Classic Festivals & traditional events in Germany
Germany is one of the most significant countries worldwide concerning the annual festivals. The festival tradition can be retraced into long bygone times and therefore is part of Germany’s diverse culture. In the warm summer months of every year the festival season is opened and attracts thousands and thousands of people from all over the world. From North to South and from West to East – whether it is a big metropolis or a tiny, historical village – the festivals take place all over the country and you’ll see places you’d never visit otherwise. The offer is multi-faceted and not limited to one art branch. Sometimes the festivals even combine all different sorts of the arts. Theater, Acting, Dance, Performance Art or Music – everyone will get his or hers money’s worth. Especially festivals with a focus on classical music have a long tradition in Germany and are therefore quite often the most renowned worldwide. Be mesmerized by the sound of international, prestigious orchestras and imposing up-and-coming talents. Conductors, artistic directors and musicians are waiting for you! A festival weekend will highlight culture and art at its best and revive you at the same time. A stay at one of our houses during a festival visit will ensure you a stress-free time, so you can simply focus on enjoying the events, concerts and exhibitions. We orientate ourselves on your needs. Short ways to the concert halls or culinary delicacies in the hotels kitchens – your recreation during your festival visit is our concern. Visit one of our hotels and convince yourself.
Version auf Deutsch: Festspiele in Deutschland
RICHARD WAGNER FESTIVAL IN BAYREUTH
The Richard Wagner Festival in Wagner’s hometown Bayreuth is one of the most significant festivals concerning classical music in Germany. The "crème de la crème" of the international classical music-scene gathers here once a year and stages a superlative event for a couple of days. The much sighed-for tickets are quite often sold out several months before the actual event. If you got hold of a ticket you can be thrilled of anticipation for this splendid festival. Idyllic located on the “Grüner Hügel” – the so-called green hill of Bayreuth – the events take place in the Bayreuth festival hall. The pompous building was designed and erected by Richard Wagner himself and his close friend Otto Brückwald in order to give the festival a steady home. The panoramic view rewards the travel and the costs – the beautiful landscape is unique. And talking about beautiful views: The Richard Wagner festival in Bayreuth is also well-known for its extravagant and lavish costumes – keep your eyes open. Traditionally the famous operas by Richard Wagner are performed here every year. The orchestral all-star cast and the breathtaking set decorations fascinate every single visitor. Regardless of whether you see “Tannenhäuser” or “Parsifal” – here you will experience the world’s best operas. The atmosphere during the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth can not only be experienced on the terrain where the events take place, but also in the picturesque city itself. During the festival the whole city is characterized by it. Since a couple of years the sold-out operas are broadcasted on big screens in the city centre. Stroll around the historical district of the city during the day and enjoy the performances with other classical music fans during the evening and nighttime. There are also performances enacted for the younger visitors. They playfully introduce the youngsters to opera and the work of the composer Richard Wagner. Bayreuth surly is an experience for the whole family.
Our Hotel-Tip: City Partner Hotel Bayerischer Hof - Bayreuth
BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL BONN
In 1845 several pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven were presented to the people of Bonn. The Rhineland has changed since then - the tradition of the Beethoven Festival remained. Beethoven and the city of Bonn have a long history together. The famous composer was not only born in the Rhineland, but spent his youth and his early adolescence there and wrote over 40 pieces. This creative process and the outcome were responsibly for his byname “the genius child”. The compositions that were written in Bonn greatly differ from the well-known compositions of Beethoven and they are more virtues and eccentric than the renowned and more popular symphonies. Whether Bonn and the surrounding Rhineland were an inspiration for his early pieces remains a guess. But see if you can figure out this riddle for yourself while exploring the historic district of Bonn, one of the oldest cities in Germany. At the beginning of autumn Bonn changes into a Beethoven-Stronghold and mesmerizes its visitors and audiences with over 60 international performances. The so called “Beethovenhalle” is the centerpiece of the festival and stages most of the performances. Nevertheless more performances take place in and around Bonn. Historical and industrial buildings and pompous churches – the works of the mastermind Beethoven are staged in all sorts of different halls. Renowned artists, international conductors and orchestras find a home at this festival among modern directors, small ensembles and uprising musical talents. The combination of the various ways of performing Beethoven’s pieces lead to the erecting of two premises: Beethoven’s work is not museum inventory – the creative contestation with his work is required and encouraged. The second premise of this festival is to ensure a gathering place of amateurs and stars of the classical music scene. Among the classical concerts there is a lot of information on the life and work of Beethoven as well as program especially for children. The Beethoven festival in Bonn offers entertainment for the young and the young at heart.
Our Hotel-Tip: Conference Partner Hotel Haus Oberwinter - Remagen
SUMMER IN LESMONA – THE BREMEN FESTIVAL
A fairly young tradition was established in Bremen in 1995. On a pleasant weekend in July the residents of Bremen pack their picnic baskets and gather at the “Knoops Park” near the river Lesum and let themselves be indulged by the sounds of classical music under the open sky. In the first year of this event only a few hundred people gathered in the northern city but ever since the event started the visitor numbers have been steadily growing. Last year over 10.000 visitors came together in order to listen to the classical tunes outdoors. The cult status established itself over the past few years and today “Summer in Lesmona” is considered to be one of Germany’s best festivals for classical music. And even though the visitor numbers have been growing, the festival is well known for its familiar atmosphere. Before and after the concerts the visitors have a picnic together in the park. The 65 hectare natural park is picturesque scenery for this unique event. Experience the German flora and fauna after listening to some classical music and relax in the shades of the trees or cool off your feet in the Lesum River. The festival is that unique, because it has nothing in common with a usual visit of a classical concert. And due to this fact the visitors of the Bremen Festival are enchanted by this event. Because of the location the festival is an ideal place for the whole family. The younger visitors can entertain themselves in the park, while you are listening to the concerts. Besides that there is a program especially for the youngsters that entertains the kids musically and encourages them to participate – they become part of the “Summer in Lesmona” Festival. The performance of the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra is the highlight of the weekend. They usually tour the whole world, but in July they find their way back home and mesmerize the local audience. Besides the classical performances at night there is music of all different genres to be found at the festival. When the sun sets and the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra prepares for their final act, you’ll come to realize why “Summer in Lesmona” is such a beloved classical open-air.
Our Hotel-Tip: City Partner Hotel Residence - Bremen
HAYDN-FESTIVAL CASTLE AUGUSTUSBURG/BRÜHL
The cultural city located in the Rhineland is home to a lot of classical concerts. Traditionally the concert season starts of in early summer and the renowned Haydn-Festival is surly one of the highlights. Idyllic located between the metropolises Bonn and Cologne, the city of Brühl can be found in a natural environment directly on the Rhine River. The perfect place for a music festival, but ensure you about that yourself. In 1825 the city received their fundamental rights and even though the city has been undergoing changes ever since the historic district of the city remained the same. Old gables still carry inscription from long gone days and are today’s witnesses of the past. While strolling around the city you’ll find these old architectonical sights that will leave you speechless. The castles Augustusburg and Falkenlust were declared World Culture Heritage by the UNESCO a long time ago. If you want to experience Germany’s history Brühl is the place to be. Pompous halls that were home to the most important people of long gone centuries now function as concert halls for international orchestras and create a unique atmosphere. It is not know if Haydn visited Brühl at some stage in his life – nevertheless one of the biggest Haydn Festivals is annually held in the city. The Haydn festival takes places around the Augustusburg Castle, which was built in 1725. The castle was constantly renewed and therefore many architectonical styles can be observed on it. The concert halls are splendid decorated and a have a unique charm. But not only is the castle home to the concerts. Museums and churches also stage various concerts during the festival. Besides the masterpieces of the fabulous composer other pieces by many well known composers are presented to a large audience during the festival. Modern staging find a place among performances of classical music. Lovers of classical music will get their money’s worth. The festival ends with a pompous firework at the picturesque castle. After the sunset the castle is immersed into a colorful light. You shouldn’t miss this closing ceremony – for sure a highlight of the Haydn Festival in Brühl.
Our Hotel-Tip: Conference Partner Hotel Haus Oberwinter - Remagen
DUSSELDORF FESTIVAL / „ALTSTADTHERBST“ CULTURE-FESTIVAL DUSSELDORF
60 events in 20 days, with more than 25.000 visitors. Since 1991 the city calculates with these numbers and every year the bill pays out. The “Altstadtherbst” – a culture festival that that bribes with its unique character – is one of the best-visited and most renowned culture festivals in Germany. The mixture of classical and contemporary music, among theater and modern performances offers entertainment for everyone and fascinates its visitors every single year. The philosophy of this festival is the “play with the extreme opposites”. Loud or silent, traditional or avant-garde. The challenge of the festival is to combine these extremes and according to the festivals visitors as well as the international press, they manage to do so. That is one of the reasons why more and more visitors travel every year to the metropolis in order to experience the different kinds of arts that are presented during autumn in Düsseldorf. The places where the concerts and performances take place are as diverse as the program itself. The “Theater-Tent” at the castle square is the centerpiece of the festival, but is still only one of many venues. Düsseldorf’s churches invite you to listen to classical concerts in a historic surrounding. But also unconventional venues, such as old industry buildings or bureaus will mesmerize you with their very unique charm during the culture festival. The events take the shape of their venues and vice versa during the “Altstadherbst” – this avant-garde concept worked out during the last couple of years and gained a lot of applause. Friends of classical performances and music can also be sedated, not everything is contemporary or avant-garde: Traditional concerts and opera is to be found during the September month as well. In dignified venues you can find renowned orchestras and conductors. The best part of the “Altstadtherbst” is the diversity of the festival in any way. You’ll experience impressions of all sorts of different art and from all different parts of the world in only a couple of days. The “Alstatdherbst” in Düsseldorf is a festival for aesthetes, discoverers and individualists!
Our Hotel-Tip: City Partner Hotel Villa Fiore - Dusseldorf
GOTHA BAROQUE FESTIVAL
In Germany’s historic transcripts the city of Gotha is mentioned for the first time in 755. The fifth biggest city of the state of Thuringia still possesses a beautiful historic district that reminds the cities visitors of all the different historical as well as architectonic epochs the city has experienced. Castles, old taverns and museums as well as green pleasure grounds remind everyone of the historical times. In some parts of the city it also seems as time has been standing still for several hundred years. All in all the city of Gotha is the perfect setting for a baroque festival – not much has to be decorated or changed in order to make the city look ancient. Since ten years the city of Gotha changes completely into a baroque city in order to celebrate the Gotha Baroque Festival. But not only the city “dresses up” – at the end of August at the start of the festival the participants dress themselves in traditional, stunning clothing and on this way make sure that you will not forget about this festival. Among the classical concerts the going-ons around the Castle Friedenstein give the city’s visitors an impression of how life in the baroque epoch was like. Stroll around the medieval market, that takes place during the time of the festival and treat yourself with some fine food. Old traditional handcraft can also be observed on the medieval market: Masons, blacksmiths, turners and carpenters demonstrate how goods were produced a long time ago. The spectacle is rounded down with an historical carousel – fun for the young and young at heart. In the evenings you can enjoy the classical concerts. Conductors put a focus on baroque music and famous composers such as Vivaldi and Händel are presented in help of small and large orchestras. But not only have the well renowned composers found a home at the Gotha Baroque Festival – pieces by composers of the early baroque also have a podium in Gotha. The Friendensstein Castle is hereby the perfect setting for the concerts – the acoustic of the concert halls in the castle is simply unbelievable. Due to the fact that the festival is not only limited to baroque music, the festival is a perfect opportunity to experience something with the whole family. You will not only encounter the arts of this interesting period of time but you’ll learn a lot about the history of the city itself. At nighttime a picturesque firework takes place – make sure not to forget your camera!
Since 1926 the dreamy city in the middle of the state of Baden transforms into a cultural stronghold once a year. Hundreds of visitors from different parts of Germany gather in the historic city and convert the streets into a celebration of theater and performance. The theater festival in Heidelberg is one of the biggest and renowned in Germany and delights its visitors every single year. Besides the theatre performances music and art is the festivals hobbyhorse. The diverse program is constructed for young and old visitors and therefore the Heidelberg Theatre Festival is a festival for young and old visitors. More than 30.000 visitors enjoy theater, opera and the music performances in the different venues around the city. A majority of the events take place in the castles garden of the historic Heidelberg Castle. The scenery is simply beautiful: The Heidelberg Castle has been renewed over quite a few years and therefore various monuments can be observed on the castle itself. Make sure you don’t get lost in between the castles walls. The area on which the castle stands on is huge and you’ll find interesting statues and hidden ways behind every corner. Trees creep in between the porous masonry and create a mystique as well as romantic atmosphere. The performances will mesmerize you and the castle being such an eye candy the combination of the venue and the actual performances is simply perfect. Especially the younger visitors love to stroll around and trace back the roots of medieval times. Concerts in the castles chapel raise one’s hackles – the acoustic at this place is breathtaking. Among the cultural events Heidelberg presents itself from its best side concerning culinary treats. A great amount of gastronomes will spoil you with their food from all over the world. The decoration competitions of the local shops windows as well as the various cabaret artists ensure to excite you throughout the day. Leave your everyday life behind and relax for a couple of days, enjoying theatre and music. The city’s special offer for your time being in Heidelberg: Ride all the public transport for free – just get yourself a ticket for this stunning festival.
Our Hotel-Tip: City Partner Hotel Holländer Hof - Heidelberg
BACH FESTIVAL LEIPZIG
In 1732 Johann Sebastian Bach moved to Leipzig in order to work as the city’s choirmaster and organist. In his new adoptive home he composed the majority of his organ pieces which were presented to an audience in Leipzig for the first time. Already during his lifetime he was honored for his works and received wide appreciation. Leipzig’s pompous churches seemed to be made for Bach’s pieces and this feeling will still overwhelm you, when the organ player hits the keys. In 1908 the first Bach Festival took place in Leipzig and since the beginning of the last century the festival is a magnet for visitors from all over the world. Besides pieces of the renowned composer and traditional Northern German organ works there are concerts by modern and traditional composers to be seen and enjoyed all over the city. Symphonies, works for single instruments and choir performances – we guarantee that you’ll hear the kind of classical music that you enjoy the most. Most of the concerts take place in churches and concert halls in Leipzig but the festivals also prepared for some staging in special venues, such as the Leipzig Zoo. And even though the Bach Festival Leipzig is dedicated to classical music the city attempts to mix different genres from high and popular culture. And this mix works out – more and more fans and friends of classical music gather every year in Leipzig. The “Bach Competition” surly is a highlight of the festival. Artists of every shade are encouraged to expose themselves with the works and life of the famous composer. The competition isn’t limited to one medium and therefore the presentations are extremely diverse and extremely interesting. Among young talented musicians the world-stars of classical music find a home in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Germany. The festival is traditionally opened with a concert by the famous singer and organist Georg Christoph Biller. Even though Bach’s organ music is the focus of the festival, you’ll find jazz and experimental concerts while the festival is running. In between the concerts you should stroll around the picturesque city - Leipzig is a unique witness of many historical events. Classical music and Leipzig were, are and will always be connected. Be mesmerized by this breathtaking city and the beautiful concerts at the Bach Festival Leipzig.
Our Hotel-Tip: City Partner Suite Hotel Leipzig
MUNICH OPERA FESTIVAL
The Munich State Opera is considered to be one of the best opera houses all over the world and during the last couple of years the metropolis in Southern Germany transformed into a Mecca of classical music. The Munich Opera festival therefore is the absolute highlight of the opera season in the capital of Bavaria. During June and July the repertories of the different venues for concerts are increased and this breathtaking festival takes place. Already in 1875 the first festival took place, including performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s and Richard Wagner’s operas. The enthusiasm of the visitors was that immense that a year later the next opera festival was held in Munich. The tradition never changed since 1875, only the number of visitors from all over the world increased. Not only the program of the Munich Opera festival is fascinating, but also the different venues. The art nouveau “Prinzregenten Theater” was erected at the turn-of-the-century only for this festival and still is the centerpiece of it. This historic place – world premiers by Heinrich Mann and Frank Wedekind were celebrated here – offers seating for more than 1000 people. The Bavarian State Opera as well as the Bavarian Ballet function as venues during the festival. But also churches, such as the famous Allerheiligen-Church, theaters and museums are home to concerts and performances. Munich turns into a huge concert hall during the festival season. An absolute highlight of the Munich Opera Festival is the opera and concert night on the “Max-Joseph-Platz” in front of the National Theatre. “Opera for everyone” is the theme of this spectacle. This event is outdoors and for free – presenting the best of classical music to its visitors. Last year more than 12.000 visitors gathered to enjoy this event. Besides the opera performances there are many classical concerts of all different shade. The musicians present pieces from all different epochs of classical music. There is also theater, ballet, movie performances and art exhibitions. Culture, art and opera – all of your senses will be spoiled during the Munich Opera Festival.
Our Hotel-Tip: City Partner Hotel Adria - Munich
ROTHENBURG „DER MEISTERTRUNK“
One could say, that the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a dreamy and small city , where nothing much happens and time simply passes by. This is a wrong guess though. The city has an interesting and exciting history that is presented to the city’s visitors once a year during the festival “Der Meistertrunk”. The history is brought back to life and amazes not only the visitors but also the inhabitants that are waiting throughout the year for this event to come. The idyllic city in Franconia was raided and beleaguered in 1631 by the domineering Count Johann Tserclaes von Tilly. The catholic Count came with over 60.000 soldiers and held provost court. In an unfair process he decided for pillage and the destruction of the entire city. The frightened inhabitants of Rothenburg ob der Tauber at that time were afraid of losing their home and their belongings. They were all simply taken by surprise. But instead of giving up and accepting their destiny they were looking for a way out of this misery. A finally a way was found and therefore the historical buildings can still be observed in the city - Count Johann Tserclaes von Tilly didn’t manage to burn down the city. How the city and its inhabitants were saved is presented during the festival in several concerts and theater performances. If you are not familiar with the history, you should visit the festival without looking up the answer – there is just one thing to say beforehand: It was spectacular. During the Whitsun Weekend of every year the city changes into the traditional scenery of 1631. Within three days the city transforms into the old town and all of its inhabitants make sure it looks as original as it can. On the stress you’ll find horse carts, jugglers and barkers. The costumes of the Rotherburg Festival are well known across the town’s borders and are changed every single year – every detail has to be perfect. Time travel into the 16th century – that is what happens in this dreamy village at the festival. Even though there is a focus on the theater and music performances the scenery is the most stunning part on this festival weekend. “Der MeistertrunK” offers entertainment for the young and young at heart. The youngsters are playfully introduced to the city’s history while the elderies are spoiled with local brewed beer and wine. Be mesmerized – in every sense of the word.
MOZART FESTIVAL WURZBURG
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited the picturesque city of Würzburg only once. In a letter adressed to his beloved sister he swarms about the beauty of the city and the delicous food. What causes the city to dedicate a festival to Mozart, when he only stopped by once, one may ask. Well, there is a simply answer to that question. Hermann Zilcher, former director of the Würzburg consevatorium und intitiator of the Mozart Festival was a professing Mozart fanatic. And thanks to him the Mozart Festival Würzburg was established in 1921 and remained the city’s tradition ever since. Nowadays it seems as if the austrian composer and virtuose lived in Souterhn Germany due to the fact that Würzburg changes into a Mozart stronghold during the festival season. It’s visitors are spoiled with Mozart’s melodies once a year and it seems like all the inhabitants of Würzburg can’t wait for this event to come. The small city is the perfect setting for this event. The historic downtown still holds historical buildings a city wall and ancient footpaths. In the historic muscial halls of the city - such as the “Hochamt” or the “Kaisersaal” – some of the 40 concerts are presented. Other magical venues are the historic churches or monasteries. The Würzburg Residence is one of the most stunning venues of this festival. The building was declared World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. Make sure you wander around the area and inspect the beautiful building before listening to one of the concerts. This impressive residence is always a magnet for the younger visitors due to its old history – but come and see for yourself. Besides the traditional symphonic and orchestral performances you’ll find performances of classical music of all diferent shades. The Mozart Festival Würzburg constantly expanded its horizons and offers today a huge diversity concerning its program. The competition “Rising Stars” invites musical talents from all over the world and you’ll get the chance to see the classic stars of tomorrow already today. Exhibitions about Mozart’s life and work are also part of the festival – this is were you get all the information you need. A Mozart Festival in Southern Germany and not Vienna – be surprised!
Our Hotel-Tip: City Partner Hotel Strauss - Würzburg
(photos: 1 ©Jan Rose/Fotolia.com | 2 ©Ilona Martin/pixelio.de | 3 ©Karl-Heinz Laube/pixelio.de | 4 ©Rainer Sturm/pixelio.de)