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Nine Rocks: An on-screen memorial to those who died at Roskilde


- Tor Nygård Kolding came close to being killed during the 2000 Roskilde Festival accident – now he commemorates “those who lay beneath me and died”

Nine Rocks: An on-screen memorial to those who died at Roskilde
Nine Rocks – the nine gravestones in Roskilde, in an open field, with nine birch trees

Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, the largest rock gathering in the Nordic countries, in the year 2000: US group Pearl Jam had just started their concert, and a large portion of the 100,000-strong audience surged towards the Orange Stage. Neither the barriers nor the security guards could stop them. 

A group of desperate festivalgoers were crushed in front of the stage. Nine were killed, but at the last moment, Danish director Tor Nygård Kolding was rescued by another attendee, after he had started panicking on top of the lifeless body of another young man. 

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“That night, I left my innocence behind me, having learned how fragile life can be. My immediate reaction was to forget about it. I tried to erase the images from my mind and continue with my life,” he recalled, and for the next ten years it worked for him.

“Then a friend showed me some photos of the festival that he had shot with a Kodak Instamatic, and I realised that I was still suffering from a bad conscience: why was I the one who survived and who was given the opportunity to live on and have children of my own?” 

Kolding decided to make a documentary about “those who lay beneath me and died”, and Nine Rocks [+see also:
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– co-directed and edited by Rikke Selin – will have its premiere at the Roskilde Festival on 30 June, exactly 15 years after the tragic event took place. 

Produced by Nynne Selin Eidnes, of First Lady Film, the film follows Kolding’s meetings with the victims’ families, a reverend, his best friend and his own mother. The movie thus also serves as a healing process, allowing him to return to this year’s festival, and celebrate life, love and rock ’n’ roll.

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