The summer months see a large number of music festivals taking place all across the world and Germany is no exception. Besides the well-known ticketed events, the country also hosts some amazing free festivals every year. We had a look at what’s on in 2018 and compiled a list of the best free music festivals this summer.
Date: 19 – 22 July, 2018
The Bochum Total festival has been going since 1986 and over the years has made a name for itself by presenting the best of Germany’s newcomer bands ranging from jazz to hard rock. Top acts such as Donots, Revolverheld, Silbermond and Seeed have all played here in the past, and this year, the festival is set out to present another round of music made in Germany. The festival is accompanied by a programme full of live bands, DJ sets, poetry slams, off-stage club parties and more.
Bochum Total, Südring 33, Bochum, Germany +49 234 5883838
Date: 20 – 22 July, 2018
The end of July sees about 250,000 people of all ages flock to Karlsruhe’s ‘Mount Klotz’ location for the free Das Fest festival every year. Across three days, national and international bands take to the stages and perform for the lively crowd. Since 1984, organisers have expressed their dedication to put on an event that caters to otherwise overlooked layers of the population. Previous years have seen a wide range of performances by Reamonn-frontman Rea Garvey, Faithless, Ska-P and German chart-breakers Clueso and Max Giesinger. On top of that, the area features a skatepark and a dedicated kids’ zone to ensures the little ones enjoy themselves too.
Date: 31 May – 03 June, 2018
Hesse’s largest music festival draws more than 400,000 music lovers to Darmstadt’s city centre. The festival area spans across the plazas and parks around the residency palace and features four stages, a couple of disco areas, food trucks and more. Over the course of the Schlossgrabenfest festival, more than 100 acts deliver a programme of pop and rock, hip-hop, singer/songwriter sets and slam poetry. The line-up traditionally features German acts from Andreas Bourani and Jupiter Jones to OK KID and Fools Garden. German pop icon Nena, known for her worldwide hit 99 Red Balloons, is set to headline this year’s festival.
Umsonst & Draußen Würzburg
Date: 21 – 24 June, 2018
Since 1988, Würzburg has hosted the Umsonst & Draußen open-air festival. It has grown significantly over the years and today ranks among the largest festivals in Bavaria. The event is a colourful mix of musical and cultural events for kids and grown-ups. Bouncy castles, a rock climbing wall, art exhibitions, coffee tastings and other activities add to the music performances ranging from soul and hip-hop to folk and rockabilly.
Umsonst & Draußen Würzburg, Mainaustraße 1, Würburg, Germany +49 9306 9855748
Dates: 10 – 12 August, 2018
Hamburg’s Eichbaum Lake provides the setting for the three-day long Wutzrock festival. Since 1979, the event has paired live music with poetry and theatre and has given a platform to political initiatives and organisations taking a stance against fascism and sexism. Both entrance and on-site camping are free of charge, and the annual line-up mainly consists of punk, rock, ska and reggae bands. The kids’ festival area involves all kinds of outdoor games, face painting, a bouncy castle and more.
Date: August / date TBC
Set in the countryside in Dornstadt, halfway between Stuttgart and Augsburg, the annual Obstwiesenfestival gathers more than 12,000 revellers for three days worth of indie, rock, pop and electronic music. Every year, the festival kicks off with a film night on Thursdays, followed by two jam-packed days of live performances by newcomer and established bands of all genres. Camping and parking are available for a small fee, as are food and drink on site.
Date: August / date TBC
Olgas Rock in Oberhausen is one of the biggest free rock festivals in Germany. For two days, indie, metal, electronica, pop, punk and rock bands lure some 20,000 guests to the Ruhrgebiet metropolis every year. The line-up is composed of international stars of the scene – last year the event saw the punk and ska giants Anti-Flag and Mad Caddies as headliners. Off-stage entertainment involved lots of yummy food, market stalls and bungee jumping.