The Mena Attraction

Hamburg’s second Reeperbahn Festival pulled twice as many as the first and looks to have justified promoter Karsten Jahnke’s decision to stick with the event.

Last year’s festival was well supported by the city authority and well-received by the media but only pulled about 3,000 per day to the dozen or so clubs clustered around the city’s world-famous red light district.

Frehn Hawel, who handles press and PR for the three-day event, said this year’s attendance was at about 7,000 per day and that’s just about enough to break even.

"Overall, the visitors seemed very supportive to the whole idea of discovering new music, as many clubs were packed to the maximum roundabout 10 o’clock," he explained. "The sales of the day tickets, which can be used to visit all the venues, increased dramatically and that leads us to believe that people have grasped the idea of the festival.

"Last year we sold more venue tickets, which meant more people stayed in one place through the night – so that new direction is a very good sign," he added.

Hawel said he’s also encouraged by the fact that other major German promoters are showing an interest in the festival. Nearly a dozen including Peter Rieger, Marek Lieberberg, Scorpio and ASS had acts on the bill.

This year’s lineup was stronger than the 2006 lineup, with Maria Mena, the Norwegian songstress who’s already close to a gold album (100,000 copies) in Germany, proving to be exactly the sort of breakthrough act Hawel wants to attract to the festival.

Managed by Rune Lem from Norway’s Live Nation-owned Gunnar Eide, her performance at a packed 800-capacity Schmidt’s Tivoli capitalised on what she’d achieved at the city’s Live Earth show in the summer.

She was nearing the end of a 10-date national tour that’s seen Rieger’s office put her in key cities including Munich, Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt.

Mena has gone platinum in her native Norway (40,000) and her Apparently Unaffected album has been on the Dutch chart for 75 weeks.

Further progress in Europe is expected with its imminent release in France, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.

Also on the September 27-29 bill were The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Roachford, The Pigeon Detectives, The Ark, Coheed And Cambria, Hard-Fi, Juliette & The Licks, An Pierlé & White Velvet, Ash, Biffy Clyro, Shout Out Louds, The Raveonettes and Young Soul Rebels.

Throughout the festival, which Jahnke produces in cahoots with Hamburg’s Inferno Events, more than 120 acts appeared in venues with capacities ranging between 150 and 1,700.