In this video, I cover the Reeperbahn Festival, Beatles Tour from and budget accommodation ideas through hostels in Hamburg, Germany.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Hamburg Tourism board and was gifted the Reeperbahn Festival ticket, transport, food, accommodation in Super Bude and experiences mentioned in the video and this blog post. All views expressed are my own.
The Reeperbahn Festival is an annual city music festival held during September over four days. It’s been running for over ten years, 2019 was the 14th edition of the event. So you’ll be in safe hands, and the team behind the festival definitely know how to organise a festival!
The Reeperbahn Festival by the numbers
- 400+ bands were showing local and international bands as well as a mix of established and new bands.
- 600+ concerts + showcases.
- 2018 had 53,000+ visitors.
- 5,500 professional guests. The Reeperbahn Festival also hosts a conference for the music industry with workshops, talks, networking events and related events.
What is the setup of a city music festival?
The Reeperbahn Festival is a city music festival, and you exchange your ticket for a wristband. The wristband acts as a pass, and it’s a great way to discover a city through its venues. The venues are likely to be concert halls, but there are a few other venues like churches, bars or even shops!
Each performance generally lasts between 30mins to 1 hour with live music starting about midday and goes on to about 1 am. After the live music, you have a few options to carry on the party at a club night with a DJ and carry on partying till the early hours of the morning. Most of the action is around the Reeperbahn and St Pauli and generally easy to walk between the 50+ venues
Tips on surviving the festival
With so much going on, it’s hard to know where to go or who to see. Here are some tips which will help you along!
- Get the app – There’s a dedicated app, and it will help you to organise yourself on what to see, where and when. It has a handy schedule with a map to show you where to go. In 2019, you could listen to samples of the music artists and bands via Deezer, the subscription music service.
- Research – With over 400 bands and over 46 hours of music on the official Spotify playlist, it might take a while to find something you like. But it’s so worth finding a band you probably wouldn’t see anywhere else. The other way to do it is to find some decent music bloggers and follow their recommendations! Keep an eye out on my socials when I release mine!
- Aim to see about 3-4 bands you want to see a day – With so much going on there’s probably pressure to make the most of it but try cutting back to a few bands. I view it as seeing some good bands on a day instead of trying to squeeze in multiple bands one after another. Don’t forget to throw in some randomness and serendipity! After all, half the fun of festivals is discovering!
- Reeperbahn Festival area – In 2019, there were two official Reeperbahn Festival areas. It’ll probably be the same on future events. One of them is by the St Pauli Football Stadium and it about a 15-20 minute walk from the Reeperbahn, this location is where you collect your wristband plus there were other non-music events. The other festival area is right on the Reeperbahn with shops, stages, bars and food. Definitely a great place to grab yourself a cheap Bratwurst!
- Newsletter – Sign up to the newsletter, even though it’s in German, it gives an indication when there are special events are announced like the release of the special Ellpharomine tickets.
I want to go to the Reeperbahn Festival!
I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for some Reeperbahn Festival fun! Here are some practical tips you may wish to consider!
- Multi-day tickets – There are different types of festival tickets (2020 prices). If you buy your tickets early enough, the early bird is discounted by 10 Eur off the full 4-day ticket price.
- 2-day (Fri – Sat, 89 Eur) This (in my humble opinion) is the absolute minimum ticket you should consider buying as the main days are the Fri and Sat. It’ll get busy!
- 3-day (Thur – Sat, 99 Eur) Great for a long weekend break.
- 4-day (Wed – Sat, 109 Eur) If you have loads of time, the 4-day ticket is the best value, but the party doesn’t kick off till later in the week.
- Day tickets – You can also get individual day tickets which cost between 45 Eur – 65 Eur.
- Conference ticket – You can also skip the queues, join in the industry events and get an industry ticket, very expensive!
- Flights – There are lots of cheap flights from all the major airports in Europe! If you book early enough, flights can be as cheap as £30 from London each way.
- Reeperbahn Festival website
Music venues visited
Being a great party town with so much cultural and musical history, it’s no surprise it has a great music scene. I didn’t visit as many musical venues this time but here’s a list of the ones I did and that was on my list to check out next time! If you’re in town, definitely check out some of these venues for some live music!
Molotov Music Club (website link)
The Molotov Club is a bit of an institution in Hamburg having lasted over the years and moved venues. It’s not only a music venue but also an idea and community pulling in great bands. You’ll often see some upcoming bands known internationally but not as popular in Germany. You’ll often see queues going in and try to see one band here to feel the raw rock spirit of Hamburg. It’s three separate venues in 1 building with a rock DJ club for after-hours partying!
Grosse Freiheit 36 (website link)
The club translates to “Lots of freedom” and comes from the fact it’s on the very colourful neon street of Große Freiheit street. Grosse Freiheit 36 is a great venue to see some of the larger acts and has a massive capacity.
Indra Club 64 (website link)
One of the famous venues because the Beatles played here when they in Hamburg. One for the Beatle fans as well as those wanting a cosier venue to drink with some live music. There are also other hosted non-music events.
Elbphilharmonie (website link)
One of the more acoustically advanced venues in the world, this concert hall venue is made up of multiple music rooms, hotel, restaurant, beer speciality shop/brewery and gift shop. If you do want to see the epic grand hall via a music event, make sure you book a music event which is at the “ELBPHILHARMONIE HAMBURG, GROSSER SAAL”. You’re more likely to see classical music performed here. During the Reeperbahn festival, there are special concerts that require an extra paid ticket. We got to see the fantastic Anna Ternheim performing with the Kaiser Quartett. You can see the full performance here (thanks Reeperbahn Festival!).
Mojo Club (website link)
The Mojo club is located right on the Reeperbahn and is specially made venue for music. From the outside, you wouldn’t think much about it, but inside you have a great music venue with the main floor and a balcony looking down to the main floor and band. It has a nice intimate feel, not too large but not so small it feels claustrophobic. Out of all the venues mentioned, you’ll see the most varied types of music and sometimes quite quirky!
A relatively unknown fact is that Hamburg made the Beatles into musicians. In the early years, it was tough for the boys from Liverpool. They became the musical legends they are known today playing in the bars of Hamburg. The history is retold in most of the walking tours around St Pauli, but there is a tour that provides an experience like no other, that is the tour from Stefanie Hempel. Her combination of in-depth local Beatles knowledge, charismatic charm and performances of Beatles classic on her Ukelele make her tour unique.
Go to her website for more details. You won’t be disappointed!
Hamburg has plenty of options when it comes to accommodation from budget to luxury with plenty in between. In previous visits, I booked an Airbnb as there was 5 of us right on the Reeperbahn. Here I have a selection of the places I have stayed and recommend for those looking towards for something a bit cheaper! I have a mix of recommendations for solo travellers to groups.
Superbude (book here)
Superbude has two locations in Hamburg. I’ve only been to the St Pauli hostel, and it was pretty good because of the cool funky feel. It has a friendly ambience to chill out. Even though it describes itself as a hostel, it doesn’t have any dormitory rooms and such I couldn’t recommend it for solo travellers. For groups and families, this is great! It has rooms for up to 6 people costing from 120 Eur (or 20 Eur each) for a private room is excellent value for money! The single room I stayed in was basic and comfortable with an en suite which I believe the other rooms have as well.
Instant Sleep (book here)
For a nice budget hostel, Instant Sleep is a good option. The cheapest of the three for solo travellers and also recommended for groups. It has more of a fun hostel feel but not quite a “party hostel” vibe. It hosts events and would be great to meet other travellers and revellers. A great budget option as well with a fully stocked kitchen to cook your meals.
YMCA Hamburg hostel (book here)
For families, solo travellers and those who are looking for a calmer place (i.e. not a “party hostel”) the YMCA is a great option. It has the additional benefit of breakfast included in the price. Another advantage is that it is about 10 minutes from the waterfront and right by the Reeperbahn.
More city music festival content
If you like the sound of city music festivals, you should also check out some of my other videos:
- Eurosonic (Groningen, Netherlands)
- Airwaves (Reykjavik, Iceland)
- Great Escape (Brighton, UK)
- Ment (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
More Hamburg content
I have a load more other content on Hamburg as well 😁