Open Air Festival Season in Germany

By Corinna Bienger on Email

Now that the air is becoming milder, the open air concert season is about to start again. Learning from my teenage daughter, I know now that young people today define themselves through the music they listen to. Since it also dictates what to wear, the kid’s first opinion of who might be interesting enough to talk to is based on what one might be wearing. Although this did seem strange to me in the beginning, I remember vaguely that in my own youth we had the same experiences. The only difference we had was between the ”rockers“ and “poppers“. Nowadays, there are so many subtle definitions; I for one can’t keep up with them.

When attending a concert, the kids painstakingly make sure they wear the correct clothes. It is even more important when they go to festivals, which we have about 350 this year. The biggest three open air festivals in Germany are Rock am Ring / Rock im Park, Hurricane and Wacken. These three festivals, each lasting 3 days,  attract around 24,000 young people every year. There is live music on several stages.  The kids sleep in tents – rain or shine – and  many, for the first time in their lives, cook their own meals on camp stoves. This all occurs while listening to the music coming across the festival grounds, which only pauses between about 3 am and 12 noon to give everyone the slightest chance of some sleep.

The festivals lure their visitors with different kinds of music so when you stroll around the grounds, you will notice that,– depending upon which concert you are at,  the kids have made sure that you will immediately recognize which festival you’re attending.

I’m amazed at how the young people adhere to this practice. When I talked to my daughter about this, we came to the conclusion that this  “uniformity” gives them a kind of feeling of “togetherness”, something they have in common with many others. I guess everyone wants this and just expresses it in different ways and in different communities. I’m glad our children have music as their kind of community, as long as they accept and respect their friends who listen to a different kind of music. I believe this variety is beautiful. It is through these festivals that our young people make it clear that they stand for friendship, solidarity and tolerance, and that they have become an important part of young Germany’s culture.

Corinna Bienger