Germany is a festival gold mine. Home to the famous Oktoberfest, the nation also hosts some of the most incredible, yet considerably unknown music festivals in the world. The German festival season peaks between June to September, during which you’re absolutely spoiled for choice
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Here’s The Sherp’s hand-picked list of his favourite festivals in Germany:
1. Time Warp – Mannheim (April)
Time Warp is the world’s leading indoor festival for electronic dance music. Since 1994, the festival has featured some of the most important international stars of the club culture. Originating in Mannheim, Germany, Time Warp has successfully expanded in Europe and became an international dance brand with editions in Italy (since 2011), Holland (since 2008), Vienna (2006), and Prague (2005).
2. Rock Am Ring – Mendig, Vulkaneifel (June 5-7, 2015)
One of Germany’s most popular rock festivals, Rock Am Ring was originally planned as a one-time festival, back in 1985. It was a success in its first outing but after a dip in attendance at the 1988 event, the festival was put on hiatus for two years. In 1991, it returned with a new concept — besides featuring well-known artistes, event organisers decided to present lesser-known up-and-coming bands to the public. The festival has also expanded to Vienna and Munich.
3. Fusion – Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (June 25-28, 2015)
Fusion started in 1997, and it takes place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, just hree hours outside of Berlin in the airstrips and in the belly of an abandoned Soviet military airport. Much like Burning Man, Fusion is definitely not designed for any festival-goer. However, its fans love it and with each passing edition, they prove that no amount of rain or anything else can take away from the collective creative life lived for the duration of the festival. This non-commercial event keeps ticket cost low, and what you spend is used well. Most of your ticket collections will go toward causes such as youth art initiatives and left-wing political projects.
4. Melt! – Grafenheinchen (July)
This dance festival is located at an abandoned colliery which goes by the name of Ferropolis. The Feropolis is also referred to as the City of Iron; many large machines and cranes can still be found at the island. The location is surrounded by spectacular waters, and you can skinny dip too, if you like. Live bands , alternative artistes and DJs are beautifully brought together at this festival which featured the likes of Modeselektor, Paul Kalkbrenner and Portishead this year.
5. VuuV – Sprotze, Hamburg (August 13-17, 2015)
Fancy some psy-trance? Head on over to VuuV, one of the oldest rave parties in Germany. Starting out as a small gathering of about 100 people, it is now one of the biggest rave meccas in Europe, attracting about 10,000 – 20,000 visitors annually.
6. Splash! – Grafenhainchen (July 10-12, 2015)
Splash is a festival which focuses on R&B, hip hop and other music styles. Held at the same location as Melt!, the festival has a different vibe and ambiance compared to most festivals in Germany which are dominated by techno music.
7. Indian Spirit Open Air Festival – Heiligengrabe (September 3-7, 2015)
Located in Heiligengrabe in Northern Germany, this early September event l is the grand finale for the open-air festival season in Europe. Considered one of the top trance festivals in the world, the music variety on offer is nothing short of ridiculous. Getting to the festival is extremely easy, and can be done via public transportation from Berlin or Hamburg, or by driving in your own a car.
8. Baltic Soul Weekender – Hamburg (November 21-22, 2014)
The Baltic Soul Weekender offers a musical journey through the past decades of music: soul, funk, soulful house and disco on four separate dance floors. It is Germany’s only Weekender that includes accommodation at the festival location. The Baltic Soul Weekender is not only a music festival, it also supports legendary soul artists all over the world.
9. Wacken Open Air – Wacken, Schleswig-Holstein (July 30 – August 1, 2015)
Germany’s heavy metal festival, Wacken Open Air is renowned as one of the prime metal gatherings in the globe. It takes place annually in the small village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. With 80,000 festival visitors, and including personnel a total of roughly 86,000 attendees in 2011, it attracts metal music fans from all around the world.
10. Jazzfest Berlin – Berlin (October 30 – November 2, 2014)
The Berlin Jazz Festival celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, looking ahead and at the same time back on more than 100 years of jazz history. Founded in 1964, the festival is one of the longest running European festivals of international renown.
(This article was published in partnership with Airbnb, world’s largest online guide to finding accommodation in 190 countries)
(Cover Picture Photo Credit: Marc Olivier Le Blanc / Airbnb.com)