Reeperbahn – In The City alternative for 2011?A festival devoted to a street is unusual enough in the first place, but one that’s centred around the red light district – and is thoroughly respectable and considerably artistic – sounds more intriguing still.

Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival is a music, art and culture extravaganza that focuses on the Reeperbahn district of Hamburg – an area The Beatles famously enjoyed to its maximum potential, leading John Lennon to say “I might have been born in Liverpool – but I grew up in Hamburg”.

The Festival takes place on September 22-24th, with a music, art and campus program incorporating business to business, networking and live performance. A German ‘In The City’, to those of us who frequent the Mancunian titan each year, and with no ITC in 2011, perhaps Reeperbahn could fill the gaping chasm it has left this time around.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. It’s a great festival, I went last year – was reviewing for Incendiary that time…


    Things I liked about it were the fact that all the Reeperbahn and harbour venues are literally two or three minutes’ walk from each other, so even if it’s pissing down (as it did, relentlessly, last year) you’re never far from the next gig – and also the way you could buy one- two- or three-day tickets and thus not have to waste money if you couldn’t be there the whole weekend. Punches well above its weight in terms of draws as well, you’ll get some “living legend” type guest stars, a few quite big current bands and a very well picked new bands line-up.

    Things to watch out for (as mentioned in my reviews above, but not everyone’s going to click them): the further-out venues such as Uebel & Gefährlich and Kunst are actually a bloody long way from the Reeperbahn hub – much further than they’re made to look on the festival programme map if it’s anything like last year’s. Leave plenty of time or get a taxi. Uebel is a concrete wartime bunker with little to indicate it’s actually the venue, but it is. And like all these type of things, some of the venues (the lovely prinzenbar in particular) are about the size of shoeboxes so if there’s a band in there you absolutely have to see then make sure you’re in early.

    I will definitely go again. Not this year as time off and money do not pernit, but it’s definitely one of the better wristband/walkabout festivals I’ve been to.

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