There comes a point every summer where I get really frustrated that I haven’t made festival plans. The last festival I went to was Hop Farm in 2010, where I sang my heart out to Ray Davies and Blondie. I really need to organize myself better in spring. If you, too, haven’t made any plans and are after some last minute ideas, here are a few Bavarian festivals on over the summer.
Festival Holledau – July 4-6, 2014
Located in the middle of nowhere, midway between Ingolstadt and Landshut, the Festival Holledau is a small, 3 day festival only accessibly by car (parking is free). The festival raises money for various non-profit organizations, and if you want to visit for the three days, a ticket will set you back 40 € including a beer glass. Should you arrive on Saturday for the weekend, tickets are just 35 € and on Sunday, entrance is free! The festival’s big draw is LaBrassBanda, who are on stage at 10pm on Saturday night.
Grimsby’s The Brew will also be playing (at 10pm on the Friday), and even if you can’t make it out to the countryside until the weekend, it’s well worth driving out on Sunday to catch Ohio’s Simeon Soul Charger on stage at 6pm.
SoundFeel Festival – July 4-5, 2014
This one really is in the middle of nowhere – it’s north of Ebermannstadt, which is north of Forchheim, which is north of Erlangen. Tickets cost 39 € for two days, or 19 € for just the Friday, or 29 € for just the Saturday. German singer Bosse is headlining the event, promoting his forthcoming album Kraniche – Live in Hamburg. He’s not really my cup of tea, but MC FITTI will also be playing, who’s rather good fun. The Rhein electro-pop group Susanne Blech will also be performing on Friday, who are well worth seeing live.
Rosa Laub Festival – July 5-6, 2014
The Rosa Laub Festival is an intimate little festival near Passau. I highly recommend you catch Schmieds Puls, a Viennese trio, playing on Friday at 6:40pm. Singer Mira Lu Kovacs has the most delicious voice. The Bologna band Shijox are headlining the festival – who also sound fantastic. The whole festival sounds very lovely – there’s free camping, young, underground bands and it all takes place in a picturesque village close to Passau.
Waldstock – July 11-12, 2014
Waldstock is a completely free festival, so if you’re counting those pennies thanks to an extravagent summer holiday, you can still enjoy a festival! It’s not too far away from the SoundFeel Festival’s location – it’s near Pegnitz, south of Bayreuth. Parking costs 5 € per car, and if you want to camp, you’ll have to pay 10 € – but after that, there are no entrance fees. The festival requests that you don’t bring your own drinks – it finances itself largely through the sale of drinks on site, and there’ll be plenty to eat too. Berlin solo artist Allie will be headlining on Friday, and well worth a watch is the poetic musician Der Nino aus Wien, playing on Saturday.
Cantona Festival – July 18-19, 2014
The Cantona Festival is celebrating its premiere this July, and is promoting young and upcoming bands. Stockholm’s Johnossi is headlining the Saturday (another Swedish band, The Fume, are playing a couple of hours before them). The music’s energetic and loud, and I guarantee a lot of beer and dancing will take place. On the Friday, Ingolstadt band Slut (who recently played the Freiheizhalle) will be headlining. Tickets are available for 36 € for the weekend, 25 € for the Saturday and 18 € for the Friday. You can buy them via Eventim or MünchenTicket – MünchenTicket has the least fees, and you can save on postage by picking them up from a box office.
AgratAmAgatha – July 25-27, 2014
AgratAmAgatha looks really, really cute. It’s right by the Agathasee, meaning if the weather’s hot, you’re in the right place for a cool-off swim. Organic beer will be served, around 20 bands will play, camping’s free and there will be all sorts of fascinating workshops going on. Tickets are just 22 € and you can see the likes of Austrian duo König Leopold, Austrian hip-hoppers Hinterland and fun brass rockers Noise Island. Just 2,000 visitors per day are expected, so it’s a small, homely little festival.
Seewärts Festival – July 26, 2014
The Seewärts Festival has proven itself to be a great place to spot breakthrough bands. Last year, I Heart Sharks were present (they’re now getting a lot of airplay on FM4), and my favourite Munich band Young Chinese Dogs played there in 2012. This year, there’s a Bavarian newcomer contest. Alongside the brand new bands, Munich’s Blind Freddy, rapper BBou (Boarischa Bou) and Salzburg four-piece Steaming Satellites are taking to the stage. Tickets cost just 15 € in advance and the festival is taking place against the stunning backdrop of the Chiemsee.
Puch Open Air – July 26, 2014
Located 45km north of Munich, as the crow flies west of Augsburg, the Puch Open Air is a favourite amongst my friends. The festival has been taking place on an organic farm since 1989 and it’s a small, very reasonably priced festival (20 € for early birds, 25 € for the rest) with some big-name bands. This year, the British minimal duo Mount Kimbie will be playing, as will the superb Mouse on Mars. Chicks on Speed’s Beisspony are there too. It’s just a one-day show, starting at 4pm and finishing at 3am – so pack your tent and stay overnight in the woods.
Prima, Leben & Stereo – August 1-2, 2014
Right by Weihenstephan (thus perfect for a hangover beer and breakfast), I’ve been meaning to check out the Prima, Leben & Stereo festival for a few years. It’s easy to get to, the Bayerischer Rundfunk claims it’s “Bavaria’s nicest festival” and the line-up is always excellent. I’ll post a longer report nearer the time, but you can expect to see Nina Sonnenburg (aka Fiva), who raps rather poetically in German (and this has been an Ohrwurm for ages now), Berlin/US mix Mighty Oaks and Icelandic pop band FM Belfast. Tickets always sell-out, so get them now – the weekend ticket costs 47 €.
Heimatsound Festival – August 1-2, 2014
Featuring Coconami, Munich’s young hope Jesper Munk, Django 3000 and energetic Balkan sounds from Shantel, the BR’s Heimatsound Festival celebrates regional music. It all takes place in Oberammergau and tickets cost 48 €.
StereoWald – August 8-9, 2014
The StereoWald festival is taking place for the very first time this year – just northeast of Augsburg. Weekend tickets are available for 26 €, which is very reasonable considering the bands playing. Moop Mama will be there, as will Aichach indie band Adulescens and Hamburg’s “furious synthpop” group Fuck Art, Let’s Dance. And now I have a great excuse to post this wonderful song (pay attention to the very funny lyrics):
Taubertal Festival – August 8-10, 2014
The Taubertal Festival is a surprisingly big Bavarian rock festival, with all sorts of bands taking to the stage. Sportfreunde Stiller will be there, as will international bands such as The Subways, Jimmy Eat World, Seattle’s Augustines and Minnesota’s Trampled by Turtles. It’s near the city Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and the setting is apparently glorious.
Chiemsee Summer – August 13-17, 2014
Is this Bavaria’s biggest festival? A five-day feast of over 100 bands, all at the beautiful Chiemsee. This year, Berlin’s Seeed is headlining on Friday – though I expect the draw for you young things may be Saturday’s headliners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Ryan Lewis gained a few plus points in my book after this rather entertaining Late Night sketch). Blink-182 will also be performing, and there are a whole host of slightly smaller (though still pretty well-known) bands I wouldn’t mind seeing: LaBrassBanda, Fiva, Young Rebel Set and Bilderbuch, who I’ve also grown rather fond of thanks to FM4’s endless airplay of Maschin.
And if you do plan on heading a little further afield (and combining a festival and a short break away, for example), the Openair Frauenfeld (July 10-12) in Switzerland has some huge acts lined up. Outkast, Pharrell, M.I.A. and NAS are all playing…expect crowds. The FM4 Frequency Festival is a great place to discover new bands in Austria and I’ve been recommended Vienna’s DonauInselFest (June 27-29) several times.
Are you planning on visiting any festivals this summer? Have I missed off any Bavarian festivals you’re particularly fond of? Do let me know – I do love a small farm festival!