The 12th edition of the Reeperbahn Festival attracted over 40,000 visitors and 420 bands/artists from around the world, its biggest turnout ever, on Sept. 20-23 in Hamburg, Germany. Organizers say 4,700 professions from the music business — hailing from 57 countries — also attended the event.
Canada was this year’s country partner, while France will take over next year. ”We have experienced a Reeperbahn Festival of highest quality,” said Alexander Schulz, director and founder of the festival. “We have also experienced the strongest Reeperbahn Festival in terms of social policy.”
A major highlight of the festival was a surprise appearance by former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher at this year’s Warner Music Night, held at the Docks Club. Before he performed, he noted his forthcoming debut solo album, As You Were, has already gotten a rave review from The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft: “His songs sound as if the Hell’s Angels were kicking in your door,” Gallagher recalled of Ashcroft’s assessment.
“I have rarely experienced such a enthusiasm for a star that reaches all generations,” said Bernd Dopp, chairman and CEO of Warner Music Central Europe. “[Gallagher] was celebrated euphorically.”
British singer-songwriter Jade Bird was given the Anchor award, Reeperbahn’s accolade for the most promising international emerging talent. The jury, chaired by David Bowie producer Tony Visconti, consisted of Garbage singer Shirley Manson, Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass of BOY, Emily Haines of Metric and Broken Social Scene and BBC host Huw Stephens. The Jury released a statment: “We have decided upon an artist with an impressively broad range, who displays strong songwriting and musicianship, bringing something fresh and unconventional to her genre.”
A further innovation this year was the first Reeperbahn Festival Music Film Contest, which kicked off on Tuesday evening with the keynote of Eurythmics band leader, musician and producer Dave Stewart. The jury, composed of Emily Atef, Frank Otto and Peter Rommel, selected the Canadian contribution “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World” as winner from among 25 international music films. Rumble is described by filmmakers as a “a celebratory examination of the often-underappreciated role of Native American tradition in the evolution of American popular music.”
Journalist Cherie Hu (Forbes/Billboard, US) was selected as Hamburg Music Business Journalist of the Year by the professional visitors.
Next year’s Reeperbahn Festival will take place Sept. 19-22 in Hamburg.