OASG Celebrates Successful Anniversary

Some 110,000 people visited the 40th edition of Switzerland’s OpenAir StGallen, which was headlined by RadioheadMumford & SonsCasper and Deichkind

Photo: Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller
at OpenAir St.Gallen in Switzerland, July 2. 

Like Glastonbury, OpenAir St.Gallen takes place on farmland. Most of the year, cows trudge over the idyllic fields of Sittertobel, the valley in which the festival is staged, and soften the grounds. So when it rains, the whole place turns into a quagmire much quicker. Luckily, that only was the case on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, while Friday and Sunday saw bright sunshine dry the place up again.

The OASG audience, however, knows what it’s in for. Past editions went down in history as proper mud baths. In comparison, this year wasn’t too bad. Radiohead fans on Saturday night probably had it worst, since the area in front of the main stage is always hit hardest. Mumford & Sons closed the festival on Sunday, as passionately as they did in 2012. Lead singer Marcus Mumford referred to the Radiohead gig as “fucking incredible,” while the audience remained divided about that particular performance.

Some thought Radiohead’s show was too somber, while others were thrilled.

“We knew that Radiohead aren’t mainstream – we thought the gig was brilliant. It shows that it’s all about music at the OpenAir. People talk about it,” Sabine Bianchi, responsible for media partnerships, told Tagblatt.ch.

A couple of new additions could be seen at the jubilee edition: the pleasantly decorated Plaza, where local Swiss artists and manufacturers sold their work, and newcomers, poetry slammers and street artists had a stage. Then there was the new high-end restaurant Bloom, which will set you back around euro 400 per night, but offers a dining experience unlike any you’ve experienced on a festival site.

Every detail has been hand-picked and curated from scratch by festival director Christof Huber and his team. The so-called home delivery service returned for this year’s edition. Festivalgoers could order beer and mineral water, and have it delivered to the site for the same price they’d pay in a regular shop – prices that will still shock those not from Switzerland.

According to Huber, OASG 2016 was one of the most peaceful editions yet, with long periods of time in which medics had nothing to do at all.

Different shuttles served guests, commuting between St.Gallen’s center and the main hotels. Besides brief server failures on Thursday and Saturday, the RFID technology provided by Swisscom/Intellitix worked flawlessly, and the festival will remain completely cashless in 2017. There were hardly any queues in front of the street food and drinks stalls, the one exception being frozen yoghurt and ice cream stands on the sunny days.

Huber is already in talks with agents and artists to curate next year’s lineup, when OASG returns to the Sittertobel June 29 to July 2.