Photo: Christoph Eisenmenger

Press Release
13 July 2021

Dear media Partners, Dear Colleagues,

The low infection numbers mean that the return of cultural life to our venues and stages is moving swiftly forward — making it high time for an update on the upcoming Reeperbahn Festival. We have every reason to anticipate that our 16th Festival from 22 to 25 September 2021 will provide fans and industry professionals alike with an experience that feels like a shift towards a normality that we have been craving for so long. Whereas last year's pandemic-restricted staging of the Festival was, as Prof. Monika Grütters, German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, put it, "...a sign of hope for the national and international music industry", this year we're looking forward to bringing international music in St. Pauli back to life, and in the format that no other can match: live and direct, while naturally taking all due caution and in close consultation with the relevant authorities. This also applies to Reeperbahn Festival Conference, a digital-only affair last year, but returning this year as an in-person event with a digital add-on.
Below you will find our set diverse programme for 2021, which we'll be constantly adding to in the coming weeks. 

Frehn Hawel




A step closer to normality — News on Reeperbahn Festival 2021

After almost eighteen months under state emergency legislation, we all sense the collective fatigue of having to meet others purely online, whether for work meetings or cultural events, everywhere. The eagerness for some form of normality that finally makes real contact with others possible again is intensifying all the more. Thanks to low rates of cases, the growing vaccination campaign and an abundance of testing options, this prospect is now moving within reach — enabling culture to return to the stage once again. Excellent prospects, then, which give us confidence that the 16th staging of Reeperbahn Festival will also represent a further step towards normality.

From 22 to 25 September, St. Pauli will again be transformed into the epicentre of the music world, offering music fans and professionals alike plenty to savour. The customary diverse live concert line-up will present newcomers and established acts at around 35 venues (including three open-air stages), while we’ll finally be able to welcome conference participants back in person again this year after 2020’s digital-only version. Everything will naturally operate in close consultation with the relevant authorities and in line with the rules that apply in September. More details on the actual status of plans will be announced here and in the course of the coming months.

But it's not just fans, professional visitors and festival organisers who can’t wait for some face-to-face interaction — countless artists are also relishing the prospect of finally being able to reconnect with their audiences live:


“I think I echo a similar sentiment as my fellow artists that having to be without live music for the better part of two years was incredibly challenging on every level. But more than anything it was the loss of the special energy that only happens when you have people together experiencing something unique. Having played Reeperbahn Festival before, and having an absolute blast, there is something so energetic and fun and different about it that it feels so right to be the moment when I get to return to performing. Hard to even describe how much I’m looking forward to it.”

William Fitzsimmons


The 16th Reeperbahn Festival will kick off with the Reeperbahn Festival Opening on Wednesday, 22 September, at the Stage Operettenhaus. Once again, prominent guests from the worlds of culture and politics are expected for the one-hour opening show with top-class live acts as well as keynote speeches and talks on industry-relevant and socio-political topics.
On Festival Saturday, 25 September, at the St. Pauli Theatre, the jury led by President Tony Visconti will select the winner of the ANCHOR - Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award.
Supporting this year’s Reeperbahn Festival will be media partners ARTE Concert and NDR. 


Music line-up 

As in previous years, this year’s live-music line-up focuses on a wide range of mainly European acts and artists.
The highlight names 2021 so far include rapper Mavi Phoenix (AUT), Goldroger (DEU), indie-electronic artists Weval II (NLD), pop act ILIRA (CHE), songwriters Antje Schomaker (DEU), Dillon (DEU/BRA) and William Fitzsimmons (USA),the retro-rock institution Kadavar (DEU) as well as indie-pop-bands like JEREMIAS (DEU) and Die Höchste Eisenbahn (DEU).
A rundown of all the live acts confirmed so far is available here.

The approx. 35 venues include three open-air stages: the ARTE Concert Stage in the Festival Village on Heiligengeistfeld, the Spielbude and the N-JOY Reeperbus at Spielbudenplatz.

A further venue, the Elbphilharmonie, will host five concerts. Playing on Friday, 24 September, are RY X (AUS) and the ANCHOR award-winners of 2020 ÄTNA x NDR Bigband (DEU), while appearing at the same venue on Saturday, 25 September, are Alice Phoebe Lou (ZAF), Niklas Paschburg (DEU) and, once again, RY X (AUS).
All details on admission to this year's concerts in the Elbphilharmonie can be found here.


“My first Reeperbahn Festival experience was in the Jazz Cafe playing to a handful of people. I was amazed by the energy of the city and the different concerts we stumbled on. It felt like I was finally dipping into the music scene of Europe and that I was a part of something exciting. 7 years later, much deeper into my musical life, I feel honoured to be playing in the epic Elbphilharmonie. It gives me the feeling that all of these years of working hard as an independent artist have paid off, and it's the perfect opportunity to put on a unique show with more instruments and different arrangements to mark this special occasion.”

Alice Phoebe Lou


Reeperbahn Festival Conference Programme

This year's Reeperbahn Festival Conference Programme combines the best of the real and digital worlds in terms of the music industry as well as featuring  overlaps with related sectors such as film, games and advertising:

All professional visitors who attend will have the chance to make up for lost time in terms of interacting, networking and business matters, live and on the ground in approximately 100 sessions with 300 speakers as well as numerous partner events at the venues in and around the Reeperbahn offering access to networking sessions, meetings or showcases. Formats such as the Helga! Festival Award and the VIA – VUT Indie Awards will also be back as live events.
Anyone unable to attend in person can tune in via the digital conference platform and either follow the entire session programme in a live stream or access it on demand afterwards. In addition, the digital platform offers all delegates the chance to use the numerous chat, meeting and networking options for virtual networking.

Confirmed speakers for this year’s Reeperbahn Festival Conference Programme so far include Jack Conte (CEO Patreon, USA), pianist and composer Hauschka (DEU), Yasmina Banaszczuk (Head of Content Programming TikTok DACH, DEU), Michael Krause (General Manager Europe Spotify, DEU) as well as Vanessa Cutraro (Booking Agent Buback Tonträger, DEU).

A run-down of all programme items and speakers already signed up can be found here.


Digital Festival Experience 

The public Reeperbahn Festival streaming platform once again provides programme events for live streaming or as video-on-demand. This includes performances of premieres, the ANCHOR Nominees and Wunderkinder – German Music Talent concerts as well as the ARTE Concert Stage recordings and much more.
This programme rounds off with a diverse range of Arts, Film and Word events taking place in the Festival Village, selected cinemas and reading venues.

While it is still a few months away, and despite us all having to make every effort to keep infections under control, the prospect of having a Reeperbahn Festival in 2021 taking place in something approaching its previous form gives us a huge boost. We ask all fans, musicians and professional visitors to behave considerately and responsibly — so that we can soon enjoy music together again without any worries! 

Reeperbahn Festival Website

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