Monday, May 27, 2013

The broke guide to Roskilde: Part 1


It's almost June and the days of Roskilde will soon be upon us. Here, I will present a strategy for reducing the cost of an eight day holiday filled with debauchery and booze. 

The first step is the acquisition of a free ticket. The price of a festival pass is 1910kr + a delivery fee. So scoring a volunteer pass is the obvious way to save almost 2000kr. I stumbed upon this Facebook group which currently lists volunteer opportunities for tower guards for this year's festival. 

Update: Since writing this article, it has come to my attention that the Facebook group listed above asks for a 1000kr deposit. That is bullshit. I, nor any of my friends have ever paid for the opportunity of working for free and you shouldn't either. Sure, they say the money will be returned and I suspect they are employing a "paid" system to reduce the number of people that only collect their volunteer bracelet, but never work their shifts. However, 1000kr is not a small amount of money and the amount of time it will take for that money to be returned is unknown. You are free to make the choice that you think is best for you. But I would not pay to work one of the worst positions available at Roskilde, especially since this is the first time I've heard of any position requiring a substantial monetary investment.   

But the website for The Ranch is much more rewarding as they are currently recruiting workers to work the food stall. But don't procrastinate as there are only 5 days left to sign up with them.

Roskilde is one of the largest festivals in Northern Europe and it is predominately run by volunteers. This means there are hundreds of positions to fill, ranging from campsite security to ticket seller. I was lucky enough to work at one of the bars and can say it is the best position to have, especially if you enjoy meeting new people. There are numerous cost saving benefits each job comes with and you should weigh them when presented with several volunteer opportunities. 

Most positions will allow access to the worker's area. Here, volunteers can enjoy a free cup of coffee, phone charging, and storage. But the best part are the free "hot" showers. They're only hot if you go early in the morning when most are sleeping off hangovers. But they're free so no one complains. There's also free messages, but after two years of attempts, I have never had one and cannot confirm their existence. 

Some positions will also include meal vouchers and drink tickets. These are usually given to those working in bars or food stalls (this is why they are best jobs). The meal vouchers are limited to a few options, but they are all pretty tasty. To get the greatest value, save them for the higher-priced places like burger joints and the Roskilde staple, Thai Lanna.

As the festival gets closer and businesses scramble to find find workers, more and more advertisements for volunteers will pop up. Pay attention to message boards around university campuses if you're still looking for a job. Another strategy is contacting the businesses directly and ask if they are in need of additional help. Visit the official festival page to see which business will have a presence there and then email them. Yes this is forward and a bit aggressive, but should pay off. Most of the best positions are advertised through word-of-mouth. So this is the only way you'll find out about them if key players are not a part of your network.

In the next part, I'll discuss the things you should do before and during the festival to save some kroner, including meal plans, travel tickets, and supplies. Happy Roskilde!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Christiania: More than just a stoner's paradise

Everyone knows that Christiania is the place to go when you're in search of an herbal high. It is impossible to miss the chunks of dark brown hash on the tables lining Pusher Street. Unfortunately, the highly visible cannabis market often blinds non-smokers to the cool and free activities the larger hippie community offers. 

This weekend will be the 40th anniversary of Loppen, a music venue featuring popular rock, punk, and hip hop bands from all over the world. In addition to free music from popular Danish artists (some of whom are remarkably talented), low priced treats will be available including homemade hotdogs, pickles, and pulled pork sandwiches. The info page also lists cake which I assume will be free since it is a birthday party

Not to be outdone by Loppen, Nemoland will also be hosting a number of free concerts starting this Sunday. The series will kick off with a performance by two artists I want to be my new Bff's, Linkoban and Lucy Love. 

Chinese born and Danish bred, Linkoban is pure awesome sauce. Her style can be best described as dub-pop, the lovely child of dubstep and pop. Her first big hit, Like This, is a never-fail crowd pleaser and brings everyone to their feet. I love her.

As we can see, Linkoban is awesome. And we have the equally fantastic Lucy Love to thank for introducing the world to her protege. 

Lucy Love is more grime than pop, and her courage and willingness to experiment with music as well as appearance makes her a wonderful live performer.  

You can check out the full schedule here. Another performance I highly recommend is WhoMadeWho. The drummer alone, Tomas Barfod, is enough to make me drop everything and run to Christiania. He is walking sex. But he and the rest of the band are more than just (really tasty) eye candy. One of my friends described their performances as parties and he was totally right. The group actually have fun with their fans and their infectious energy simply cannot be beat. 

I had the immense pleasure of seeing this performance live at Roskilde and there aren't enough words in my vast vocabulary to describe how wonderful they are. 

So there you have it, several delicious reasons to venture to the wilderness that is Christiania, even if you don't smoke or drink. And these are just a few treats of many. The community also contains several restaurants, including two affordable vegetarian places and one rather upscale establishment. There's also a free sauna (edit: since this was written, the sauna has been closed to non-residents), movie theater, and I believe a planetarium (but don't quote me on the last one). 

The hippies founded Christiania with the belief that it should be open to everyone. And forty-one years later, their dream is still going strong. To those on a limited budget, this place was made for you.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Moving Sucks

Photo: Hyperbole and a Half

I said this blog was going to be about the lessons learned while living on a limited budget in an expensive country. So please allow me this rant.

I am a nomad. I have lived in about 10 different places, in two different countries, over the last 6 years. And while the thrill of adventure can be a wonderful thing, the constant upheaval and lack of long-term stability is starting to take it's toll.

The actual moving of stuff isn't the worst part (though it is close). No, what sucks major donkey balls is the finding the place to move your crap to. And doing so when you are financially challenged is the turd cream on a poop pie. When money is not an object, you can pay bloodsuckers realtors to do the hard work for you. For upwards of 15 percent of the annual rent, someone else will go through the trouble of finding your perfect dream home/ apartment. But if you're like me and every dollar/ euro/ kroner counts, such luxury is not an option.

Apartment searching is difficult largely because people are assholes and the entire process makes me want to crawl into a ball and cry. My latest foray into apartment listings has caused my midday drinking to increase exponentially. The worst room tumblr is only funny when you're not the one showing up to each viewing with the expectation of finding something that is actually habitable. People who list closets as cozy rooms should be gut-punched by every person that answers the ad. 

I also have an intense hatred for people who use apartment listings as personal ads. No, I will not use my vagina in lieu of cash to pay for shelter. 

And if you think intra-city moves are stressful, good lord, try international moves. You have all of the same stress, but now you have the added worry of scammers since you're not in the actual country you're moving to. Here, a trustworthy friend is a godsend (Thanks Tandi). Currently, I'm trying to move from Denmark to Germany so that I can work there legally as an American citizen. Another monkey wrench for me is my work permit is dependent on me obtaining housing. So I can't work to afford a better place until I shell out the money for a crappy one. Did I mention that I will not even live in this apartment for the first three months since I will be traveling for my job?

Just writing this is making me frustrated, where's my beer?