Music festival recycles urine to make beer — and it’s not in Austin

Updated July 19, 2015

Would Austin be willing to go yellow in order to go green?

The largest music festival in Northern Europe, Roskilde Festival in Denmark, collected tanks full of urine from its concert-goers earlier this month, according to the Guardian, which festival organizers planned to transport to nearby barley fields to use as fertilizer. That barley will eventually be used to brew beer to be served at Roskilde 2017, organizers say.

Bottoms up, Hamlet.

If you think this is the work of some rogue concert promoter, think again. Roskilde teamed with the Danish Agriculture & Food Council for this “beercycling” project.

“The huge amount of urine produced at festivals was having a negative impact on the environment and the sewage system,” DAFC representative Leif Nielsen told the Guardian. “But beercycling will turn the urine into a resource.”

According to the Guardian, organizers hoped to collect 25,000 liters of urine from more than 100,000 Roskilde attendees. This year, the festival’s star-studded lineup included Paul McCartney, Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj, Disclosure, Muse and many other acts whom the project’s braintrust hope deposited their liquid assets in the urinals next to the stages.

Of course, Austin is home to its fair share of music festivals, as well as a cottage industry devoted to all things odd. At last year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival, we took a tour inside the “Golden Porta Potty,” a sparkling mobile throne fit for Midas himself. South By Southwest has seen plenty of gimmicks in the past, including a giant Doritos vending machine. Of course, Fun Fun Fun Fest excels at this kind of tomfoolery; its taco cannon is practically the patron saint of Austin music festivals.

As far as we know, though, the ales at ACL Fest this October will just be the typical shade of amber.

The ATX-Files

A couple of El Paso locals said they captured photos of an unidentified, cube-like object hovering over the city two weeks ago, according to the Houston Chronicle. Fletcher Gray, the head Texas investigator for the Mutual UFO Network, said he believed the pictures were computer generated, the Chronicle reported.

Maybe aliens won’t be colonizing El Paso any time soon. But several UFOs have been reportedly spotted in Austin over the years. A handful of audience members at ACL Fest saw what they believed to be a trio of UFOs in a triangular formation during the Cure’s 2013 set, according to the Texas UFO Sightings website. However, another festival-goer later came forward and chalked the eerie experience up to a few paper lanterns floating overhead.

An anonymous tipster submitted a report to Texas UFO Sightings in November 2014 regarding “a huge object hovering far above, triangular in shape, with colorful lights all over it,” spotted while driving on Interstate 30. No photographic evidence was captured.

Could Austin become the next Roswell? Keep your eyes to sky, and read about more sightings at

— Catherine Alvarado, American-Statesman Staff


• New girl alert: Bangs icon Zooey Deschanel, currently expecting a child, has been spotted around Austin recently alongside fiancé Jacob Pechenik, according to several Daily Mail reports. She was also spotted by yours truly at Justine’s Brasserie on a Sunday evening in April, and I would like to formally apologize to Ms. Deschanel for loitering so close to that window while she ate dessert.

• Speaking of celebs tied to our not-so-humble town, Austin-born “Magic Mike XXL” actress Amber Heard, married to Johnny Depp since earlier this year, has been summoned to appear in court over allegations she smuggled her pet dogs into Australia, according to BBC News. Heard and Depp did not declare their Yorkshire terriers, Boo and Pistol, when entering the country in April, according to Australia’s agriculture department.

• Texas-raised Win Butler and the rest of Arcade Fire will release their first feature film, “The Reflektor Tapes,” in September. Odds of scenes with giant, papier-mâché heads: high.

Louis Tomlinson, the One Direction sprite who is neither Harry Styles nor Zayn Malik nor the one who kind of resembles a young Ellen DeGeneres, is going to be a father, People reports.


Elsewhere on the web in the week that was: Turns out Texas is big, but it’s no Pluto. We looked back at the craziest stolen pet stories in the state. Austin’s definitive playlist includes a whole lot of country, according to Spotify. A police officer went viral doing the nae nae. We learned how much $100 is really worth in Texas. Read more at