Reeperbahn, Europe's Largest Club Festival, Is Ready to Rock You
From all-day programming to late-night dancing, Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival is the party that just doesn’t quit
Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany, is Europe’s largest club festival. Over a four day span, some 600 concerts and performances take place In addition to a program of panels and events in the areas of fine art, film and literature.
Since I was a festival first-timer and a newbie in Hamburg, I linked up with Rick McPhail of Hamburg’s beloved indie rock band Tocotronic to get the lay of the land.
“If you’ve never been to the Reeperbahn Festival before, be open-minded and just walk around and check stuff out,” said Tocotronic’s guitarist and keyboardist. “It’s all really compact, so within a few kilometers of space, you can find someone playing on the street or go from club to club. You’ll find pretty much every type of music here, from high-gloss pop and garagey indie to hip hop acts.”
The 2018 festival included a surprise performance by English rock band Muse — but the focus was, and always has been — on up-and-coming artists of all genres, many of whom play Reeperbahn Festival in hope of finding representation and elevating their careers.
Even though official programming ends around midnight, don’t expect to go to bed anytime soon. As Rick pointed out, the party goes to the wee hours of the morning in Hamburg’s Red Light District and beyond.
“The party scene at the Reeperbahn is very Hamburg. Hamburg is an old seedy, harbor town—a town that doesn’t sleep. You don’t get kicked out of the bar if you want to have fun until 4 or 6 am or even noon the next day. It just doesn’t stop—it’s one of the things I love about this city.”
Last year’s edition of the festival proved to be the biggest celebration on record, attracting 45,000 visitors to Hamburg over the course of a few days. The 2019 edition is slated for Sept. 18-21, with early bird tickets starting at approximately $120 for four days of music.
My trip to Hamburg was made possible by the Hamburg Tourist Board and my wallet. Views expressed are my own.