Hip-Hop Is Hot At Frauenfeld

Frauenfeld continued its growth since being reinvented as a mainly hip-hop festival with an average crowd of nearly 25,000 a day packing on to the old horse racing track just outside Zurich, Switzerland.

Reporting a 60 percent increase on the 45,000 that showed for last year’s event, Andy Locher from Pleasure Productions – at least the fourth company to try running an outdoor on the site – said the weather was so hot that the audience probably wished some of the rain that washed over northern Europe could have passed over.

As it was, it passed by. Much of the German-speaking part of the country had at least a shower or two but not a drop fell on Frauenfeld.

The event, which has always been something of a poison chalice, has certainly benefitted from a switch to a rock and hip-hop bill.

Harry Sprenger’s Free & Virgin Agency ran it from ’86 until ’95, when it was still called Out On The Green. Andre Bechir’s Good News Productions AG ran it in partnership with Conti Productions in ’97 and ’98.

By 2000, Gert Hubatka’s Event AG had taken over but the festival took it into bankruptcy – as it had done Conti – with estimated debts of about 300,000 Swiss Francs (US$240,000).

The problem of only being able to use the site on alternate years because the army has it for a training camp every other summer has been solved.

Locher said a regular slot in the Swiss outdoor calendar and the switch to a style of music that draws a younger audience are the main reasons for Fraunfeld’s resurgence.

Among the acts heating things up June 23-25 were Black Eyed Peas, Bloodhound Gang, Die Fantastischen Fier, Busta Rhymes, The Darkness, Wir Sind Helden, Kelis, Blackalicious, Gentleman, and Clawfinger.

– John Gammon