Eurovision Song Contest
The season of events kicks off in style with Eurovision Song Contest 2014, which is being held in Copenhagen from 6-10 May (following Denmark's win at last year's event). This global spectacular is officially the world's largest musical competition and will host entrants from 37 different countries, all hoping to win the coveted title. Copenhagen is expecting to welcome an anticipated 190,000 participants and fans during the festivities, while a further 170million around the world will watch the drama unfold on television. Denmark, Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom have already qualified for the Saturday night final, so the competition is sure to be fierce. Those not lucky enough to secure tickets to the event itself can still share the excitement at a number of parties being planned on Copenhagen's streets.
Beer and Food Festivals
Once the hubbub of Eurovision Song Contest subsides, Copenhagen's attention will turn to food and drink. Later that same month (22-24 May), Copenhagen Beer Festival 2014 will provide an opportunity for visitors to try more than 700 Danish beers from 70 different producers, all conveniently located under one roof (appropriately enough, in a converted brewery). The festival showcases the sheer diversity of Danish beers alongside traditional Danish foods. This is followed later in the summer (22-31 August) by the Copenhagen Cooking food festival, whose 150 events over a ten-day period make it one of Northern Europe's biggest food festivals. The focus here is on world food, typical Danish gastronomy and in particular the New Nordic Cuisine for which Denmark is at the vanguard.
Music also features heavily in the summer events schedule. First up is Distortion (4-8 June), an annual celebration of techno, hip-hop, dance and street art that draws around 100,000 party people to central Copenhagen. A stacked programme of street parties, pop-up parties, a harbour party and chill-out events ensures that revellers can dance from dusk till dawn and on till dusk again should they be so inclined. Unusually, most of the daytime and evening events are free of charge to attend, and the whole weekend is characterised by its decidedly upbeat vibe. There's more dance music later in the summer at Strøm Festival (11-17 August), which celebrates electronic music in all its forms through concerts, parties and workshops.
For something more sophisticated, Copenhagen Jazz Festival (4-13 July) brings live music to the city's streets, squares, jazz clubs and concert halls in one of the largest events of its kind in Europe. Those preferring the rock scene, meanwhile, might be enticed out of town to the Roskilde Festival (28 June - 6 July). Rather like Denmark's answer to Glastonbury, the event sees crowds of 80,000 camping out to experience big-name acts that in the past have included the likes of Bob Marley, U2 and Radiohead. This oustanding event - a rite of passage for many young Danes - raises money for cultural and humanitarian good causes.
Vikings, witches and Santa Claus
Those inspired by the forthcoming Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition at the British Museum (6 March – 22 June) might be intrigued by the world of Vikings, knights and deadly swordplay that's invoked at Copenhagen Medieval Market (6-9 June). More than 1,000 costumed actors will bring medieval society back to life for a family-friendly weekend extravaganza filled with 160 stalls, a jousting tournament and a Viking campsite reenactment. Other quirky summer festivals include a discovery of traditional Danish folklore on St John's Eve (23 June), when bonfires are set up across the country to burn a 'witch' fashioned out of rags in a bid to scare evil sprits away. And for something really incongruous on a summer weekend, head to Bakken (the world's oldest amusement park) for the World Santa Claus Congress, when hundreds of elves, pixies and Father Christmases gather for some unseasonal Yuletide cheer (21-23 July).