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dear media partners, dear colleagues,

“auf St.Pauli brennt noch Licht" ("a light still burns in St. Pauli”) – this line from the Jan Delay song thankfully also applies to the music scene, as the 15th Reeperbahn Festival impressively demonstrated over four days. Despite the pandemic-adapted format, we have managed in this special edition – not least due to the exemplary behaviour of all participants – to retain the positivity that is a characteristic of Reeperbahn Festival. Thanks to the new streaming platform, a large part of the Reeperbahn Festival programme was available to watch online for the first time. And the digital conference proved that the international dialogue between music industry representatives at Reeperbahn Festival can also function in a virtual space. The concerts by around 100 acts made it clear how vital direct encounters are for artists and audiences, and how much that has been missed by everyone involved. In the international talent competition ANCHOR 2020, the jury led by Tony Visconti and Melanie C. selected the indie-tronica duo ÄTNA, the first time a German act has won the award.
The 15th Reeperbahn Festival trialled a number of innovations this year, thereby once again reflecting the current music world.

Frehn Hawel  

Hamburg, 16 September 2020


Today marked the end of Reeperbahn Festival 2020 – and the 15th edition was special in every respect. Over four days, around 8,000 visitors in 20 venues experienced 140 live concerts, lectures, readings, discussions, films and visual art exhibitions. The highlights of the concert programme included shows by Daði Freyr at Spielbude XL, Drangsal on the Festival Village Stage, Keychange act Ilgen-Nur in St. Pauli Church, as well as Dillon and Gisbert zu Knyphausen & Kai Schumacher in St. Michaelis Church.
150,000 visitors followed the freely accessible digital programme offering i.a via the new streaming platform over the four days. From 10:00 am to 01:00 pm, around 100 livestreams of concerts, readings and lectures were streamed, most of which will still be available after the festival.

The fee-based digital programme for international industry visitors was used by 1,480 registered participants from 37 countries, who attended more than five programmes every day. It covered a variety of current topics from the music business and the film, games and advertising industries. The highlights included talks with Federal leader of the Jusos Kevin Kühnert, Melanie C. and Lukas Rieger, panels of industry representatives such as Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio) and Helen Smith, a discussion between the editors of the taz and Bild newspapers; and lectures by the bestselling author Kübra Gümüsay and the media theory superstar Douglas Rushkoff.

Despite significant challenges during the course of the event, including artists cancelling at short notice due to extensions to coronavirus high-risk areas, the attempt, over the four days of Reeperbahn Festival, to present concepts for resuming live events, was hailed as a success by audiences, artists, music industry professionals and the authorities. As the response to the most intimate Reeperbahn Festival since 2006 has shown, there is a strong desire among audiences and artists to make up for the lack of direct encounters over recent months, making it clear how vital the onstage performance of music and culture is for a society – especially in times like these. The importance of small clubs as an essential testing ground for new talents was underlined over the four days.

Prof. Monika Grütters, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media:

“‘Live and in colour’, the 15th Reeperbahn Festival sent a sign of hope for the German and international music business in the coronavirus crisis. Despite the difficult conditions at present, the Reeperbahn Festival team succeeded in providing a valuable platform for exchange and discussion on pressing issues relating to the future of the severely affected events industry. For that I sincerely thank you. That’s why the federal government has supported Reeperbahn Festival with a particularly large contribution this year. We are making €150 million from the future programme NEUSTART KULTUR available to the music industry – to make sure it can finally get back on stage!”

Akua Naru, musician:
“You know, after so long it was great to be on stage again. So it was really nice to be invited to Reeperbahn Festival. And just to perform before the people. I could feel that people were excited to attend a performance even though they couldn’t stand or dance. So we had to find new ways to keep the crowd engaged and I think we did that. So it was different, but it was still interesting. And we definitely did enjoy it, here at Reeperbahn Festival.”

Alexander Schulz, CEO Reeperbahn Festival:
“That was a huge feat! Everyone played their part: The team and supporters on a state and federal level over the last four months, and the audience, artists and trade visitors over the last four days. The mood was characterised by a collective mixture of mindfulness, joy and gratitude. There was a palpable sense in every moment that we were seeking to show the whole world that live music with an audience and international exchange in the music industry can function safely.”

Prof. Jens Michow, President of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV):
“An industry that has grown continuously in recent years without claiming any public funding is now facing ruin as a result of a devastating collapse in revenue and with no prospect of a return to normality. The event industry needs substantial support without delay if it is to survive this present situation – otherwise any funds for restarting cultural life will come too late. Thousands of artists, musicians and all the service companies dependent on the event business will lose their livelihoods.”

ANCHOR competition: indie-tronica duo ÄTNA become the first German act to win the award 

Jury member Melanie C. opened this year’s show in style with her new single “Blame it on me” from her forthcoming new album Melanie C.. Before an audience of around 120 invited guests, host Hadnet Tesfai presented live performances by the five nominated artists Arya Zappa (DEU), ÄTNA (DEU), Suzane (FRA), Tuvaband (NOR) and Eefje De Visser (NDL). Thanks to digital technology, jury members Tony Visconti, Brody Dalle, Darcy Proper (connecting digitally from New York) and Melanie C., Markus Kavka and Frank Dellé (live on site) experienced the live shows by all the nominated artists at Nochtspeicher on Thursday and Friday. After intensive discussion, they agreed on the winner: the German indie-tronica duo ÄTNA (DEU), whose diversely structured songs exude a thrilling magic that is impossible to describe.

Melanie C., musician and ANCHOR 2020 jury member:

“They were unforgettable [...]. They were the second band we saw and when I woke up in the morning they were on my mind.”

Looking forward to Reeperbahn Festival 2021 – tickets on sale now

Along with the great news that Tash Sultana’s (AUS) DOORS OPEN concert and the Elbphilharmonie concerts of Anna Calvi (GBR), Alice Phoebe Lou (ZAF, DEU), Niklas Paschburg (DEU), Mine (DEU) and RY X (AUS) originally scheduled for this year have already been confirmed for next year, we are delighted to announce that tickets for Reeperbahn Festival 2021 (22–25 September 2021) are available now from online

Country partner in 2021: South Korea

The Reeperbahn Festival 2021 country partner South Korea presented the international potential of its K-pop music scene in impressive style this year within the framework of their digital Korea Spotlight Showcase.

Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA):

“It is a great honour to be the focus country at Reeperbahn Festival 2021. Over the last few years since the Korea Spotlight Showcase started at Reeperbahn Festival, K-pop has undergone many changes and developments around the world. At the upcoming 2021 Reeperbahn Festival we will show you how far Korea’s K-pop music has evolved. Music lovers from all over the world, please look forward to what we have to offer in 2021.”

Since this year’s focus country Denmark was less extensive than originally planned due to the pandemic restrictions, the Reeperbahn Festival programme will feature strong Danish involvement again next year!

Awards presented at Reeperbahn Festival 2020
In addition to the ANCHOR, the following awards were presented at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival:

  • International Music Journalism Award (IMJA)
    ○    Englisch
    • Best Music Journalist Of The Year (English): Laura Snapes (Guardian Deputy Music Editor / Culture writer)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Text (English): Kieran Press-Reynolds - "How TikTok Is Taking the Tunes out of Pop" (Highsnobiety)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Multimedia (English): Alzo Slade, Eric Weinrib, Lyle Kendrick, Kelly Kendrick, Jared Perez, Daniel Plyam - "Russia's War on Hip-Hop" (Vice Investigates)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Audio (English): Cole Cuchna - Dissect (Podcast) - S6 Beyoncé Lemonade" (Spotify)


    • Music Journalist Of The Year (Danish): Kristian Karl (soundvenue)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Text (Danish): Ralf Christensen, Louise Rosengreen, Rasmus Steffensen, Sophia Handler - "Informations drømmefestival" (Series of articles in daily newspaper Information)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Audio (Danish): Lucia Odoom - "Politikens Poptillæg" Podcast


    • Best Music Journalist Of The Year (German): Miriam Davoudvandi (Freelance Music Journalist)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Text (German): Ariana Zustra - "Ariana Grande und das 'Blackfishing' - Wo beginnt Rassismus?" (Kaput)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Audio (German): Nabila Abdel Aziz - "Wie die Aufstände in der Arabischen Welt die arabische Musik revolutionierten" (Zündfunk / BR)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Multimedia (German): Miriam Fendt, Fridolin Achten, Frederik Kunth, Philipp Laier - "Visa Vie, Josi Miller, Cashmiri & Co.: Wie diese Frauen Deutschrap prägen" (PULS Musik)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism Under 30 (German): Bahar Sheikh - "Opfer, Täterin, so vieles mehr" (Missy)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism Under 30 (German): Stefan Sommer - "Neuer Deutscher Rechtsrap: Chris Ares" (PULS BR / Süddeutsche Zeitung)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism Under 30 (German): Sebastian Lessel - Orientalismus wegflexen (spex)

  •   ○   French

    • Music Journalist Of The Year (French): Ouafa Mameche (Éditrice / Journaliste)
    • Best Work Of Music Journalism: Text - (French): Sophian Fanen - "Le Chants des Machines: l'intelligence artificielle entre dans la pop" (Les Jours)
  • VIA - VUT Indie Awards
    • Best Newcomer: The Düsseldorf Düsterboys
    • Best Album: Aldous Harding, Designer
    • Best Act: Ebow
    • Best Label: Mansions and Millions
    • Best Experiment: Arca, “@@@@@”
    • Best New Music Business: United We Stream
    • VIA Special Award: Künstler mit Herz
  • International Sound Awards (ISA)
    • Product: TouchMe music controller I Playtronica, Germany
    • Soundscapes and Ambient Sound: Discovery Dock – Mixed Reality 3D Sound Experience I WESOUND GmbH, Germany
    • Social & Culture: Terminally ill parents tell their life stories I Familienhörbuch gGmbH, Germany
    • Audio Branding: Siemens Healthineers Audio Branding I why do birds GmbH, Germany

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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Password: R0ck#R011

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Edited footage (e.g. DOORS OPEN Highlight Trailer, ANCHOR documentary) 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: Stephan Wallocha

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