400 Bands, 49,000 Visitors At Reeperbahn Festival 2023

DominikFriess ArloParks StageOperettenhaus 9963
Arlo Parks performing at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival. (Picture by Dominik Friess)

Last weekend saw the 18th Reeperbahn Festival take place in Hamburg, Germany, Sept. 20-23, couting 49,000 visitors, including  4,000 industry professionals, who were treated to an international line-up of 475 concerts by 400 bands and artists from over 40 countries.

Aside from the music, which was presented across Reeperbahn’s many clubs, pubs, and venues, the state of business was addressed in some 180 talks, podcasts, screenings, exhibitions, networking, and interactive events. 

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And, of course, award ceremonies, like the Anchor Award, which went to songwriter Ichiko Aoba from Japan, who convinced this year’s Anchor jury of songwriter and producer BANKS (US), producer, singer-songwriter, activist, and actress Tayla Parx (US), singer-songwriter and producer Katie Melua (UK), and producer Tony Visconti (US).

Ichiko Aoba’s fellow nominees this year included Berq (DE), Daisy the Great (US), Hannes (SE), Paris Paloma (UK), and waterbaby (SE).

The 2023 Anchor Award hosts, jury, and winner (from left): Pelle Almqvist, Katie Melua, Tony Visconti, Ichiko Aoba, BANKS, Tayla Parx, and Alexandra Maurer. (Picture by Dominik Friess)

The jury released the following statement, giving the reasons for this year’s pick: “We, have chosen a winner who will crossover into several genres. Our winner comes from a long line of historic virtuosos. She also felt the need to compose music for her very specific talents. Our winner transported us to a timeless Japan and created her own universe with her skill and mastery of her art. Her music comforted us, it soothed us, and it brought us to tears.” 

The Anchor winner receives €20,000 prize money provided by Reeperbahn Festival’s production and sponsorship partner PRG.

Last year’s Anchor winners, Cassia (UK), performed on opening night at the Stage Operettenhaus, as did DJ Valentina Luz (BR), INIKO (US), GERD (SWE), and Arlo Parks (UK, pictured).

The Keychange Inspiration Award, which advocates more gender balance in all areas of music, was given to rapper Ebow, who has been rapping against sexism, racism and homophobia for many years.

Early bird tickets for next year’s Reeperbahn Festival, scheduled Sept. 18-21, 2024, are on sale.

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