This years edition of Reeperbahn Festival featured conference, meetings, entertainment and concerts and a Danish surprise

It was the 10th anniversary of the German Reeperbahn Festival this year, and you could feel that in both size of the program and increased focus on contries outside Europe. Especially Australia and Canada had arrived, and the two countries stood behind a series of showcases with new talents. The festival was bigger than ever, and over four days 23rd to 26th September, there were more than 600 different program items, which ranged from concerts and receptions to debates and presentations of new technology.

NorthSide was among others represented at a meeting of Yourope Nations (Yourope is an organization of European festivals), a panel discussion on the future of the festivals of Europe with contributions from Glastonbury, the new German Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin and FKP Scorpio (co-owner of NorthSide, Tinderbox and owners of the Hurricane and SouthSide in Germany, etc.) and the annual Danish Night at the venue Indra, where you could experience Awesome Welles, Alex Vargas, Lydmor & Bon Homme and Fortress.

European challenges

In recent years in Yourope auspices there has (and generally in the festival industry) been much talk about the declining number of headliner names as well as the constantly rising prices of bands. Therefore more and more festivals focus on the things that are not related to music making and all over the world we are seeing a greater focus on food, sustainability, design, VIP packages, luxury camping and theater, stand-up and entertainment. 

But the challenges the average organizer has faced, pales in comparison to the process that the people behind Rock Wave in Greece went through. The economic collapse meant that people could not buy tickets, and since the festival’s funds were frozen, they could not pay their suppliers or cancel the festival, as they were not be able to refund the tickets. Since all the bands were paid in advance, they chose to implement their events. But now they lie in one and disputes with their insurance company, which does not consider the country’s economic problems as something that is below the force majeure. This put problems with bad weather and cancellations in a slightly different perspective. 

Musical highlights 

On the music side the festival this year had booked big artist in the form of Mac DeMarco, James Morrison, Rudimental and Luke Graham, but for the European festival organizers it is new talents, which primarily draws people to their festival.