Reeperbahn Festival 2021: high and low culture, disco and discourse, pop and politics

The “Zur Ritze” pub on the Reeperbahn has no windows but a boxing ring. That says a lot about the priorities of the area. Physical proximity, sweat, movement: essential; fresh air: less. After a year in which we have all learned the words “aerosols” and “incidence”, it is not easy to say, in Udo, “great mile”. None of the other great miles in the world either. And that’s what it will be about at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival, which will not take place in the “Ritze” from September 22nd to 25th, but pretty much everywhere else, in such sonorous establishments as the Molotow, the Grünspan, the Indra, the Knust, also the Elbphilharmonie. High and low culture, disco and discourse, pop and politics: on four days and dozens of locations, at Europe’s largest club festival.

Among the many highlights of the music program are performances by the Austrian rapper Mavi Phoenix (Thursday, Arte Concert Stage), the German indie bands Isolation Berlin (Saturday, outside in the country) and The highest railway (Saturday, St. Michaelis Church), and the German pop musician Balbina (Friday, verdigris). Of course, the festival is also characterized by the fact that there are still little-known acts the opportunity to showcase. On Saturday evening, one of them will receive the Anchor Award, the festival prize, whose jury this year will be from the Bowie guitarist Tony visconti is cited. It is definitely worth it, and at this festival it is in the nature of things, to stay away from the big names and stages, attentively and enthusiastically, in order to be able to say in three years: “I will have Albertine Sarges appear at the Reeperbahn Festival in 2021 see, in front of about fifty people. Nobody knew them back then! And today she is Federal Chancellor! “

Mavi Phoenix live beim Hurricane Festival 2019

In addition to its identity as a public festival, the Reeperbahn Festival has meanwhile advanced to become an important industry get-together where urgent questions from the industry are discussed. How can the event sector become climate neutral? What about gender equality in the music business? What sources of income do apps like TikTok offer? Industry figures gathering at the conference this year include Lyor Cohen, YouTube / Google’s Global Head of Music, and Jack Conte, founder and CEO of Patreon, a platform that enables creatives to get paid directly by their fans.

Particularly relevant in the days before the general election: Katarina Barley, Vice President of the EU Parliament, speaks to three members of the Bundestag from the music industry about the relationship between pop and politics. Because the time of crisis is not over yet, a possibly hard winter is imminent, and it is the task of politics to ensure that the great mile, and all the great miles, remain. So that there will continue to be such rich, exciting, diverse events as the Reeperbahn Festival in the future.

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