Jahnke Moves To Reeperbahn

Hamburg-based promoter Karsten Jahnke will be hoping the success of his summer season in the city’s Stadtpark spills over into the upcoming Reeperbahn Festival.

Despite what company press chief Frehn Hawel says about the weather being so poor "that it felt like one long autumn," the attendance for the series of 7,000-capacity shows is expected to be about 50 percent up on the previous years’ average.

By September 21, when Lotto King Karl – Hamburg’s favourite soccer hooligan – plays the fourth of his five shows in the Stadtpark, the gross summer attendance is expected to pass the 156,000 mark.

In 2005 and the two or three previous years, the series attracted a total crowd nearer to 100,000.

Hawel said it’s hard to pin down exactly why this year, the 33rd time Jahnke’s company has run the event, went "sensationally well" but feels the bill turned out to be one that consistently captured regional interest.

Last year’s figures were a little down on that 100,000 mark but Jahnke cut the number of shows by about a third because of the World Cup being staged in Germany, including important matches in the local Hamburg SV Stadium.

Local phenomenon King Karl is also MC and cheerleader at Hamburg soccer team’s home matches in the same stadium. He regales the lager-loving fans with such anthems to his hometown as "Hamburger Jungs, Hamburger Jungs, Wir Sind Alle Hamburger Jungs" (Hamburg Boys, Hamburg Boys, We’re All Hamburg Boys).

It could be argued that it raises the local team’s performances, as last year it finished in the top half of the Bundesliga, although a long way behind league winners Stuttgart.

His five shows in one season equals his 2005 record, while the international acts who boosted the Stadtpark season with sellout dates included The Who, Mando Diao and Peter Gabriel.

However, it was still German acts that provided much of the business as Sasha, Revolverheld, Roger Cicero & Big Band, Ina Müller and Stefan Gwildis & Band also pulled capacity crowds.

Jahnke will be hoping the success translates to the second staging of his new Reeperbahn Festival, which takes place September 27-29 in the square mile around the city’s docks incorporating such venues as Gruenspan, Mandarin Kasino, Knust, Schmidt’s Tivoli and Molotov.

The first year was a media success, but with attendances of a little more than 3,000 per day, the event will need to pull crowds twice that size before it will be a commercial success.

It has the big advantage of having the city’s support, which is keen to play up its historic connections to the international music scene and show that it still has a role to play in it.

That support extends to inviting journalists on guided tours of Hamburg, which take in areas including one the programme graphically describes as "a deeply Germanic Eldorado for shady creeps seeking fleeting, uninhibited sex."

There’s also a visit to HafenCity, which is less graphically described as being "Europe’s largest urban construction project."

The Reeperbahn Festival, which Jahnke produces in cahoots with Hamburg’s Inferno Events, has 120 acts appearing in venues with capacities ranging between 150 and 1,700.

The three-day lineup looks stronger than last year’s and includes The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Roachford, The Pigeon Detectives, The Ark, Coheed and Cambria, Hard-Fi, Juliette & The Licks, Maria Mena, An Pierlé & White Velvet, Ash, Biffy Clyro, Shout Out Louds, The Raveonettes and Young Soul Rebels.