Strøm is the Danish word meaning ‘electrical current’ and the name of the festival celebrating and strengthening Copenhagen’s electronic music scene. The week-long festival is made up of different workshops and events which involve some of the best local and international names in house and techno music.
What Strøm addresses and reinforces, others fail to recognize – that the electronic music scene is a cultural asset. What Strøm has managed to achieve, with support from Copenhagen’s commune, is especially remarkable when considering the attitudes of other European cities towards nightlife and the underground scene. In London, governmental changes to licensing law have forced the closure of some of the best clubs within the electronic music scene. Cable, Plastic People and Hidden are among the recent losses, soon to be joined by East London favorite, Dance Tunnel. Instead of being valued for its economic, social and cultural benefit, the underground scene is deemed a nuisance. A government that allows the chart-hit super-clubs to prosper and forces music-focused venues to close their doors shows a complete disregard for the vibrancy, creativity and escapism of the scene.These are exactly the attitudes that Strøm opposes, and where London’s council is closing purpose-built venues, Copenhagen’s is allowing Strøm to hold parties in completely public spaces – even in the metro.
While the sun did not make an appearance this year, Strøm, as usual, presented a rich and varied lineup of artists and DJs from Denmark and further afield, including The Black Madonna, DJ Sprinkles and Voices From The Lake. As is the case every year, most of the events were free, and entrance fees for collaborations at the likes of Culture Box, KB18 and even various churches across the city seemed a small price to pay for such great offerings.
‘Strøm is a week that brings people together. It unites the whole scene – great people with a love for great music.’ – Freja, 25.
Strøm is also more chilled than a lot of festivals. Its workshops and focus on the talent behind production and curation show that there’s more to electronic music than drinking, drugs and partying. As much as Strøm offers the opportunity to go to a club and dance, it also invites guests to relax and enjoy electronic music in calmer settings. DJs have played to audiences sitting among the plants in a community garden, and snuggled up on mattresses under the stars in Strøm’s ‘sleep concert’.
Strøm focuses as much on smaller and local names as international ones, strengthening the feeling that the festival could not exist elsewhere – Copenhagen is important for Strøm, just as Strøm is for Copenhagen. This is clear across all aspects of the festival’s organisation, from its curation to its amazingly varied settings across the city.
‘Strøm means to spread awareness of electronic music as well as positioning Copenhagen regionally, nationally and internationally as home to a significant and leading electronic music culture’ – Strøm
By designing events with favorites from the Copenhagen electronic scene, Strøm attract friends and friends-of-friends as well as an international crowd, giving a sense of what the city’s nightlife and its crowds are actually like. The festival is authentic and unique because of this, and it’s refreshing to see.
This year’s Strøm culminated in a public party in Nørrebro’s infamous Superkilen park, followed by an after-party headlined by Hunnee and Antal. Designed by BIG architects to celebrate the diversity of Nørrebro, Superkilen provided the perfect backdrop to the final free Strøm event, where music was spread across three stages. Attracting children and adults alike, Strøm once again succeeded in its aim to make the electronic music scene visible and accessible to all.
Considering the monumental success of this year’s Strøm, the anticipation for next year’s festival is already huge. If we know Strøm, it promises to be bigger and better than ever, and we certainly can’t wait.