Heartland Festival at Egeskov Slot

Heartland Festival is a new event held at Egeskov Slot, a medieval castle on the island of Fyn, Denmark. The castle and the surrounding gardens and compound is an unusual stage for such an event. This is the second year the festivals is running and it is already making an impression and having a strong identity.

I was volunteering as a photographer – focus on the atmosphere and general feel of the event. Here is what I captured during the 3 days.

Heartland Festival – TRying to raise the bar

The festival focuses on contemporary music, art, food and artist talks and that makes a big difference in the overall ambiance of the festival. My impression is that the audience is well educated, well behaved, well off and the festival is not about being cheap and it definitely wants to do something else than all the other festivals that mainly focuses on just music. It’s a place to go if you want to acquire some cultural capital!

There has been given extra care in “decorating” the castles garden with lights, art installations and small hideouts where you can chill, take a nap or charge your phone. The venue is kept nice and clean by an army of volunteers, the food and drinks are nice (and expensive). For example there is a champagne and oyster bar! On the site you will find art exhibits, a big playground for the kids made specifically for the event. Lots of impressions for all senses!

The quality of all the different parts are fairly high and chosen to have an edge. “Niceness” is just oozing through the venue. One might say, that in order to please well paying customers, the event doesn’t really challenge the visitors. What I really like about the experience was, that it was sssoooooo relaxed. There even was a special area with wellness (saunas, firewood heated hot tubs and an bathtub filled with ice water).

Also…. The four different legs of the festival (music, art, food and artist talks) is a challenge. Wanting to cover all four subjects unfortunately leaves me with the impression that the four areas fail to complement each other. Some of the artist talks were badly moderated so the topics were almost forgotten and the content was meager. And yes… I know… it’s just the second year the Heartland Festival is running and they are of to a good start!


I worked as a volunteer photographer and I brought my full setup. Fujifilm X-Pro2, X-T1, and the primes XF14, XF23F2, XF35F1.4 and XF56F1.2. It was a bit overkill, but better safe than sorry. I could have pulled it of with just one camera and two primes (23mm and 35mm). My focus was the overall atmosphere, art installations and the nighttime/dusk feel with the lights and people.

I shoot a mix of manual/aperture priority mode… kind of. I usually fix an ISO and estimate a shutter speed that would underexpose just slightly. I then have the front wheel and exposure compensation to quickly adjust when shooting.. Not to forget the aperture control. 90% of the time I use manual focus (with back button assist).

Small side note: I do not envy the photographers covering the concerts… They did a really amazing job, but running around with 2-3 Canon 5D with tele lenses requires a lot of effort and muscles. I just loved my small setup even though sometimes I thought; It’s so annoying  to walk around with a camera on each shoulder! ( I know… First World Problems….).

Any who… Check out the Instagram of Heartland Festival and catch a glimpse of the event.

I am almost certain I will be going back next year if it fits my schedule. Maybe I will see you?

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