Festival Summer 2020: Cancelled: The best time of the year

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Actually, the festival season should really start with the 25th edition of “Rock im Park” in Nuremberg. What is particularly missing from the cancellations.

Sits half a dozen guys in a circle around a disposable grill and lets a bottle with high-percentages go around. The evening is balmy in summer, and although the group sits in the middle of a huge jungle of tents that occupy every square metre, everything here seems quiet and peaceful, downright idyllic. Only from a distance, the dull remnants of music blow up. Here in the circle, people laugh at shared memories. Half of the boys wear fan shirts of the band Iron Maiden. And in fact, those legendary metal musicians from just behind the horizon of the round are roaring live on a stage. Great Britain: Maiden! But those who ask the early twenties why they do not now cheer their heroes like tens of thousands of others, only reapaming glances: You probably did not understand what this is and what this is about?!

It was “Rock in the Park“, first June weekend in 2014. Typical festival?

70,000 visitors, 90 bands and well over 30 degrees: Rock im Park 2014 ended on Whit Monday after four days. Here are the best pictures of the spectacle.

Rock in the park was so gigantic in 2014

Photo: Daniel Karmann, dpa

A mixed group of mid-forties stands at the entrance between Frankenstadion and the former Reichsparteitag site. With the crowds from the tram, they have made a pilgrimage here, including individuals, exuberant in plush costumes, pushing shopping trolleys full of beer pallets – here is excitement in the air. Because these men and women are already looking forward to the late-night climax, the appearance of Rammstein, in the afternoon. In order to be at the front of the auditorium, they have already tried in the hotel whether they hold, the incontinence nappies. Because at least two bands before they want to go to the best places and then no longer have to give way because of a walk to the Dixie toilets. They want to be very close to their heroes in the midst of the singing, sweating, pressed-swaying crowd.

It was “Rock in the Park“, first June weekend in 2010. Also typical festival? Yes, because it allows and unites all the temperaments of celebration right next to each other – every year again in the summer: the organized state of emergency.

Although the start of the Rock im Park began on Thursday with rainy weather...

This is Rock in the Park 2010

Photo: AZ/dpa

On this first weekend in June 2020, however, the extensive area on the Nuremberg Dozen Pond, interspersed with woods, will be a normal urban park. No state of emergency. No masses, no processions and no prosts, no camping, no waves and no roaring. As at the Nürburgring in the Eiffel, where “Rock am Ring” traditionally takes place in parallel, as a twin event the largest in the industry in Germany with more than 150,000 visitors and at the same time the annual signal at the beginning of June that the festivals are getting started.

But there is nothing going on in 2020, nowhere.

The festival industry has been set to zero by Corona

No “Wacken“, no “Southside”, no “Lollapalooza”, no “Splash”, no “Fusion”, no “Summerjam”. Also no “Full Force”, no “Tollwood”, no “Deichbrand”, no “Highfield”, no “Taubertal”, no “Parkookaville” . And also no “modular” in Augsburg“, no “Icarus” in Memmingerberg, no “Reggae in Wulf” at Friedberg, no “singold sand” in Schwabmünchen, no “pulse” at Kaltenberg Castle and none of the many other smaller festivals. Because Corona an ever-growing industry, competing hotly for stars and weekend dates and now coming to well over 400 events in Germany alone, has set it at zero. Nothing. And this is exactly in the anniversary year of “Rock im Park”, the 25th anniversary of the

You could say: pandemic pitch. Just like others. Especially since the big names of the guild have long been about millions, the streams of artists and visitors are international and at festivals like “Rock im Park” they are already building their own supermarket branches and Ferris wheels. Not exactly special artisan sordes, then. But that does not change the fact that it means a lot to the tens, the hundreds of thousands and the millions who celebrate here every year in all colours.

At The Appearance of Hammerfall, a fan dressed up as the movie character

The best pictures from Wacken Open Air 2019

Photo: Axel Heimken, dpa

Once the question on Facebook, what is missing when the festivals are missing, Caro Wenderlein replied at the end of May: “Rock in the Park, Rammstein and Summer Breeze … – in ‘ner Woche it would have started at the best time of the year. I just miss the carefree time with friends, just three days off completely, get out of everyday life and just have fun and have a good time … It’s just a whole way of life that’s missing now.” Or Caro Mäkinen: “Rock in the Park, With Full Force, Summer Breeze and Wacken… At the festivals, everyone comes together and you have the opportunity to celebrate with everyone. Unfortunately, this is breaking away completely this year. And that is probably the most bitter thing, besides the cultural aspects of the concerts themselves.”

Or Jonny Renner: “For me, it’s gone: Modular, Southside, Summer Breeze, Reggae in Wulf, Singoldsand … Festivals are simply the pure feeling of summer and freedom, and that is simply missing!” Amelie Kruse would have gone to “Modular”, “Puls” and “Singgoldsand” – “just days to relax and enjoy” – Matthias Schuster to “Brass Wiesn”, Patrizia Ketterle to “Tollwood” and “Reggae in Wulf”: “I will miss reggae in Wulf in particular! For me, it’s like a holiday like in the other world …” And in between, she has packed piles of emojis with broken hearts and howling faces.

In “Rock im Park” the SAP Project Manager becomes a professional fan, an institution

If you want to know more, ask Balu. Because he is a kind of professional fan, an institution at “Rock im Park”, and, just as he certainly lacks the festival, will somehow be in Nuremberg Lack. Normally, as every year, Balu would have met his hundred friends on Thursday at 7 p.m. on the grounds already opened for camping – because Balu, always in one of his six yellow T-shirts with a name imprint, and his friends from all over Germany are much more than an ordinary celebration circle. They are the “park rockers”, run with parkrocker.net a volunteer fan forum with all information about the festival. Here, as in the past year, the anger about missing and broken toilets is concentrated, which the “park rockers” then attach to those responsible. In the meantime, they also award their own environmental prize at the festival every year. And Balu is something like her chief, even if he is sometimes called “Forum Grandpa” in the average much younger bunch.

Holger Strichau alias Balu, professional fan of the park rockers (“PR”).

Photo: Strichau

His real name is Holger Strichau, comes from Cologne and studied in Nuremberg-Erlangen. Since then, he has been loyally connected to the park, even though he is now 52, otherwise leads a highly serious and serious life in a suit as an SAP project manager and lives with his wife and two stepdaughters in the Stuttgart area.

Why then every year “Rock in the Park”? It can be said that it is love, it is a home for that Balu, who is still in Mr. Strichau, who from an early age became a music expert out of passion, with a wide spectrum, who put electronic music on in the Erlanger E-Werk – and then learned to love what does not exist at normal concerts. “Everything is more relaxed here, people are watching each other, there is an atmosphere of togetherness,” he explains. Like a giant extended family that is in a state of emergency, takes time out from everyday life and leaves other daily routines and consumption habits far behind.

Of course, Balu can also remember musical highlights of all these years in Nuremberg, such as concerts by Moby, the White Stripes or Tool. And of course Holger Strichau goes to other festivals, the “Southside” or “Highfield”, sometimes up to the seven-day “Sziget” in Budapest. But the highlight of the year, his second home, is here, where he knows the organiser and security personally and is now recognized as “the Balu!” on the festival grounds. Where he is every year, no matter which bands come in which year. Where he always lives in the same hotel on this first weekend of June. Because yes, that changes, it doesn’t have to be a campground anymore – for that he would have been the first time this year 16-year-old stepdaughter. Typical, right?

Big concerts and festivals will probably be the last to take place again

In any case, the festival fever seems to be inheriting into the next generation just over 50 years after the birth in Woodstock. The audience’s focus is still on the under-25s. And so festival culture is constantly updating itself. Former cult like the one shouting “Helga!” across the grounds, in imitation of a man looking for his partner many years ago, is practically over.

Today’s giant large family enjoys this all-time network and otherwise plays “Flunkyball” or “Beer-Pong” at every opportunity and on all routes – moody beer drinking sport and now really: typical! Like next to it the mostly older collectors from their empty cans for the deposit. And around these Pittoresques, a highly technical system that organises the steering of crowds to avoid dangerous congestion and congestion.

Just that there is nothing to organise now, this summer 2020. Some beer drinkers, perhaps, as well as walkers sure, probably don’t replace the party with mobile sound systems – even the Corona patrol could probably drive over the festival grounds this weekend without complaint. Balu and his “park rockers” also forgo their own internal meeting due to the conditions. After the cancellation of the festival, Holger Strichau reserved himself for his everyday life this weekend and preferred the planned move. But of course the hotel was booked for next year: first June weekend 2021, then 26 years of “Rock im Park”. Or?

The American bioethicist and professor of health management, Zeke Emanuel, who also advises the government, recently told the New York Times, he does not believe that major concerts and especially festivals will take place anywhere before autumn 2021: “I think these things will be the last to return.” Balu sees it differently. And says, “I’m very confident about that.”

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