A week of emerging dance music and orchestrated chaos
Since 1998, Distortion pushes the limits of Copenhagen street life and international club culture.
Distortion offers a week of massive street parties in the daytime, a versatile festival for the newest in dance music at night, and one grandiose rave: the Final Party.
Hail the 16th edition of Distortion, a week of emerging dance music and orchestrated chaos.
In the daytime it’s “orchestrated chaos” time. Distortion fills the streets with 44+ local sound systems and 80.000+ guests from all over the world. This takes place every day in a new part of town in central Copenhagen: Nørrebro on Wednesday, Vesterbro on Thursday, the Copenhagen harbour on Friday.
Many festivals and events around the world have a claim at “mayhem”, the honey-magic of party makers. The Distortion party-tsunami eats mayhem for breakfast: we turn the whole city upside down (well, only 44 streets per day), sweep it all shiny clean at night, and we’re ready in another neighbourhood the next morning - three days in a row. And the street parties are just in the daytime! We have been described by some underground magazine for party-animals as “the longest and the hardest party - ever” in 2009 (which was a warm-up year, really). It’s simple: we set 80.000 techno-vikings on the loose - you don’t know mayhem until you’ve seen distortion mayhem.
The street fest also includes some intelligence, family cozyness and peaceful poetry, in selected backyards, museums and gardens - for those who are through with the animal stage of their life (it can happen to anyone). In 2014, we discretely host pop-up restaurants in sidestreets with Michelin-starred restaurants serving 3-course dinners for 150kr (20€uros) and we are launching a new free one-day classical music festival in a flower garden featuring Niels Frahm… Why shouldn’t party animals also be allowed to behave human!!?!
The street parties are financed by the thousands and thousands of people who buy the Gadearmbånd. So we can clean up the streets after this incomparable street feast. Rolling Stone Magazine (US) describes Distortion as a: “wild, feverish, relentless, free-form monster”.
Every night, the Distortion Club presents the best new emerging artists in the coolest venues in Copenhagen: Culture Box, Jazzhouse, Rust and Pumpehuset. We also do special events in one-off locations like swimming pools, theatres, museums and bridges. This is where we move the focus from street madness and randomness—> into the deeper universe of contemporary dance music. DJ Magazine (London) calls us “one of the best club festivals in the world” and Distortion Club musical co-hosts include Vice Magazine (since 2006), RBMA (since 2008), Culture Box (since 2004) and Fact magazine (in 2014).
The whole Distortion week is an intense build-up to Saturday’s grandiose megarave: the Final Party. This includes 11+ stages with the wildest of the newest in European party culture. We usually perform spectacular stunts like: juggling with bridges, champagne boats, hanging busses in the air and giant surprise explosions. Interview Magazine (NYC) puts it shortly: Distortion is “a rave labyrinth” and “4-days in Paradise”.
Distortion started as an experimental party project in 1998. In 2000 it became a 5-day-long party-crawl going through one Copenhagen district per day. The magic started with plenty of intimate backyard grill parties, receptions, happenings, party bus and champagne boats, all over Copenhagen, with 30-200 people at each get-together. Each event was cute, but it was the combination and the fact that Distortion was a travel through the city, full of genuine love for Copenhagen, that created the special atmosphere. Many of these events were not totally legal, but we were always semi-responsible: we cleaned after ourselves and respected the neighbours. The Police was nice when we met them - and since we were mobile and happy, we just moved around and no problemo.
For the first time in 2007, we got ca. 1.500 guests at one single street party on Enghaveplads and almost 3.000 guests at Final Party. Until then, we had never had a strategy or a budget: Distortion was just for fun. But we had learned our way around the party-underground / arts&culture / fashion-lifestyle media landscapes. So in 2008, we opened a semi-professional entrepreneurship (the Distortion Secretariat, Nus/Nus ApS) made a contract with the Copenhagen City Council and bought a trashy black 1982-Mercedes stretch limousine - and somehow relaunched the festival. Things have gone fast since then. In 2011 we broke into the mainstream with 100.000+ guests at Vesterbro’s block party. In 2012 we became a not-for-profit Foundation and in 2013, we were finally ready to soon be known around the world as the craziest party on the planet.
Line-up: DJ Harvey (UK) | Todd Terje (NO) | Tim Sweeney (US) | Kate Boy (SE) | Anika (DE) | Vinnie Who (DK) | Zombie Zombie (FR) | Hess Is More (DK) | Grup Ses Beats (TR) | Bjørn Svin (DK) | DJ Fitz (IR) | Dirty Sound System (FR) Kasper Bjørke (DK) | Hugo Capablanca (DE) | Kode9 (UK) | Scratcha DVA (UK) | Le1f (US) | Cooly G (UK) | Pachanga Boys (DE) | Patrice Baumel (NL) | Job Jobse (NL) | Olaf Boswijk (NL) | VJs CV Gabriel/A Hulskamp (NL) | Brodinski (FR) | Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team (FR) | Kaytranada (CA) | Unkwon (DK) | Sunny Beach Happy Slap Mardi Gras (DK) | Eloq (DK) | Schlachthofbronx (DE) | DJ Snake (DE) | DJ Er Du Dum Eller Hvad (DK) | Yo Felles (DK) | Xosar (US) | Ron Morelli (US) | Kassem Mosse (DE) | DJ TLR (NL) | Svengalisghost (US) | Sewn Leather (US) | Dracula Lewis (IT) | Stand High Sound feat. Puba Jim (UK) | Sebastian FR) | Feadz (FR) | Riton (UK) |Boston Bon (FR) | Adam Port (DE) | Stassy (DE) | Spoek Mathambo (ZA) | Julius Sylvest (DK) | Bwoy De Bhajan (DK) | Why Be (DK) | Total Freedom (US) | Venus X (US) | Primitive Art (IT) | Youngblood Brass Band (UK) | Jean Von Baden (DK) | Kim Kemi (DK) | Sea Punk Gang (IT) | Seksuelle Mennesker (DK) | Jeff Mills (US) | Terje Bakke (NO) | Chris Menist (US) | Ashraf Sharif Khan (TH) | Viktor Marek (TH) | Terror Danjah vs. Champion (UK) | Ryan Hemsworth (US) | Lulu Rouge (DK) | Copyflex (DK) | Erol Alkan (UK) | Daniel Avery (UK) | Mickey Moonlight (FR) | Beastie Respond (DK) | Daughn Gibson (US) | Light Asylum (US)
Remarkable Hosts: Resident Advisor (www) | Red Bull Music Academy (www) | Trouw (Amsterdam) | Phantasy Sounds (London) | Ed Banger Records (Paris)
Magic Moment: Surprise explosion at Final Party
Line-up: Chromatics (US), Andrew Weatherall (UK), Trentemøller (DK), DJ Hell (DE), Sissy Nobby (live, US), Davide Squillace (IT), DJ Funk (US), Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team (FR), Helm (Live, UK), Lust For Youth (Live, SE), M.O.P. (live, US), Saigon (live, US), Matthew Styles (UK), Dinky (CL), Tim Sweeney (US), Kidd (live, DK), Klumben (live, DK), Eloq (DK), EagerStunn Sound (DK), James Ferraro (live, US), Niagara (live, PT), DJ Nervoso & DJ Marfox (PT), Mike Skinner (UK), DJ A. Vee (US), DJ Stashbox (US), Michael Mayer (DE), Reinhard Voigt (live, DE), Tobias Thomas (DE), L.A. Vampires (live, US), Magic Touch (Live, US), Maria Minerva (live, UK), Ital (live, US), Nguzunguzu (live, US), Matias Aguayo (live, CL), Pachanga Boys (DE), Trojan Sound System (live, UK), Awesome Tapes From Africa (US), DJ Fitz (IRE), Extra Action Marching Band (live, US), Tristesse Comtemporaine (live, FR), Laing (live, DE), Yelle DJ set (FR), Den Sorte Skole feat. Dark Matters (Live, DK), Benny Banks (live, UK), Zebra Katz (live, US), Albertslund Terror Korps (live, DK)
Remarkable Hosts: Kompakt (Köln), 100% Silk (US), Vice/Noisey (US), Posh Isolation, The Royal Theatre
Magic Moment: the streets were shiny clean at 7:30am
Line-up: Acid Washed (FR), Matias Aguayo (ARG), Stretch Armstrong (US), Crookers (IT), Kenton Slash Demon (DK), Iceage (DK), Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance (US), Laurel Halo (US), Hey Today! (DE), Felix of Hot Chip (UK), Mathew Jonson (CA), Kenny Larkin (US), Michael Mayer (DE), Metrik & MC Coppa (UK), Nisennenmondai (live, JP), Prins Thomas (NO), Sany Pittbull (BR), Schlachthofbronx (DE), Superpitcher (DE), Tim Sweeney (US), Seth Troxler (US), DJ Umb (UK), Uproot Andy (US), Skatebård (NO), We Are The World (US), Josh Wink (US), Terje Bakke (NO), Theo Parrish (US), Austra (CAN)
Remarkable Hosts: Melt! (Berlin), Oslo Live (NO), Nasty Mondays (ES), Fool’s Gold (US), Dogmeat/Iceage (DK), Christiania Radio
Magic Moment: Distortion Street Parties go mainstream with 100.000+ visitors
Line-up: Madlib (US), Kode 9 (UK), Mock & Toof (DE), Simian Mobile Disco (UK), J-Rocc (US), Buraka Som Systema (PT), Booka Shade (DE), Jamie Vex’d (UK), Tikiman (DE), Schaltchofbronx (DE), GusGus (IS), Justus Koehnke (DE), Michael Mayer (DE), Superpitcher (DE), Tobias Thomas (DE), Oh No Ono (DK), Jamie Jones (UK), Breakage (UK), Hugo Capablanca (DE), MMM (DE), Len Faki (DE)
Remarkable Hosts: Red Bull Music Academy Radio (UK), Kompakt Total (Köln), Roskilde Festival (DK), Mono (Berlin), Tartelet (DK)
Magic Moment: one-minute rave by the Knippelsbro bridge
Line-up: SuperMayer (Köln), Glass Candy (UK), Tim Sweeney (US), DJ-Vadim (RUS), Monotonix (ISR), Wildbirds & Peacedrums (SE), Brandt-Brauer-Frick (DE), Mikkel Hess (DK), Carl Craig (US), Zip (DE)
Remarkable Hosts: Salon Renate (Berlin), Wet Yourself (London), Small (IT), C-O-Pop (DE), Viva Radio (US)
Magic Moment: Final Party on Enghavevej 80 + SuperMayer in the bus
Line-up: Nöze (F), Shit Robot (NYC), Oh Land (DK), Alexander Robotnick (IT), Mia (Berlin), Kris Menace (DE), Djuma Sound System (DK), Chicks On Speed (DE)
Remarkable Hosts: Rio (Berlin), EasyJetSet (Berlin), Le ParisParis (Paris), Roskilde Festival (DK), Trentemøller (DK), AiAiAi (DK), Wet Yourself (London), Pig Magazine (Milano)
Magic Moment: Final Party at VM Bjreget, an 8-storey parking lot.
Line-up: RadioClit (UK/SE), TTC (F), Shir Khan (DE), Pocket Knife (US), Cousin Cole (US), Diskokaine + Wolfy&Jim (Vienna), P.Toile (DE), Kasper Björke (DK), TomBoy (DK)
Remarkable Hosts: Nuits Sonores (F), discobelle.net (SE), Vice, Copenhagen Cathedral (DK)
Magic Moment: 1.500+ people on Halmtorvet: the first big street party and 3.000+ guests at Halvandet: the first big Final Party.
Line-up: Spank Rock (US), Lindstrøm (N), Joakim (F), WhoMadeWho (DK), Erobique (DE), Gebruder Teichmann (DE), MixMasterMorris (space)
Remarkable Hosts: Vice Magazine (US), Guarana Power (DK), Crunchy Frog (DK), Iceland Airwaves (IS), Culture Box (DK), Mads Nørgaard (DK), Mads Vegas & Henrik Vibskov (DK)
Magic Moment: Spank Rock at Rust + Chaca afteparty
Line-up: Pilooski (F), Lindstrøm (NO), Prins Thomas (NO), Mark Moore (UK), Arnaud Rebotini (F), Sascha Funke (DE), Kiki (DE), Headman (UK), WhoMadeWho (DK), Mu (JP). At other events hosted by Distortion in 2005: Hot Chip (UK), Sebastien Tellier (F), Diplo (US), M.I.A. (UK)
Remarkable Hosts: Christiania (DK), Optimo (Glasgow), Electro GoGo (London), Solid Water (Paris), Ingen Frygt (IS/DK), La Johnson (Paris), Kitsuné (Paris), BPitchCtrl (DE), WhomadeWho (DK), Vega (DK), Escho (DK)
Magic Moment: Glam/Canvas Street Party on Fælledvej & Powerplant on Blågårdsgade
Line-up: Simian Mobile Disco (F), Joakim (F), Martini Brothers (DE), Oskar Melzer (DE), Dirty Sound System (F)
Remarkable Hosts: d-i-r-t-y.com (F), colette (Paris), F.U.N. (Berlin), Superflex (DK), V-1 Gallery (DK), Colonel (F/DK), dunst (DK)
Magic Moment: a preparty ballet with two partybus and two partyboats, all landing simultaneously at Final Party, Silo Islands Brygge.
Line-up: Superpitcher (DE), Feadz (F), TTC (F)
Remarkable Hosts: Ambassade de France (F) & Goethe Institut (DE), FOS (DK)
Magic moment: His Excellency the French Ambassador & Madame, not really understanding how they got there, on the champagne-party boat + HappySpaceBoy raverbus + the birth of the traditional Final Party open-air afterparty (under the windmills of Refshaleøen).
In the period 1998-2002, Distortion was 100% local, experimental randomness. We were lucky in 2001 that DeLaSoul (US) made a surprise DJ-appearance at an afterparty (thank you Master Fatman). And we were lucky that FOS & TAL R made a video piece as visuals for the very first “Distortion - a Celebration of Copenhagn Nightlife” party, in Mantra, Tivoli, September 1998.