Clubbing In Copenhagen? Check out VEGA
Hosting over 300 concerts a year, VEGA is the queen of all Copenhagen music venues. The iconic venue recently celebrated its 20th birthday. It was a party the Tuborg Foundation couldn’t miss.
Designed by Vilhelm Lauritzen in 1956, Vega is a piece of Danish history. The building was originally called the “People’s house” because that what was it was: a place for everybody to meet, to celebrate life and the community. Simple outside, modernist, beautifully decorated and awe-inspiring inside.
Its success as “people’s house” declined in the 80’s and this architectural gem risked becoming just another boring supermarket. Instead, in 1996, thanks to the courage and vision of Bjørn Nørgaard, it reopened its doors with the new name of Vega - house of music, culture and young people.
Ever since VEGA has been the go-to venue for music lovers. It’s the place where you see legends for the first time. Coldplay, Placebo, Moby, you name it. Check the program here.
VEGA recently celebrated its 20th birthday and we didn’t turn up empty-handed. By means of a birthday gift, the Tuborg Foundation pitched in for a new sound system, pleasuring eardrums for the years to come.
Johan Olsen, musician, lead singer of Magtens Korridorer and member of the Tuborg Foundation Board held a speech at the VEGA anniversary. We have translated it for you from the Tuborg Foundation website to give you the sense of what this place represents for the artists and the audience alike and why it is important for us to support it. Don't forget to check it out when you are in Copenhagen!
“To us musicians, Vega is the Promised Land. It is the Queen of Music Venues..."
“To us musicians, Vega is the Promised Land. It is the Queen of Music Venues, the ultimate approval of the efforts of the practice room, or the attempt of foreign bands at venturing out internationally. VEGA is the place where you heard them the first time: Coldplay, Placebo, and more recently Daughter. VEGA is long queues of suspiciously squeaky clean teenagers on a Wednesday evening where you hurry home to check who’s playing, only to find out that it is some – to us of a dignified age – complete unknown but just as squeaky clean a teenager.
VEGA is the place where all the black-clad, scull decorated Fernet gargling locals sit and wait on getting properly pummelled by Hank Williams III. VEGA is my local venue, and even when it is cold we cycle there in T-shirts to avoid the cloakroom queues. This is where opening acts that you perhaps had wanted to check out, but just had not quite managed to get to as you met Jake and Dellefar (Lapdog Dad) at McKluud (http://www.mckluud.dk/). VEGA is the place where Daisy (author’s wife) by chance had a lengthy talk with David Bowie. VEGA is standing in the concert hall waiting while technicians fix obscure stuff on stage and I then skip to the bar area to fetch beer and hope I can find Daisy again on my return to the hall.
When our local haunt is packed at 6 PM on a Thursday, you can rest assured that it is due to VEGA guests meeting in groups, surely as excited as kids but trying to pretend that they are skeptical because of the latest record, and we are sitting at our table trying to guess which kind of music they will be hearing, before we actually ask them.
To me, VEGA is cycling there after the sound test. I park my bicycle by Lagkagehuset (a baker’s shop) to avoid it getting buried later among the audience’s mountains of bicycles. I walk through the elevator, greet the woman who is on duty and who has always been extremely kind and walk on to meet the others. Even though you have played loads of club gigs, it is still with some sort of devoutness that you arrive at VEGA. It is still bleeding VEGA! And there we have Leigh Pearce, the chef of all chefs, welcoming me and asking if Daisy will be coming and if we are ready for his mushroom risotto, and the draught beer dispenser is tempting me while friends are popping by, and you can have all the skill you care to muster but this is different as this is your home ground, this is your Vesterbro (Copenhagen neighbourhood), and this is your VEGA.
Then, you are due on stage, the last visit to the old terrazzo clad toilet, while scaling the steps up and into the darkness, hearing the sound of the audience chatting in the concert hall, the music the engineer plays on the sound system as our backliner smiles at us with his arms crossed and his eyes asks “Yeah? Are you ready?” You steel a glimpse of the audience on the hall floor and f**k, it can fit a sea of people, it’s insane, our manager tells us “30 seconds”. Rasmus rubs his cold hands and says true to tradition “This can only go horribly wrong,” and then you’re at it, playing at the world’s most spectacular concert hall, shrouded in distinguished geometry, made of fine wood, truly beautiful and full of memories and greatness.
VEGA is also Lille VEGA (Small VEGA) where I have gotten lost three times in what seems like an Alice in Wonderland universe of altering hallways, staircases, mezzanines and storerooms. You are basically trapped in a scene from Spinal Tap.
"VEGA lives intensely within us who have kissed her."
VEGA is where great dreams are made, where you can laugh and cry. Where you can be overwhelmed by the many different expressions of the essentials of being human, as long as you are here, the essence, in VEGA we live intensely, VEGA lives intensely within us who have kissed her.
VEGA has been through good times and bad. I hope the future will be bright. I hope and believe that the people in charge here know what a great responsibility they have both to their employees and their audiences. I look forward to going to oceans of concerts in VEGA in the future. And hopefully I will be allowed to experience some of them from the stage floor, too. Rock on, VEGA. Cheers and congratulations.”
Johan Olsen, musician, lead singer of Magtens Korridorer and member of the Tuborg Foundation Board
- Source: Tuborg Foundation