Hamburg Seizes Initiative

Hamburg Marketing media relations director Guido Neumann says the city had already been planning a conference to bolt onto the Sept. 24-27 Reeperbahn Festival, but the cancellation of Popkomm prompted his organisation to expand it.

The original plan was to spend three or four years creating an alternative to Popkomm, but when the Berlin event was canceled, Hamburg decided to pull out all the stops to plug the gap.

Frankfurt and Cologne – where Popkomm was staged until moving to Berlin in 2004 – were both rumoured to be alternative future venues for the event, but many in the German music industry believe Hamburg is a more logical choice.

Apart from Hamburg Marketing – a publicly funded organization that promotes the city – previously showing a willingness to put its money where its mouth is, the Reeperbahn Festival is already there and Popkomm would find it a perfect fit.

Rather than trying to promote itself as a future venue for Popkomm, the city quietly assembled a conference of its own.

“We didn’t change our concept or set out to copy Popkomm, but we did move forward a little faster when we realised there was an opportunity to attract some visitors that would no longer be going there,” Hamburg Marketing’s Johannes Everke told Pollstar.

The conference, called Reeperbahn Campus, will be organised by Inferno Events, which also co-produces the Reeperbahn Festival with Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion.

Carl Leighton-Pope, who presents ILMC’s Talking Shop and whose Live Entertainment Awards appearances have already made him a favourite with the German music industry, will be one of the keynote speakers along with legendary MTV video-jock Ray Cokes.

The panelists are still being confirmed, but FKP Scorpio chief Folkert Koopmans, EuroSonic-Noorderslag creative director Peter Smidt and Linnéa Svensson marketing manager of Norway’s Oya Festival are expected to be on a panel dealing with festival development.

The lineup for the festival, which so far has 142 confirmed acts, includes Biffy Clyro, Dinosaur Jr., Editors, Oh No Ono, Reverend And The Makers, Seasick Steve, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour and WhoMadeWho.