Samsoe Festival Association stands behind the annual Samsoe Festival – Denmark’s most enjoyable festival – held every year in week 29 since 1990.
In 1989, an initiative group invited all associations on Samsoe to a meeting at Brundby Hotel to create interest in starting a festival. To develop the culture and bring people to the island.
The grass roots started immediately, toilets were to be rented for the forthcoming festival, and you should also have a budget. So, we invested in an accounting book.
The budget estimate landed at DKK 500,000. Neither more nor less. Admission was set at 200 DKK for 3 days of music. We tried various sponsorships and was almost shocked when Ceres announced that they would sponsor DKK 30,000 and Burger Henning would sponsor DKK 20,000. Of course, they received a exclusive negotiation of their goods.
But we needed more money, so we made a lot of bingo held in Samsoe Hallen, exclusively with winnings sponsored by the businessmen on the island. The surplus was counted by a board sitting in a circle on the floor, each with a stack of coins between the legs. It is believed to remember that it gave a profit of 10,000 DKK.
Now there was enough money to the music, and it was therefore ordered, among other things. Michael Learns to Rock, Poul Dissing and Djursland Spillemændene. The kitchen consisted of bookshelves and some pots. The musicians ate together with the volunteers. None too high and none too low!
What the board fought most was the prejudice of people to the strangers who would now occupy the island. Now you had to take the keys out of the car when you parked, and you should lock the front door at night!
Today there is a board of 10 people, who volunteer all year round to arrange the event of the year. Several of the members of the board have been involved for over 25 years, they can in many ways be referred to as firebrands. Several of the board members spend up to 3 weeks of their summer holidays in the weeks 28 – 29-30. Between 6 – 9000 guests have visited the festival every year, in recent years.
The members of the Board have each their responsibilities, where each area is again staffed with several volunteers who participate in the planning. In total, the settlement requires approx. 1,600 volunteers in week 29. During the festival it is a requirement of work 21 hours the week before and 28 hours the week after. However, there are people who work between 60 and 80 hours. All the volunteers eat in a large tent, so here is also a large service device in progress.
Revenue has in recent years been 15-16 million. DKK. Samsoe Festival is exempt from VAT. To obtain a VAT exemption, it requires that the profit must be distributed to charities, such as scouts, shooting associations and sports associations.
During the last 4 years the festival has been able to distribute approx. DKK 1.7 million. To these associations, which has brought great joy in the many associations where the economy needs a boost. So voluntary work is of major importance to the island.
Many guests and volunteers take it as a holiday, as most people do not go home every night. When you have the day off, you can enjoy the campsite and the nice beach just 50 meters from the festival camp.
Throughout the festival, the festival has been visited by all Danish bands over time. The music on the big stage starts Wednesday and ends the night to Sunday. Camping is open to guests from Tuesday morning until Sunday.
Einar Mortensen, Chairman, Samsoe Festival
Foto 2016, Palle Smedegaard & Carsten Hoelstad.