1. Rock in Vienna // WHAT: Uh…rock // WHERE: A stone’s throw from Vienna // WHEN: 2-4 June
Coming to the Danube Island for the third time in 2017, Rock in Vienna has ramped it up: four days of nonstop music. But despite this they might have lost a little of their profile. You see, instead of staying strictly old school rock, punk and metal, they decided to widen the genre pool by adding hip hop, rap, and even Deutschpop acts. Punk and rock are still part of the deal however, only the metal heroes seem to have slunk off the roster. This has garnered them some fierce criticism, but we’re curious to see how it will all play out.
Our Claudia Rapp was drawn to this particular festival last year because it promised to be a mix of the ‘old guard’ of metal and some newer powerhouses. Bands like Slayer and Iron Maiden vie for applause with the likes of Royal Republic, The Subways or the teenage Japanese weirdos of Babymetal. I mean, the two biggest names, Rammstein and Iggy Pop, could hardly have been more different in style – but both were glorious.
For 2017, we’re mainly curious about Kings of Leon and my own teenage heroes Die Toten Hosen. Silbermond might get the cold shoulder, but Macklemore gets a nod: everyone knows he puts on a good show, regardless of whether you like hiphop or not.
And between acts, there’s always the rest of that beautiful city to explore…
WHAT WE LOVE: The picturesque Danube Island setting // The beautiful city a short stroll away! // A brave & evolved lineup
DON’T MISS: The Dead Daisies: a project that brings together veteran rockers from bands like Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy and Mötley Crüe. Bound to be old school! // Schmutzki: joyful punkrock from Germany. // Aftershow parties in town: missed a good act? Worry not – they often just move their show to some murky Viennese venue and carry on the party
2. Meadows in the Mountains // WHAT: House, electro, soul & everything // WHERE: Misty mountains of Bulgaria // 9-11 June
Essentially, MM is a family holiday that got out of hand. In the best possible way, mind – I’m not talking about chronic carsickness or beachside tantrums. It began with committed raver Damian Sasse and his brother Benjamin visiting their parents’ house in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria. Suddenly one year they invited a handful of music-addicted friends to spin discs on the hillside and since then it’s only grown.
Part of that growth is thanks to an Englishman that indieBerlin’s Jem Bosatta stumbled across, slightly dazed-looking, in a Berlin bar. But don’t be fooled. He’s a secret visionary, playing a huge role in the annual hype that brings performers and guests from all around.
If it was all about growth, MM wouldn’t be what it is. There’s a reason Metro and Conde Nast ranked it in their international festival top 10: witnesses speak in hushed, awed tones of the freedom, the uncorrupted delight, the spirit of the thing. So I’ll quote Suitcase Magazine and order you to “only take the best people – otherwise don’t tell a soul.” Let’s bring the best of Berlin.
WHAT WE LOVE: underground lineup // spirituality, yoga & talks tent // the excitement, aura, mystique!
DON’T MISS: Aporia, Kiwi dreampop for hazy days // Anna Wall & Bruno Schmidt, when the organisers hit the decks // Alice Phoebe Lou, treasure of Berlin
3. Paradise City // WHAT: Techo, electro // WHERE: Beautiful Brussells // WHEN: 24-26 June
What do we love about Paradise City? This could be a very, very long article. Rewind. What don’t we love about Paradise City? Nope, that’s not even a tweet. Back to the first angle, but I’ll keep it snappy.
Obviously – obviously – the lineup was going to be pretty good. Actually, it’s pretty jaw-dropping for electronic fans. The first two names on the list, Âme and N’to/Joachim Pastor, hardly need introducing. John Talabot joins them in the heavyweights, a young Catalonian with a dazzling set and an even brighter future. Then there’s Patrice Bäumel on home turf whose track ‘Surge’ was one of the anthems of 2016; Frankey & Sandrino, who have a taste for the retro and a nose for the future; and many more…
But I was sold long before I saw the lineup. Paradise City are award-winners in sustainable event management; its entire USP is eco-friendliness. There’s a whole list of steps taken to ensure the lowest possible environmental impact. I’ll let you read it but here’s the bottom line: at every level of management and supply, they’ve made an effort that 95% of festivals don’t.
Astoundingly, they offer you a free cardboard tent called a KarTent if you buy a camping ticket. At normal festivals, 1 in 4 tents are left behind for landfill. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, don’t worry: they promise their tents are 100% watertight.
Finally, the location, the beautiful Castle Ribaucourt. In such an idyllic environment – with historic trees and gurgling brooks guarding a centuries-old fortress – it’s no wonder they care about the environment. And it’s just fifteen minutes away from Brussels.
4. Out of the Woods // WHAT: The indiest pop & rock // WHERE: Deepest, darkest Austria // WHEN: 20-22 July
Sometimes, festivals take a while to get going. But when Out of the Woods made its debut last year, it exploded onto the scene, securing Tocotronic, AnnenMaiKantereit and Two Door Cinema Club as well as indieBerlin favourites Blossoms.
OOTW doesn’t seem to be surprised by its own success. When you prepare to win, you win. And these folks didn’t put a foot wrong. From the headliners above to a seriously impressive small-print lineup (Cigarettes after Sex, Maximo Park and The Beth Edges); from the modest but beautiful setting to the cushy accommodation… Well, they said it was Austria’s first boutique festival, and they hit the nail on the head.
As such they won’t be changing much this year, except with their sights set higher. They’ve added a whole day. There’s very few places on this continent where the name Alt-J still draws a blank; completing the triumvirate is Feist and Phoenix. Once again, there’s strength in depth: Cigarettes after Sex are back, this time with Foals, Alice Merton and the massive Milky Chance.
Out of the Woods may be a new name on the scene – but 2017 looks set to cement its reputation as a pitch-perfect event for the discerning festival-goer.
WHAT WE LOVE: Range of food stalls // second stage hosted by Buzz boutique // “Comfort-Camping” – my favourite German word
DON’T MISS: Benjamin Clementine unique soul singer from London // Fil Bo Riva just for the name (and wavy music) // Cigarettes after Sex after an awesome, awesome album drop
5. Pure & Crafted // WHAT: Bikes & guitars // WHERE: on our doorstep in Berlin (Altes Kraftwerk Rummelsburg) // WHEN: 26-28 August
Bikers get bad press, in a way that other transport fanatics don’t. If trainspotters are harmless nerds in awkward flocks, bikers are sweaty men in violent gangs. Obviously, that’s two unfair stereotypes. Really, biker culture just an evolution of that ancient love between human and horse. I stole that comparison from Jan Joswig on the Pure & Crafted blog: ‘My BMW was chomping at the bit, its idling switch blinking at me…Winnetou must have felt the same when his horse neighed.’
The real difference between bike nuts and horse heads is this: one group puts on village horse shows, and the other puts on huge family-friendly music festivals, in converted factories just outside Berlin. Not telling which. But you can find out for yourself: visit the Altes Kraftwerk Rummelsburg on the 26-27 August.
There’s loads in it for non-bikers too. Here at indieBerlin we’re going exclusively to visit Interpol, noughties indie-rock legends. That’s a three-word combo we simply can’t resist. You might also come along for the New Heritage fair, selling a fabulous array of modern crafts based on age-old traditions. So even if you can’t pin the horsepower on a custom BMW at fifty paces, that shouldn’t stop you enjoying this rustic-feel, highly-polished festival.
WHAT WE LOVE: the combo of motorbikes & music, revs and riffs // the New Heritage fair – old school is always cool // family atmosphere
DON’T MISS: Gurr, up n’ coming Berliners (aren’t we all!) // Giant Rooks is on the grapevine, where they belong // headliner Car Seat Headrest because he is just too awesome not to mention
Text by Jem Bosatta & Claudia Rapp.