We actually attended a music event in 2020! Here’s how Uhørt festival went down

This weekend, we spent a day at the Copenhagen music festival UHØRT which took place under certain Covid-19 restrictions. Meet FVN and GRETA who nailed it at the first (and probably only) festival in Copenhagen this year.

GRETA by Emma Ishøy
GRETA by Emma Ishøy

Picture this: You’re at a festival, the sun has set, and the light from the stage is painting the arriving night sky purple while a solid combination of R&B and hard-hitting hip hop is smashing through the speakers. You’re sitting on a staircase overlooking the crowd as your eye catches the sight of a girl disappearing behind the black tent where a sound engineer is working. Shortly after, her friends follow, one by one. You’re wondering why they’re all hiding back there. Five minutes later, they’re back again, one by one, with smiles even bigger than when they left and new energy pumping through their veins. They’ve clearly been up to something that wasn’t allowed: They’ve been secretly dancing.

It’s the year 2020 and we’re at UHØRT Festival – one of Copenhagen’s leading festivals for new music discovery. Normally, it’s taking place over two days in August but this year, two more days have been added to fit the requirement for distance and instead of sweating in the hot August sun, a chilly September breeze is making the crowd longing for the days when we could all just get a little bit closer – or dance the cold away. But we can’t. We have to sit down if we want festivals like these to take place, the security guards kindly remind us.

“Sing out loud if you know this one!” an artist shouts from the stage before correcting himself: “Oh f*ck, I forgot you’re not allowed to!”

Was it a bizarre festival experience? Yeah, for sure. Was it worth it? Absolutely! This was the first and probably only music festival to take place in Copenhagen the whole year, and the limited amount of people who attended was more than hungry for the live music that some of us have spent the past 10 years taking for granted.

Video / Subs: Emma Ishøy

FVN: “It’s not your regular rap concert”

Females or female-fronted acts made up one third of the line-up curated by a range of folks from the Danish music industry, and this Saturday we caught up with two of them to talk about their music and playing live for the first time in a while.

Our new fav rapper FVN brought her crisp new single “Work” alongside other bangers like “Pause” and “Mad Ting” and two killer freestyles when she and her DJ JVC took the stage. Her show was 30 minutes of slayin’ punchlines, bulletproof flow, dance moves that a certain music writer could only dream of pulling off and one big demonstration of her indomitable joy of rapping and performing. We met with FVN a few hours after her show.

So many people have come up to you after the show today – what have they been telling you?

– A lot of them came up to me like, ‘WOW! This has been the best experience in a long time’ or like, ‘The best show today’, and that just makes me so happy, cause it’s been a while since I’ve been on stage due to this madness. And it’s just so uplifting and actually really motivating, and now I’m just like, ‘When can I do this again!” Haha!

Why do you think that your music makes such an impact on people?

I think folks are excited because I honestly don’t think that a lot of people do what I do in Denmark. And I’m not only talking about rapping, but rapping the way I do and performing the way I do. I really do feel like I add a different flavor and a different energy. It’s not your regular rap concert. I really try to be part of the party. It’s not me and you, it’s us. So I think that’s maybe why people get moved. I hope so, cause that’s what I’m trying to do at least.

You implemented freestyles in your set which is such a bold move and not something you see in every hip hop show. What does freestylin’ mean to you?

For me, rapping is everything. I love rapping and it’s so important for me to show that some of us can actually still spit bars! No shades, no body, like, I love what everybody do, I love diversity in music, I love different types of rap genres and everything. But I just want people to know that I really do spit and I bust my ass off to write these rhymes, so it’s just an important flex for me.

Photo: Emma Ishøy

“I just want people to know that I really do spit and I bust my ass off to write these rhymes” – FVN

What has Covid-19 meant to you as an artist?

Oh! Covid-19 has just been a mess, but honestly it’s just been good to like, take a breather and just chill and figure out what the next move is. I just can’t stand here and say that I’ve been super productive, cause I actually have not, haha!

But here we are at a real life festival! Obviously there are some restrictions and we’re not allowed to dance or even stand up. Your music is so uptempo – what was it like?

I actually think people were really turned up sitting down. Everybody was making movement trying to enjoy themselves, but I was just making sure that I got in contact with them, looking them in their eyes, waving my hands, shaking my butt, doing whatever I could to get people into the vibe.

GRETA: “I had time to think about myself as an artist”

After having seen acts like Marcus.Wav, Mp. Oxford, føl som and Kara Moon who entered the stage as a one-woman army with loop pedals, synthesizer and a stunning voice, we said farewell to UHØRT with a last performance by alternative pop act GRETA.

The German-raised / Denmark-based artist just released her critically acclaimed debut album Ardent Spring, which was also the turning point for this show. The clock showed past midnight and the sky had turned dark as GRETA and her band took to the stage with their distinct synth-pop where GRETAs haunting vocals and cool stage presence made the show a captivating end to an event we’d longed for the whole year. “I’m on fire,” GRETA said when we met her before the show and asked if she was ready to play live again: “There’so much energy and you get, so many endorphins from playing live. It’s like an energy exchange – it’s the best! It’s like a natural high.

So you’ve literally just released your debut album! I know this is such a cliché question, but I want to know anyway – how does it feel to release an album for the first time?

It feels like… I don’t know how giving birth feels, but this just feels like you’re releasing a big part of yourself and you have to let it go, and then it becomes its own life. It’s a great feeling, but for me it’s also very emotional because it’s like the end of a time and the beginning of a new.

If you picture yourself 10 years from now looking back at this album and this time of your life, what do you think that you’ll remember?

I think that I’ll remember growing up and getting in touch with my German roots again after being here [in Denmark, red.] for a while. I think it will be my ‘growing up’ album and it will always mean a lot. I’ve recorded the whole album in Berlin because my producer lives there, and I kind of fell in love again with the whole city and also with my language. I’ve lived in Denmark for almost 10 years now and now I can see my hometown in Northern Germany – and I can see everything from a distance, with new eyes. In the beginning, when I moved here, it was like there was a German GRETA and a Danish GRETA, but now it’s all one – the circle is closed!

Photo: Emma Ishøy
Photo: Emma Ishøy

How has this whole lock-down thing affected you as an artist?

I was supposed to play Roskilde Festival and SPOT Festival and a lot of other stuff. I was supposed to be going on tour with Teitur, I was supposed to be moving to Berlin for half a year, I was supposed to get married, so it was a lot! But I think it was a gift as well, because I had time to write a new album and I had time to think about myself as an artist. It has given me a stronger picture of myself and maybe also a calmness.

Now we’re here, and you’re playing live! How have you prepared for this show?

I want to give people the same experience, I want to give people a bit of a festival vibe and a live concert vibe. There are so many things that are different now, so I feel that the music and the performance have to be what it is!

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