Sunday, July 05, 2009

Free Music: The Rheinkultur Festival in Bonn

July 4th weekend was the Rheinkultur Festival in Bonn, which is one of the biggest free open air festivals in Germany. If you want to see a full list of bands, you can see it here. I went with Christian, his friend Nils and his brother Titus and met up with Felix, Claudia, and Freddie. Because the festival was free, the crowd was an incredibly colorful motley of people: parents with their baby carriages (no joke), teenagers, older people, punks, wiggas, skaters, hipsters, techno enthusiasts, etc. Additionally, people were more willing to spend money on beer and food, as well as not staying for the entire length of the festival. It was probably very good exposure for any of the bands that don't have a huge following and probably just plain fun for any of the more popular bands. The only band I actually knew was No Use for a Name and we didn't actually stay for them since we needed to drive back to Düsseldorf. For a free all-day music festival, I had a few observations.

First, each stage was pretty much divided up into genre. The blue stage was probably the most diverse with more mainstream hip-hop and some rock, the red stage mostly appealed to the alternative/punk crowd, the green stage was for jazz enthusiasts (I think...we didn't go), the "Tanzberg" was for techno junkies, and the last little stage was definitely for hip-hop and rap people. Because the stages were divided, the types of people were also quite obviously divided through fashion. For example, the techno stage had all half-naked people dancing around in some sort of trance, whereas the hip-hop stage was pretty much just a bunch of wiggas with their flat-visored baseball caps, oversized t-shirts, and low-hanging pants. I don't want to just describe stereotypes, but really, that's what it was. Additionally, it was also funny because you could almost see or know what drugs were being taken at each stage. The red stage's drug of choice was most likely just alcohol, perhaps with speed, the Tanzberg stage was most certainly ecstasy, and the little hip-hop stage was quite obviously weed. Because the blue stage was the most diverse stage, you couldn't really say one particular group of people hung around there and therefore, the drugs there were also probably a mix.

Another observation is the sheer number of parents that brought small children with them. We definitely saw several baby carriages and parents carrying their kids in their arms. Maybe a stupid question, but seriously, who brings babies and small children to music festivals? I suppose the answer lies in the fact that it was free because otherwise, I would think no parent in their right mind would pay to bring a kid to a music festival. However, despite the fact that it was free, I personally wouldn't want to schlep my kid all over the place on a hot day where there are lots of inebriates. Not only that, I would think it would be tedious bringing a little person around from stage to stage. At some point, I'm sure they will just say they've had enough and you certainly can't force a child to do something like you can force your friend (then again, some friends are like 5-year-olds anyway.)

Oh and my last comment is about the picture above...In Germany, it's actually illegal to jaywalk/cross on red. People will yell sometimes yell at me if I cross the street without waiting, especially if they are a) old people or b) parents with their children. I've gotten old people yelling at me saying that young people are a disgrace to society. With parents, I get that I'm a bad person because I cross and that the kid shouldn't follow what I do. They shouldn't follow what I do anyway because I'm a stranger, though, right? However, in Bonn, they have these signs all over the place: "Nur bei Grün den Kindern zum Vorbild." A rough translation would be, "Only on green. Be a role model for the children." We were all laughing at this because, hey, don't cross on red because it's illegal, just don't cross on red because you should be a role model for kids. These are the things when I think to myself, "Ha ha, I live in Germany. Only in Germany would you find something like this!"

1 comment:

Tracie said...

Ha, if you waited for the light to turn green in NY to cross the street I think people would look at you like you were crazy. It took a lot of restraint to wait for the light when I was visiting you!!