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The Reeperbahn Convention 2022 – Our Reeperbahn Guide

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter

4.10.2022

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What Is The Reeperbahn Convention? 

The largest musical conference in Reeperbahn, Hamburg, Germany caters for all music and digital creative industries, and has just celebrated its 17th year this September! Did you go to this incredible festival? Did you make the most of the programme of sessions, networking events, matchmaking events, showcases, meetings and award shows? This notable festival in the Reeperbahn district once again showed how they can appeal to such a wide audience of music fans and industry professionals. It has become such an important gathering for the music scene and this year was no exception. It can offer something for everybody, whether you are a musician yourself, or work in the music industry in terms of the more digital, logistics side. And at the same time introduce you to how important civil social engagement is within the industry. 

There were so many opportunities to network with others in the industry and get the inside track on everything aligning to the music industry. Ever since its début in 2006, it is now one of the most important conferences on the music industry. The way it juxtaposes the music marketplace, the importance of social engagement and showcasing new, diverse artists is why it has become a huge success. And this year it proved itself once again.  

From the 21st-24th September 2022, artists and music professionals gathered in person for the first time in 2 years in Reeperbahn, Hamburg, a cultural hub for music. 

There were around 41,000 visitors – 4,300 of whom were music professional visitors – attended the Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg. They could enjoy 400 concerts by acts and artists from over 40 countries as well as 80 programmes from the fields of arts, film and word. It was a packed programme over the four days. The conference programme also offered an extensive programme for around 4,300 trade visitors with 200 programme items consisting of sessions, networking events, showcases and award ceremonies. The central hub for all of these events was the Festival Village on the Heiligengeistfeld.

There was even a surprise concert by Kraftklub, whereby over 10,000 people gathered to watch at the cordoned off end of Reeperbahn, which was quite a spectacle in itself. 

Gender Balance Of Music Services 

At the Reeperbahn Festival Opening, current music-related and socio-political topics have always been centre-stage along with top-profile live acts and well-known guests from the worlds of music, entertainment and politics, or as the lead partner of the Keychange initiative, which campaigns for gender equality in music. 

The 2nd Keychange Study, which was presented at a press conference at the festival was supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Claudia Roth. It clearly demonstrated that young music fans make purchases in terms of festival line-ups, radio and streaming based on a balanced gender ratio. For digital creatives and musicians in the industry, it was very important to gain insight into this aspect of consumerism. 

Keychange Inspiration Award  

The Keychange Inspiration Award honored women and gender minorities who made extraordinary and pioneering contributions to music. This year’s winner was Alin Coen – congratulations!   

Social Engagement 

Ever since it started, the Reeperbahn Festival focused clearly on these fundamental aspects with its diverse programme put together by its own management team:

  • Sustainability: development of sustainable processes and formats of music creation and production
  • Equality: closing the gender gap and achieving gender equality at all levels of music culture and the music business
  • Diversity: constantly enabling diversity (in terms of gender and programme line-up) with the aim of creating cultural and living spaces free from prejudice and discrimination

ANCHOR – Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award

The ANCHOR – Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award, bestowed by its six judges, is a major accolade for young bands and artists embarking on an international career and as a guide for fans and musicians looking for the best new music. This year, it was won by the British trio Cassia, congratulations!! 

The panel was made up of Bill Kaulitz, Joy Denalane, Pabllo Vittar, Pelle Almqvist, Tayla Parx and Tony Visconti, who visited the concerts of the nominees at the Nochtspeicher, a music hall. 

The winner was chosen at the ANCHOR Gala hosted by Aminata Belli and Steven Gätjen!

International Music Journalism Award Winners 

This year the Reeperbahn Festival has awarded the International Music Journalism Award for the 6th time. Here are the winners! You need to make a note of these guys as they are really top of their game right now. 

  • Music Journalist Of The Year – Deutsch: Joachim Hentschel
  • Music Journalist Of The Year – English: Kaitlyn Tiffany  
  • Best Work Of Music Journalism – Text Deutsch: Annett Scheffel
  • Best Work Of Music Journalism – Text English: Hashino Yukinori
  • Best Work Of Music Journalism – Audio Deutsch: Azade Pesmen
  • Best Work Of Music Journalism – Audio English: Danyel Smith
  • Best Work Of Music Journalism – Multimedia Deutsch: Mariska Lief, Wero Jägersberg
  • Best Work Of Music Journalism – Multimedia English: Arthur Buckner, Linda Diaz 
  • Best Work Of Music Journalism – U-30 Deutsch: Alex Barbian, Steven Meyer, Walerija Petrowa 

Music Acts Performing At The Festival

Of course music is at the top of the agenda when it comes to Reeperbahn and there were plenty of artists performing this year. British rapper Loyle Carner (GBR), whose two albums so far, “Yesterday’s Gone” and “Not Waving, But Drowning”, played the opening concert of the Reeperbahn Festival at the Stage Operettenhaus, celebrating the German live premiere of his new song “Hate”, whose video he also directed.  

In Charlie Cunningham (GBR), we have a real crowd favorite who performed at the Reeperbahn Festival.  Prior to the breakthrough of his two albums “Lines” and “Permanent Way”, he’d already played his way into the hearts of German audiences thanks to his virtuoso acoustic guitar playing and his unmistakable voice.  

Songwriter Priya Ragu (CHE), whose electronic sound on singles like “Good Love 2.0” and her EP “damnshestamil” seems both foreign and familiar at the same time and is drawing a lot of interest worldwide. Rapper and singer Nina Chuba (GER) is currently at the top of the charts with “Wildberry Lillet”, and has cooperated with Kummer und Provinz. She demonstrated enormous versatility with songs like “Femminello”, “Tracksuit Velours” or “Nicht allein”. 

Reeperbahn Festival’s Film Programme 

Another firm fixture of the festival was the film programme and the venue for this year was Programmkino 3001. Film, short film and series screenings took place on all four festival days from the afternoon onwards, in some  were followed by Q&As with crew and cast.  

The film line-up spotlighted the Global South as well as the voices of women and the  LGBTQIA+ community. The films on show were mainly the work of younger generation film-makers.

The feature film Ladybitch (DEU, 2022) saw director duo Marina Prados and Paula Knüpling working through their personal experiences with abuse of power in cultural production. Using “making of” stylistic devices as well as breaking the fourth wall, the plot could be experienced up close and the audience become allies. Having won the Max Ophüls Prize for Best Social Interest Film in 2022, Ladybitch saw the Reeperbahn Festival celebrating a Hamburg premiere, with a Q&A with Paula Knüpling afterwards.   

First Work, Then Play (DEU, 2022) adopts the perspective of Maxi, an aspiring but burnt-out music producer and her inner child. It explored topics such as the social value of creative work, self-dramatization, perfectionism and the pressure to perform. Director, DJ, composer and Berlinale Talents alumna Brenda Lien was awarded the Saxon Film Prize 2022. 

The documentary film For Real (FRA, 2022) was screened for the first time in Europe at the Reeperbahn Festival. For Real provided unusually intimate insights in MiniDV aesthetics into the crisis-ridden soul of the French rapper Ichon, who – having kicked off his career as a provocative gangster rapper – reinvents himself as a singer-songwriter. In a subsequent discussion with rapper Ichon and director Ugo Mangin, the impressions of the film can be deepened.

Sessions

Talks, panels, keynotes, presentations, and workshops were all a part of the Reeperbahn Festival Conference programme. Top international speakers address issues relevant to the music industry, its submarkets – recorded music, live entertainment, and publishing – and related sectors in the digital economy. The sessions programme was curated by an independent committee of industry experts.

Networking

This was, as I mentioned before, such an important event to network with international digital, musical creatives. The central location for business meetings and receptions is the Reeperbahn Festival Lounge in the ARCOTEL Onyx hotel. In addition, parties, get-togethers, dinners, and cocktail events were held in a number of nearby Reeperbahn venues.

The Reeperbahn Festival Conference networking programme also included targeted Matchmaking Sessions during which participants met one-on-one with potential business contacts. 

Showcases

Each year labels, partners, and music export offices showcase their new and aspiring artists at Reeperbahn Festival, providing a great complement to the festival’s curated concert programme. About 50 German and international showcases presented exciting bands and solo artists to a large audience of fans, media representatives, and trade professionals.

Merchandise 

Reeperbahn festival joined with the Hamburg streetwear label Cleptomanicx and Stanley/Stella this year. I’m sure you saw on sale the stylish unisex shirts in black and white as well as a coarsely knit black beanie cap in maritime look and a 5-panel cap with intricate embroidery on the center front. Maybe you also bought some of the tote bags, produced with love by the screenprint experts of textile manufacturer Frohstoff.

Accommodation

For registered delegates of the Reeperbahn Festival, there were hotels close to the action, offering discounted rates. This year’s official partner of the Reeperbahn festival is Arcotel Oynx. You could have also stayed at the a&o Hamburg Reeperbahn right in the heart of the red light district. In terms of Hamburg, Reeperbahn prices, you were able to find accommodation fairly cheaply whilst still being within walking distance to the central hub of the festival. 

NEXT GEN at Reeperbahn Festival

Next Gen combined interesting insights into the music industry, exciting talks, interviews and participatory elements from the various sub-sectors of the creative industry. 

There were many exciting areas you could explore at the Reeperbahn music festival. For example; artist management, booking, festival, label, label management, music journalism, production and tour management.

Final Thoughts

So as one of the biggest musical festivals in Germany, Reeperbahn offered a lot within 4 days, including 360 different concerts, readings, movie screenings, alongside sessions, showcases and events. Make sure you book your ticket for 2023 now, so you don’t miss out on this coveted event in the music industry. If you missed it or want to relive any of the moments from this amazing music, then you can always head to YouTube, where you can watch Loyle Carner’s opening concert, the ANCHOR Show, single tracks from Jan Delay feat. Udo Lindenberg or Ellie Goulding. 

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