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dear media partners, dear colleagues,

“This year’s Reeperbahn Festival is a symbol of what’s possible if we want it.”
The welcome addresses of the Hamburg Senator for Culture and Media Dr. Carsten Brosda and the Hamburg State Secretary Wolfgang Schmidt as part of the DOORS OPEN show, and the message of greeting by the Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was unable to attend due to illness, made it clear that the current situation faced by the music and culture world is being given the highest priority on a political level. After a seemingly endless cultural drought, the joy and relief of finally being able to talk about content again and to venture a cautious glance towards the future was palpable everywhere today at the opening of the 15th Reeperbahn Festival.
Hosts Hadnet Tesfai and Jörg Thadeusz presented the distinguished jury and the artists nominated for the ANCHOR international music award. Thadeusz and the legendary songwriter Jackson Browne met virtually for a discussion about the current socio-political situation and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in America. Dr. Carsten Brosda, singer Alin Coen and Stage Entertainment Managing Director Uschi Neuss threw light on the needs of the culture scene, before the Keychange initiative, promoted by the singer Tash Sultana, announced its next goals.
To close, this year’s partner country Denmark presented a segment featuring the songwriter Tina Dico, who then performed a full concert at Stage Operettenhaus after the opening show.
Over the next days at Reeperbahn Festival, the focus – both live on site and on our new streaming platform – will be on the challenge of actively shaping the restart of the music and culture industry.

Frehn Hawel  

Hamburg, 16 September 2020


The 15th Reeperbahn Festival was officially opened tonight! Over these four days, the eyes of the entire music world will be turned to the pandemic-adapted implementation of this year’s festival. In addition to 120 concerts by European acts and around 80 programme items in the fields of arts, word, film and education, which can be experienced live on site and also in most cases on the Reeperbahn Festival streaming platform, the Reeperbahn Festival also presents a digital-only programme for trade attendees from the international music industry for the first time this year.
Now in its fifth year, the ANCHOR – Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award will be awarded to one of the five nominated artists from Germany, France, Norway and the Netherlands.
2,000 visitors are expected on site on each of the festival days, and an unlimited number of users can access the free streaming platform with livestreams and videos on demand from the public festival programme as well as paid content for trade attendees.

Today, at Stage Operettenhaus, it was DOORS OPEN for the second time! With a welcome address by the Hamburg Senator for Culture and Media Dr. Carsten Brosda, who also took part in a discussion, and with Hamburg State Secretary Wolfgang Schmidt standing in for the German Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz, who was unable to participate due to illness, the opening show hosted by Hadnet Tesfai and Jörg Thadeusz featured a strong focus on the dialogue between the worlds of culture and politics. In his written message of greeting to the Reeperbahn Festival, Olaf Scholz showed great understanding of the current crisis faced by the culture and music business.

Olaf Scholz, Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany:
“The Reeperbahn Festival is a fantastic event. It’s a real shame that I cannot be with you in Hamburg tonight because of a cold. I know how hard the pandemic and our safeguarding measures have hit artists, cultural professionals and the events industry in particular. I hope that the coronavirus edition of the Reeperbahn Festival highlights a way forward for how it might be possible to organise safe and high-quality concerts and events despite the virus – because one thing is clear: that is something we all miss terribly.”

Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media for the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg:
“The silence in the clubs on and around the Reeperbahn and everywhere around the world in recent months is painful to hear! We need the power of music and we need the stages of the clubs, on which the full diversity of music can manifest and new careers can emerge and develop. With creativity, courage and a sense of responsibility, the Reeperbahn Festival shows how club culture is still possible in this time.”

This year’s jury for the ANCHOR – Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award first introduced themselves and then presented the nominated artists in the competition. Jury president Tony Visconti, the Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle and the multiple Grammy Award-winning mastering specialist Darcy Proper all joined in virtually live from New York, from where the three will be overseeing the competition over the next four days. Solo artist and former Spice Girl Melanie C. (photo), the presenter and DJ Markus Kavka and the SEEED singer Frank Dellé were present live on stage. The ANCHOR jury will be attending the concerts by Arya Zappa (DEU), ÄTNA (DEU), Suzane (FRA), Tuvaband (NOR) and Eefje De Visser (NDL) virtually and in person, and will then select the winning ANCHOR 2020 act at a brilliant show in St. Pauli Theater on Saturday evening from 06:00 pm.

In a clip of a discussion between Jörg Thadeusz and the American songwriting legend Jackson Browne, the latter showed that he is still an astute observer of social developments. He also discussed his experience of falling ill with COVID-19, from which he has recovered, and talked about the unexpected situation – resulting from the forced three-month break – of having finished the songs for his new album, whose release has been postponed from October to February 2021, with time to spare.

Afterwards, Dr. Carsten Brosda, the musician Alin Coen and Stage Entertainment’s Managing Director Uschi Neuss took to the stage to discuss the current challenges faced by the international cultural scene.

The Keychange initiative has achieved a lot since it was founded in 2017 and continues to campaign for gender balance in music. The now international network presented its talents through a dance performance on the theme of “Keychange” developed by Maike Mohr (Chefboss). The song for this performance was “Pretty Lady” by Tash Sultana, who, despite having had to cancel as a result of the coronavirus crisis, still featured acoustically in the opening show and offered a personal message by video: “It is time to be more inclusive of people who identify themselves as non-binary, trans or female. It’s a call to change – please listen!” Host Hadnet Tesfai looked back at the successes of the Keychange initiative so far and gave an outlook on the next goals.

To mark the German-Danish Cultural Year of Friendship, Michael Bojesen, Chairman of the Danish Arts Foundation and Head of Danish State Support for Arts and Culture, represented and presented the partner country Denmark. Singer-songwriter Tina Dico (DNK) then closed the opening show at Stage Operettenhaus with her song “Quarter to Forever”, before going on to perform a full concert at the same venue. Both the DOORS OPEN show and the DOORS OPEN concert with Tina Dico were streamed by ARTE Concert and, and they could also be watched in full from the comfort of your home via the Reeperbahn Festival streaming platform.

Concerts took place on the 20 stages of the Reeperbahn Festival on Wednesday evening: conscious rapper and Keychange talent Akua Naru (USA, DEU) and BUKAHARA (DEU) delighted the audience on the big Festival Village stage with their blend of pop, folk and North African influences. At Spielbude XL, Daði Freyr (DEU, ISL) enthralled all present with his electro-pop, while Eefje De Visser (NDL) warmed up in the Imperial Theatre for her ANCHOR concert tomorrow. In St. Michaelis Church, rapper Maeckes (DEU) proved that hip-hop isn’t the only thing he can do – he can also move an audience just with a guitar and singer-songwriter pieces.

With impressive concerts by pop-songwriter Drew Sycamore (DNK) on the Fritz Stage in the Festival Village and the dark indie-rock pearls of the trio Baby In Vain (DNK) at Molotow Backyard, partner country Denmark showed that it has one of the most interesting music scenes in Scandinavia. The songwriters Nicklas Sahl (DNK) and Calby (DNK), and the electro sound magician Be Svendsen (DNK) will provide more evidence of that over the coming days.

More of that please! Many of the following programme items can also be watched from home – on ARTE Concert, or

Together with the ANCHOR jury, Reeperbahn Festival attendees can go in search of the winner of this year’s international talent competition at the concerts of Eefje de Visser (Thursday, 08:00 pm), ÄTNA (Thursday, 10:45 pm), Tuvaband (Friday, 05:15 pm), Suzane (Friday, 08:30 pm) and Arya Zappa (Friday, 10:45 pm) in person in Nochtspeicher or via the streaming platform, before the ANCHOR is awarded for the fifth time in St. Pauli Theater on Saturday evening from 06:00 pm.

In a world premiere, songwriter Gisbert zu Knyphausen and pianist Kai Schumacher (DEU) put the melancholic works of Franz Schubert in the new context of Knyphausen’s own songs in St. Michaelis Church on Thursday and Friday, while Swutscher (DEU) premiere their rock mass in Gruenspan on Friday.

In the Future Dome in the Festival Village, visitors can expect a programme of discussion formats, including Stern magazine’s Diskuthek exploring the issue of fair fashion, a conversation between the editors of the taz and Bild newspapers, as well as talks by the bestselling author Kübra Gümüsay and by the intellectual Douglas Rushkoff. In the Word programme, Dr Bitch Ray – with Yalla Madonna, Yalla! and a mixture of talk and reading – invites active participation.

The Reeperbahn Festival film programme in the Zeise cinemas includes the world premiere of It’s Not All Rock & Roll by Jim Burns, a film about the Hamburg musician Dave Doughman, who will play a mini concert with his band Swearing At Motorists after the screening, thereby bringing together the genres of music and film. We also present the premiere of NOW, a new film by the famous photographer Jim Rakete, who will also be taking part in an audience discussion on 19 September. 

The highlights of the digital-only programme for international trade attendees include panels such as Summer of Silence, in which festival organisers share their pandemic experiences, Marketing Challenge TikTok on the challenge of the new platform, Inclusion Matters on racism in the music industry, a talk between Kevin Kühnert, the Director of Juso (Young Socialists), and Oke Göttlich, President of Zebralution and FC St. Pauli, as well as Steve Blame’s keynote interview with Melanie C..

We’re really looking forward to the next few days – on site and online! 

Media material
Free-of-charge material is already available online for media coverage of Reeperbahn Festival. During the festival, content will be continuously updated and expanded.
Thank you for using the content and for sending in links and evidence relating to each broadcast and publication. Please contact for any check back.


Video rough cuts of Reeperbahn Festival (programme highlights of music, arts, conference, Festival Village, contents showing DOORS OPEN, the Gisbert zu Knyphausen & Kai Schumacher premiere and the ANCHOR) can be downloaded via our content server.
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Edited footage (e.g. Reeperbahn Festival Preview Trailer, DOORS OPEN Highlight Trailer, ANCHOR Aftermovie) that will be published via the Reeperbahn Festival channels and can be shared or embedded is successively available via links deposited in this document.


A selection of photos will be made available on a daily basis.


Find here the current basic press text for Reeperbahn Festival 2020 and the conveyed press releases.





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Reeperbahn Festival is organised by
Reeperbahn Festival GbR, Neuer Pferdemarkt 1, 20359 Hamburg
PhG: Inferno Events GmbH & Co. KG und Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion GmbH,
Gf: Alexander Schulz / U-I-Nr.: DE247756458

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Photo: Fynn Freund

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