Heartland Festival 2019

Heartland Festival lasts three days and offers many treats in four main categories; MUSIC, ART, TALK and FOOD. DANSK Magazine has joined the festival to review selected artistic events.


It rains and I got up at 5 AM to get to this. In return, the infrastructure is marked primarily with fairy lights and occasional chandeliers or Chinese lamps. In the maze surrounding the castle, the chandeliers and Chinese lamps are hanging above the visitors’ heads under the lush treetops. They give slight shelter from the rain– just slight. The end of the chandelier chain marks the beginning of the show area. Today’s main music event is American Grammy-winner Solange. but before is decorated artist Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen. While the rain shifts from pouring to sprinkling, a long cloth hoodie in deep blue comes walking towards the Artibum stage with a pair of slender women feet at the bottom. The cloth pile enters the scene and grabs the microphone with a firm grip and the cloth starts talking. In alphabetic order, the cloth walks the audience through numerous sorts of textiles. Each textile’s story and abilities are presented and told in 1st person narrator, so that each textile is given a voice, an identity. Halfway through, Rasmussen removes her hoodie and continues in uprated volume. After the show, Rasmussen tells DANSK Magazine that the performance called “Tow with the Flow” is a part of the ART-2030 project, a project that invites artists worldwide to connect the United Nations’ Global Goals to a piece of artwork. A reduction of consumption is one of the 17 global goals and Rasmussen’s contribution is meant as an audience’s reminder, a buyer’s reminder, of all of the different identities and histories we take on each day and that they have costs and values.

Thus reminded, I go to see Ruben Östlund & David Shrigley. Shrigley is the artist behind the enormous inflatable “SWAN-THING” that floats around in the castle’s moat amongst the other smaller and less bait-able swans. Östlund is a Swedish film-director who amongst other prestigious nominations, was nominated for an academy award in the category Best Foreign Language Film. In this talk, the two artists discuss artistic censorship and after 50 minutes of listing different types of censorship – artistic, political, governmental, social, self-conducted, and more. – Shrigley introduces the idea of “an endorsement of everything” and the moderator lets it be the conclusion.

On top of this, food is next, and the choice falls on a “chufa bun with locally churned butter”. The main difference between a regular sour dough bun and the chufa kind? The prize. They charge extra for including the grounded ‘chufa’ (a weird African nut) in the dough. Nonetheless, it got me ready for Solange, which in return wasn’t ready for me. The concert was delayed half an hour. When it going the first half of it was challenged by too many technical problems, the bas was disproportionate to everything and so was the sexualization of the dancers. Nonetheless, they pulled it of mostly due to Solange’s self-aware charm, enviously long legs and be-autiful voice – not to forget the choir girls’ – and the well-implemented choreography. The highlights were the clothes (delicious lounge suits with strap tops underneath making references to Solange’s Destiny’s Child days and Solange’s boss marker; a Texas quilt hat) and Solange getting personal with the crowd, telling them they’ve been missed and to put their phones down “just for this one song, just for this minute and will have a party” and so they did.


In the center of the festival park stands Henrik Vibskov’s installation “The Radish Arm Charm”, which he created for his AW19 catwalk show in Paris. The installation is 25 meters long and is wide enough for one to walk through it. Inside it, recycled beer kegs are placed with radishes grown in The Henrik Vibskov Studio in Copenhagen. The installation is inspired by the meeting between nature, technology and art. Originally, when one walked through this tunnel of nature, technology and art it would move up and down as one walked. In spite of the neon light and artificial expression, the installation oddly enough manages to blend in and contribute to the festival’s surroundings. It attracts everyone and there is a regular line out front of it but nobody hurries. Everyone takes their time when walking through it and they all come out with a smile, a shrug and a curious look – and then they come back.


Vivienne Westwood. Fashion icon, creator of the punk revolution, DAME, activist, you name it, you google ‘Vivienne’ and she is all over and 30 minutes before the talk begins, the audience is all over. A several hundred meters long queue has gathered and the masterwort is set up to live-stream the whole thing, which Viv opens by clapping her hands to the outer sides of her thighs and agreeing to the ovation, saying “Yes, here I am”. Westwood delivered the otherwise vexed message, that we are an endangered species, with wit, kindness and invitation and presented her analysis of how to “save the world from self-destruction”. Westwood encourages all to act and has come to the conclusion that “an activist is one who reads books and wants the world to be a better place”. We must all be activists, she says, and just to refute the critics in advance, she adds that the fashion designer and the activist are not each other’s’ opposites – just look at her.

From an extrovert vision to an introvert, American post-structuralist philosopher, sociologist and queer-theorist, Judith Butler, discusses “the future of gender politics”. Butler is a world leading philosopher and to traditionalists and conservatives a radical, but the one-hour-talk centers about her popular opinions instead of her radicals. It results in rapid, well-deserved ovations, but leaves many questions unanswered too. One journalist said, that the talk was “a waste of greatness” – which I though was a spot-on review.

The visit on the other hand was no waste. Three days of a varied supply of delicious food, elegantly incorporated art, exiting talks and good music are highly recommendable and will be back next year from the 29th – the 31st of May.

This was a review over selected events at Heartland festival and will be followed up on with exclusive interviews with some of the artists.  

For more information go to https://www.heartlandfestival.dk

by Mathilde Nielsen