Summer festivals prove demanding for organizers amid corona

Creativity soaring across Hamburg Metropolitan Region
16 October 2020
Musik Band Hamburg on Tour

Organisers of music festivals are laying plans for 2021 after measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 triggered the cancellation of several big music festivals including the International Music Festival in the Elbphilharmone and Elbjazz this summer. 

Creative solutions and hybrid event

The MS Dockville, Vogelball (Bird Ball) and the MS Artville in Wilhelmsburg were among the cancelled festivals. Nearly all of the artists booked had confirmed their participation in Dockville 2021. All the tickets  remain valid. "We don't want to do without culture and debates in these times," said Piet Eckhof, a PR representative of Kopf & Steine. "We have created a walk-in art park called MS UFERPARK 2020 that is open to the public at all times. Talks with artists, visits to studios, DJ sets, slam performances and digital works of art make for a digital MS ARTVILLE in the multimedia library."

The organizers of the Hurricane, Wacken Open Air and the Airbeat One hit on creative solutions in co-operation with NDR and ARTE TV stations. The Hurricane Festival went virtual and became a mix of live stream with talks, on-stage performances and on-demand recording of previous concerts.

Festival atmosphere in your own garden

Organisers of the Neustadt-Glewe Airbeat One, which counts among Germany's biggest electronic music festivals, invited some artists to Hamburg's Cruise Inn. DJs gave concerts in drive-in cinemas and later on open-air stages this summer to comply with corona restrictions. The Wacken Open Air launched an innovative online festival entitled Wacken World Wide. Mixed-reality live concerts were streamed from a stage in Hamburg using special 360° technology. The event allowed fans to interact from tents pitched in their own gardens and sparking a rousing, festival atmosphere.

Reeperbahn Festival
© Mediaserver Hamburg / Konstantin Beck
Reeperbahn Festival

Exemplary Reeperbahn Festival

This year's Reeperbahn Festival experimented with a corona-compliant festival and focused on existential questions facing the culture and live entertainment industry. The four-day festival tested conditions for holding concerts and events in various venues across St. Pauli. Faced with the corona pandemic, many bands, artists, venues and visitors are facing a difficult future.

Economic crisis

The pandemic has sparked severe losses, according to Eckhof. Most festival organisers had spent nearly all year  preparing for events this summer, which has proven exceptionally difficult. Fans have been urged to keep the tickets for next year instead of returning them as this is the best means of helping the industry. Many festivals have launched appeals for donations and are offering merchandise.