Every year at the beginning of May Hamburg celebrates the biggest harbor festival in the world. The festival is opened and closed by a spectacular parade of over 300 ships of all sizes and ages. From the HafenCity to the Fish Auction Hall, the six kilometer (3.7 mile) long “Hafenmeile” offers the festival’s million visitors everything from culinary specialties (and beer aplenty) to stands selling arts and crafts, live music concerts, and dragon boat races. Ships from all over the world welcome visitors on board, tugboats perform ballet, and fireworks light the night skies.
The three day long 48h Wilhelmsburg festival that takes place on the Elbe island of Wilhelmsburg is all about music. The island itself becomes a stage and music is played everywhere, from concert venues to museums, from churches to art ateliers, from squares to street corners. The local and international musicians represent numerous cultures as well as professional levels, covering a wide range of musical styles: folk, indie, jazz, soul, rock, reggae, avant garde, classical, world music, and more.
The street festival of the Sternschanze district – the Schanzenfest – doesn’t have a set time of the year and its date is rarely announced in advance. Just like the district it represents, the Schanzenfest is lefty and alternative, taking a stand against capitalism and commercialization. During the daylight hours the district invites for a lively day of eating and drinking, flea market shopping and enjoying street art and alternative music performances. But be advised against staying after nightfall as the traditional close of the festival sees clashes between police and radical left groups.
In the middle of the summer the multicultural Altona district hosts Altonale, Hamburg’s largest street festival. Its diverse program of movie, theater, art, literature, music and dance events lasts for over two weeks and culminates with a weekend of markets and music. Visitors browse unique items at the flea market, admire paintings at the art market, find a special treat at the medieval market, and enjoy the festive atmosphere created by the bustling crowds and live music on every corner.
The Altonale is introduced by the STAMP Festival of international street arts. Under the tagline “the street arts melting pot,” every year STAMP showcases over 1,000 street artists from more than 10 countries. The streets of Altona become a stage to a vibrant mix of urban artists, performance dancers, jugglers, parade troupes, street theaters, and other artists. The festival’s highlights are the opening night parade with amazing fire shows and the colorful STAMP parade that closes the festival weekend.
Every August the Uhlenhorst and Winterhude districts celebrate Dat Uhlenfest. A newcomer to Hamburg’s street festival scene, the Uhlenfest has quickly gained popularity and for a good reason: it has everything that a good street festival needs. The area of Hofweg and Papenhuder Straße becomes an entertainment mile with a gourmet market, a design market and the obligatory flea market. Live music stages showcase musicians and street artists, and a children’s stage entertains the young festival guests.
The end of the summer is celebrated by the four day long Alstervergnügen festival that takes place around the Lake Alster. The locals and city guests are welcomed to sample food and beverages from the countless stalls and enjoy live performances and diverse attractions. Over 500 local and international artists and performers entertain on the festival’s four stages, and the culmination of each day is a magnificent firework show over the lake.