Reeperbahn Festival 2013
St Pauli, Hamburg
added: 14 Oct 2013
// gig date: 27 Sep 2013
reviewer: Marco Gandolfi
Based in Hamburg’s St Pauli district it's fair to say that there are few backdrops better suited to hosting an international music & arts festival.
Situated on the north bank of the Elbe river close to the port of Hamburg St Pauli's history is steeped in tales of red-light prostitution (now all vat paying workers), Football (great club celebrating over a hundred years), and of course four likely lads from Liverpool.
With 28,000 attendants the population of St. Pauli literally doubles over the festival period making for a welcome party atmosphere with sprawling bars and venues around every corner ready to be explored.
The upstairs Prinzebar provides a nice interlude from the larger venues on 'the strip' with its small Baroque interior, imposing chandelier and small but perfectly formed stage onto which I saw Alec Benjamin tread. A confident eighteen-year-old from Arizona his boyish Bieber-like looks combined with his minimalist acoustic style and well worked repertoire to entertain the friendly crowd. Read the full review here
In this it's 9th year the festival has been extended from three to four days and is formed of 3 unique parts. Reeperbahn Festival: “MUSIC”- the largest segment hosting new, up-and-coming and established acts across a multitude of venues. The Reeperbahn Festival “CAMPUS” which enables music industry guests to interact during conferences, panels, and discussions analyzing and forecasting current and future music trends, and Reeperbahn Festival: “ARTS” which lends the festival a further dimention with various exhibitions, installations, book readings, illustrations, and guided tours which explore the city and its cultural developments.
It's main thoroughfare though is the Reeperbahn, its the aortic valve of St Pauli and you'll be flowing past continually as you visit all its numerous venues. Docks is a huge rectangular quagmire when filled to its 1,300 capacity as was the case with Kate Nash much to the bewilderment of many, so my advice is to get there early and choose your band more wisely than us.
The Molotow is a little gem of a place dark, dingy and downstairs, the toilets are worth a visit alone, you can literally smell the history here along with the endless band stickers and grafitti, loved the place immediately, although by all accounts you may need to hurry as they are looking to redevelop the site. But my 'strip' joint vote went to Angie's Nighclub. Yeah a shocking name but seated on a lovely plush leather sofa two metres away from the stage, equidistant to the bar, and allowed to smoke (quite literally a breath of fresh air for us) it was hard to imagine a better setting.
The 1920s decor blended perfectly with the curling plumes of smoke to recreate a prohibition setting that Sergio Leone himself would have been proud of. The venue reputedly also boasts over 100 cocktails almost one for every lucky guest. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better Josh Kurma strolls on stage with his acoustic guitar. This Swindon born singer-songwriter stunned a very appreciative crowd with a heartfelt set. As he said "I'm gonna start slow and build it up, so don't worry," no one was, you could have heard that mythical pin drop. Big things await this 22-year-old.
Then it was off to the Sudtribune whose stage sat just below St Pauli stadium, an open air venue with mobile carts pitched up around it conjuring up images of stagecoaches and gunfights back in the old wild west, only here they served beer.
A German eight-piece called Trouble Orchestra opened with a remix which included the chorus line to 'Bang Bang' of Nancy Sinata and Audio Bullys fame, they immediately struck a chord. Their split personality stage persona was intoxicating and even though I couldn't understand a word it turned out to be my favourite gig of the festival. Click here
to read the whole review.
I left exhilarated as I did from the whole festival. Half the fun is in not only band hoping but venue hoping and just checking out random acts. There are so many venues it's impossible to see them all but definitely worth a go.
The organisation, as you'd expect, was meticulous. All the bands I managed to catch were of a high standard and the atmosphere was always one of a party. What more could you ask for.
As The Beatles developed into the greatest and most influential band ever, the Reeperbahn Festival have also served their time and are now challenging at the top of the league.
Fast becoming Europe's premiere rendezvous for industry, artists and punters alike the Reeperbahn Festival is only set to get bigger and bigger, and that... is a good thing. www.reeperbahnfestival.com
Have Your Say
Stay updated with your free Music News daily newsletter. Subscribe here now!
> For more Music-News live reviews click here