries to the public for the night to get people interested in culture. They even have Little Culture Night for the kids.
Copenhagen Irish Festival
Are you Irish or do you like Irish music? This festival in November features artists from all over like Seamus Begley, Jim Murray, and the Woods Band. Enjoy food, drinks, dancing, films, workshops, and art as well.
Christmas Fair in Tivoli Garden
For almost two months starting in mid-November, you can visit the Christmas Fair in Tivoli Garden Amusement Park. Santa and the reindeer will be there as well as decorated trees, Christmas lights, games, food, and amusement rides, of course.
New Year’s Eve Copenhagen
You can find New Year’s Eve celebrations all over the city, but City Hall Square is the place to be. Fireworks, parties, and a Royal Guard Parade are just a few of the features to look forward to. Bring in the New Year with royalty.
Whatever time of year you are in Copenhagen, you will be able to find a festival or event to enjoy. This is not a complete list of everything the city puts on, so you are bound to find a fest to suit you. Be sure to try some of the Copenhagen cuisine while you are there and learn some new traditions like jumping off a chair on New Year’s Eve for good luck.
Experience Copenhagen Through Its Festivals, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Sarah Barnes.
Feature image (on top): Ethan Hu / Unsplash