Marek’s ‘Golden Pineapple’

The twinned Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals look certain to sell out in advance for the first time in their 22-year history, with promoter Marek Lieberberg claiming it vindicates him winning the "golden pineapple prize" at Germany’s Live Entertainment Awards.

The Frankfurt-based promoter stormed out of this year’s February 16th LEA ceremony at Hamburg Fliegende Bauten after learning Rock Am Ring didn’t win for best festival.

That category went to the 10-year-old Sonne Mond Sterne electro fest but Lieberberg – who released a statement saying the LEAs are "Selbstbedienungspreis" (self-serving) and shared around among a clique – feels this year’s advance sellouts (June 1-3) prove his point.

"I don’t feel it’s a cultural award and shouldn’t go to that sort of festival because there are plenty of cultural awards for things like that," he said. "I thought it was an industry award and should go to the best festival and we clearly have that with Rock Am Ring.

"We were in three categories and my son Andre said there was no point in coming to the awards if we couldn’t win that one.

"I was not so bothered about ‘Best Promoter’ because that can perhaps change a little from year," he added, referring to the award his company won but failed to collect because his staff had followed him out the door.

It looks unlikely Lieberberg will be making future appearances at the ceremony he now refers to as "the golden pineapples." However, LEA organizer Jens Michow and Musikmarkt editor Martin Schrüfer, whose magazine sponsors the 2-year-old awards, have said they fully expect Lieberberg to continue to be nominated in various categories.

"I’m just very pleased to be in the happy position to report to you that we’re going to sell out," Lieberberg told Pollstar, announcing that the 82,000 tickets for the Nürburgring have already gone and there are only a few thousand left for the 63,000-capacity Park Festival in Nürnberg.

"It’s pleasing to do this against some tough competition here in Germany and across the border in Austria, but the greatest reward is to see that Rock Im Park is now being accepted by the fans in its own right."

The Nürnberg festival has always been considered the lesser of the two, usually shifting about 45,000 of its 63,000 capacity, but this year it’s way past the 55,000 mark with more than two weeks to go.

The festival’s mega lineup inclues Die Ärzte, Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys, Billy Talent, Dave Matthews Band, Evanescence, Muse, My Chemical Romance, Paolo Nutini, and Smashing Pumpkins.