ANCHOR Jury 2021 (absent: Tom Odell) & Host Hadnet Tesfai © Mirko Hannemann

Press Release
25 September 2021

Dear media Partners, Dear Colleagues,

"It was quite an emotional experience for me to finally see some live performances in Hamburg again" — Jury president Tony Visconti. And who would disagree?
As the 16th Reeperbahn Festival came to an end today, it marked the end of the great divide between musicians, fans and the music industry: When superstar Sting said he was nervous before his performance at the Reeperbahn Festival Opening Show — his first live show in 18 months — he summed up the current situation for most of his fellow musicians. This year's edition of Reeperbahn Festival was characterised by once again being able to experience the immediate intensity and direct interaction between artists and audience, but also within the industry, coupled with the revival of international activities of the music business. The long queues in front of some venues unfortunately showed just how much fans have been craving concerts in recent times. The severly limited capacities were again necessary this year due to the 3G implementation of Reeperbahn Festival. 

Political and social aspects such as gender equality, crisis management strategies for this event industry and the interaction between pop and politics were the main topics of this year's conference, which took place again on site after a purely digital edition last year. 
The international jury of the ANCHOR Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award was also fully present this year and witnessed shows by the six nominees, from which the British post punk quartet Yard Act emerged as the winner.
"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" — the titel of one of The Smiths' most famous songs pretty much sums it up — the music industry has shown that their emotional content has lost none of its relevance even after a pandemic-induced hiatus. 

Frehn Hawel 



"A great celebration of music in Hamburg – once again“ music producer Tony Visconti | ANCHOR awarded to British post punk band Yard Act

The 16th Reeperbahn Festival ended tonight. Around 25,000 visitors attended 285 live shows by 250 acts from 27 countries and 86 programme items from the fields of art, film and word in 35 venues over four days. After last year's all-digital version, the conference was again held as a face-to-face event with around 2,000 participating industry visitors, who could choose from 100 sessions, 20 networking events, 30 showcases and 4 award ceremonies. Reeperbahn Festival was implemented in a 3G version, which was accessible to vaccinated, recovered and tested visitors.
The new digital streaming platform, available online and in cooperation with ARTE Concert, had 350,000 views during the festival week.

The consistently high quality and international line-up of this year's live programme was reflected in the performances of newcomers such as the eight-member rap collective Daughters of Rejkjavik (ISL), synth-punks Working Men's Club (GBR), funk band Arp Frique (NLD), songwriter Red Moon (NOR), indie rap trio Sharktank (AUT), rapper Schmyt (GER) and Rote Mütze Raphi (GER). Sting (GBR), soul singer Joy Denalane (GER), urban pop songwriter Griff (GBR) and last year's ANCHOR award winners ÄTNA (GER) set the bar high for the days to come at the Opening Show.

There was a high demand for all programme items at the conference. Highlights included the opening talk by Lyor Cohen (Head of Music Google YouTube) with German rap management Two Sides. The social and political topics gained particular interest at sessions such as Danger Dan "Alles von der Kunstfreiheit gedeckt?", "The Creative Gender Balance" by Michael Krause (General Manager Europe Spotify) or "Parliament of Pop" with Katarina Barley (SPD, Vice-President of the EU Parliament). Other topics of the conference dealt with scenarios and strategies for the live industry for overcoming the crisis. All panels, talks and interviews are still available on the digital conference platform

A press conference was held presenting the results of a gender distribution study of the Keychange initiative exploring the representation of women in the music industry and the expectations of consumers in Germany. The findings made it clear that music companies would benefit from a more balanced gender ratio in music products (such as playlists, music programmes and festival programmes) in the medium term. These factors play an increasingly important role in the purchasing decisions amongst younger consumers especially. 

Balbina and Peter Maffay were awarded the VIA award on Thursday on behalf of 1,300 artists for their public stance against the particular path Germany has taken in the EU regarding the remuneration of music on streaming platforms.


ANCHOR Winner 2021: Yard Act (GBR) 

"They just blew us away" was how jury president Tony Visconti justified the decision to select British post punk band Yard Act as the ANCHOR winner for 2021. 
The jury of the international music award was again fully present this year and consisted of singer Emeli Sandé (GBR), songwriter Tayla Parx (USA), singer and actress Yvonne Catterfeld (GER), songwriters Tom Odell (GBR) and Jacob Banks (GBR) and music producer Tony Visconti (USA), who attended the concerts of the nominees May The Muse (GER), Florence Arman (GBR/AUT), Lie Ning (GER), OSKA (AUT), PVA (GBR) and Yard Act (GBR) at the Nochtspeicher on Thursday and Friday. At the ANCHOR gala at St. Pauli Theatre, hosted by Hadnet Tesfai and Conchita Wurst aka Tom Neuwirth and supported by DJ Shari Who?, the audience had the opportunity to see all participating acts live - and performances by Tayla Parx and Conchita Wurst were also part of the live programme. Following the typically powerful speech on the value of culture by Hamburg's Senator for Culture and Media Dr. Carsten Brosda, the music award was presented to the British quartet Yard Act, who "primarily wanted to meet Tony Visconti - and are delighted to have won the ANCHOR as a bonus".


Premieres at Reeperbahn Festival 2021

Francesco Wilking, singer of Die Höchste Eisenbahn, presented his project Crucchi Gang with prominent guests such as Sven Regener (Element Of Crime), Matthias Rohde (Von Wegen Lisbeth), Steiner & Madlaina and Tobias Bamborschke (Isolation Berlin) in the St. Michaelis Church.
RY X performed together with the Kaiser Quartet and the six-piece Berlin Singers Collective at the Elbphilharmonie on Friday and Saturday.


The Reeperbahn Festival vaccination bus at Spielbudenplatz registered over 400 vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 


"The power of music and the intensity of live culture could be felt everywhere around the Reeperbahn over the last few days. We were finally able to experience the international exchange of music culture and music business live and in person again. International country partnerships - with South Korea this year and the USA following in 2022 - have long been part of the festival's DNA. Sting's performance at the opening and the presentation of the ANCHOR to the best music talents at the end underline the significance of Reeperbahn Festival for the music scene. Hamburg is already looking forward to an even more exhilarating Reeperbahn Festival in 2022!" 

Dr. Carsten Brosda, Hamburg's Senator for Culture and Media

The next Reeperbahn Festival will take place from 21 - 24 September 2022. Tickets are now available here

Next Year's partner country USA

"As the Reeperbahn Festival partner country in 2022, we will bring the US music and creative industries to Hamburg and further expand the cultural and cultural-economic cooperation between our countries, music cities, artists and music enterprises.” 

Darion Akins, Consul General of the USA in Hamburg




VIA - VUT Indie Awards 

  • Best Newcomer*in: Sofia Portanet  
  • Best Act: Danger Dan  
  • Best Album: The Notwist – "Vertigo Days"  
  • Best Label: City Slang  
  • Best Experiment: Dadabots & Portrait XO – “I'll Marry You, Punk Come"  
  • Best New Music Business: Antilopen Geldwäsche  
  • VIA Sonderpreis: Balbina, Peter Maffay, Sarah Lesch & Rocko Schamoni für SZ-Interview  

Helga! Festival Award

  • Best Festival: WATT EN SCHLICK FEST   
  • Most digital festival feeling: DEICHBRAND FESTIVAL
  • Thinking outside the box: Lunatic Festival  
  • Most productive break: SNNTG Festival
  • Festival personality:  
    Rembert Stiewe - representing festivals that did not take place   
    Markus Blanke - representing festivals that took place   
    Franziska Pollin - representing political commitment for festivals at state level   - Forum Veranstaltungswirtschaft - representing political commitment to festivals at national level


IMJA - International Music Journalism Award

  • Best Music Journalist of the year  
    Aida Baghernejad (Musikexpress, taz, tip berlin) 
    English Stephanie Phillips (Independent, The Quietus, Vice, Bandcamp ,The    Wire, Buchautorin von "Why Solange Matters") 
    French: Jean Morel (Grünt) 
  • The year's best work of music journalism
    Text - German: Julia Friese: gedanken zum gegenwärtig*innen (Kolumne) - Musikexpress (10.06.21) 
    Text - English:  Amanda Petrusich: Genre is disappearing. What comes Next? - The New Yorker (08.03.21) 
    Text - French: Hugo Lautissier: Danser sur les décombres : les trois vies du B018 Trax (21.02.21) 
    Audio – German: Diviam Hoffmann, Klaus Walter: Bob Dylan 80 - Mit Diviam Hoffmann und Klaus Walter - WDR3 "Open Sounds" (24.05.21) 
    Audio - English: Carmichael Rodney, Sidney Madden: Louder Than A Riot - NPR (Podcast seit 08.10.20) 
    Audio - French: Wetu Badibanga, Kay Kagame, José Tippenhauer: “Masc’Off” (Podcast) 
    Multimedia - English: Lea Schröder: Täter an den Decks - Sexualisierte Gewalt in der Clubkultur - frohfroh (05.02.21) 
    Multimedia - English: Tracklib Sample Breakdown: Tracklib Sample Breakdown - YouTube (ongoing) 
  • Best work of music, under 30: 
    Rosalie Ernst: Serie Unfuck the EU - Europäische Werte und musikalische Wiederbelebung - Kaput Mag (27.04.21)  
    Katharina Meyer zu Eppendorf: Musikfluencer - ZEIT Campus (05.08.20)  
    Yannik Gölz: DOUBLETIME: Xaviers Armee der Finsternis - (27.05.21)


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