I’m headed to Denmark for the 17th time.

I tell myself it’s because I'm working on some music projects over there, and much of my journalism focuses on the Nordic music scene, but the fact is I just love Copenhagen, and I’ll find any excuse to go.  If you’re flexible, and travel light, airlines like Norwegian  are doing return trips from major U.S. cities for as little as $400USD.  AirBnB means you can procure affordable lodging in expensive cities while simultaneously collecting rent on your home as you travel.  I have been able to rent out my house in Chapel Hill, NC, nearly every time I’ve traveled somewhere.

Writing gigs don’t pay much these days, but with the aforementioned modern developments as cost offsets, I have been able to get to Berlin, Stockholm, Budapest, Hamburg, Århus, Tallinn, Reykjavik, and Malmö. If I’m willing to “sing for my supper” a little bit I can put together an almost breakeven working holiday. 

It was almost ten years ago that Denmark captured my heart, which it still holds. In no time I was in love with its people, functionally beautiful architecture, and casual stylishness that seems to permeate everything.  There is a distinct lack of formality, yet people rarely leave the house without looking put together. The famous, "simple yet functional" design is everywhere. The gateway to the city, Kastrup airport, was designed by Arne Jacobsen (of Egg Chair fame). There is no place on earth as glorious in the summer, when the temperature rarely hits 80F, and there are 20 hours of daylight. After months of hibernation the city comes alive.

Picnickers are everywhere and since public drinking is allowed, the city is teeming with friends sharing beers in parks, at the harbor, and on Dronning Louises Bro (Queen Louise’s Bridge). Owning a bike in CPH shows you understand the flow and vibe of the city. I keep one here now.  I don’t think that means I’ve married Copenhagen yet, but I’m pretty sure it means we're engaged.

This time, I’m heading over to experience a part of Copenhagen that no one has before, Danish or otherwise.  I'll be reporting from the very first HAVEN FESTIVAL, a two day arts, music, food and beer festival created by three of the top taste, drink and music makers in the entire world



Claus Meyer, aka The Father of the New Nordic Cuisine Movement, and Co-founder of the legendary noma restaurant. It was ranked #1 in the entire world 4x over. 


Photo by The Guardian

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø.


His Brewery Mikkeller has been ranked one of the top 3 breweries in the world. 


Photo provided by Haven Festival

Aaron and Bryce Dessner from the Grammy nominated American band The National

Photo Provided by Haven Festival

Traditionally festivals have fallen into one of two categories: a giant rock-n’roll mud orgy, or an exclusive event that is more about fashion than anything else

This festival is different.

The  powerhouses wanted to create a festival that anyone could afford to attend, and have access to the finest beers, food, music and interesting cultural experiences. With food curated and created by Claus Meyer,  festival goers will forgo the traditional festival fare for selects from the man who once had a waitlist of over 1,000 people at his restaurant in a single night.

The partners pondered, ‘What if we create something top drawer, but without pretense? What if it’s less of a music festival that has good food, and more of a food and beer festival where Iggy Pop and Band of Horses are also playing?

And what if we make it for everyone?’

On the music front, the line up couldn’t be better. Band of Horses, Beach HouseBon Iver, Conor Oberst, The National, Feist, Iggy Pop, Perfume Genius, and Tinariwen will be playing sets over the two days, along with some top notch Danish acts, like Iceage, and the brilliant When Saints Go Machine. Featured below are Iggy Pop and Feist.

The point is to not only feature what makes Danish food great, but what makes Denmark great. Average Danes may live in tiny spaces compared to Americans, but they prioritize making their environments special. The idea that “we can have nice things if we, as a society, want it” is in no way foreign to them, and HAVEN seems to be an extension of that.

To show how clean Copenhagen’s harbor is, divers will be bringing up oysters and serving them on the spot. Meyer will be giving live demonstrations on how to roast a goat.  Bjergsø's collective of punk rock and metal head brewers have taken it on as a challenge to brew a craft beer they can sell for about the same cost as a PBR. Spanish sausage makers will be giving a detailed explanation of how charcuterie is made. The Swedish synth maker, Teenage Engineering, has partnered with IKEA to make new music products, which they will demonstrate for the first time at HAVEN. 

To be clear, the festival isn’t cheap, per se, but to get this experience for  $200USD for two days feels like a bargain, especially when you consider the fact that seeing live music is more expensive in Europe. 

When I heard about HAVEN I found out as much as I could. Soon, Sigurd Hartkorn Plaetner was sending me detailed press releases, photos, and Q&A sessions with the organizers. I read interviews and announcements, and listened to podcasts. I still really don’t know what to expect, and I find that exciting.  

This weekend I will report from HAVEN and attempt to capture what promises to be a unique event. The backdrop of this festival just so happens to be my favorite city on earth, so I will also share with readers how I see Copenhagen, in pictures and in words. Be sure to sign up here for more updates and to follow me on @alexmaiolo or @WeWereWanderers.

Vi snakker igen snart, søde venner. 



Sign up for our weekly newsletter below and follow us on FB and IG. Alex will be reporting with updates from the festival.

For tickets or to learn more about the festival visit the official site at HAVEN  here.  For affordable flights check out Norwegian and Cheapoair

If you're looking for some Nordic inspiration and can't make the trek, you can visit some of Claus Meyer's NYC outposts below.

NYC Nordic Restaurantsfrom Claus Meyer 


1)$$$$ Agern - Fancy. White tablecloths. Celebrations or if you are a straight up baller. 


2)$$ Great Northern Food Hall-  Located in Grand Central Terminal - After work Scandinavian sandwiches + a bar! 


3)$Meyers Bageri - Williamsburg hipsters eat it up. Breads, sandwiches + pastries. Open Saturdays at 9am till food runs out. 



Discover Danish Music with an exclusive playlist by 

Alex Maiolo here. Featuring The Entrepreneurs,  and the Indie Dance stylings of WhoMadeWho, "one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen", n

ot to mention the deep bench of talent that comprises the fiercely independent Crunchy Frog, Big Oil, and Tambourhinoceros record labels.

Photo of WhoMadeWho from bandsite


Alex Maiolo is a Senior Contributor at Tape Op Magazine. He also contributes to Reverb.com, Premier Guitar, Shed Shreds, and Tom Tom magazines. He is an advisor to The Future of Music Coalition, South By Southwest, owns Seriously Adequate, the recording studio that hits above its weight, and plays guitar in the Psych Rock band Lacy Jags. You can follow him on the gram @alexmaiolo

Special thanks to Margaret McNab, Bertis Downs, and Caroline Le Bongoat


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