Statement Reeperbahn Festival 2021

Dear Reeperbahn Festival attendees,

we are keenly aware of your criticism towards the execution of certain aspects of the festival, especially in regards to long queue times at the venues, and we take it very seriously.

First of all, we would like to apologize to all those who didn’t have a positive festival experience and who missed most or even all of the shows due to admission stops – we know some of you came from far away.

This is not the result we strived for, which is why we ran an internal error analysis and gathered your most frequent complaints. We’d like to address them in this statement.

  1. Capacities:

We planned this year's – in many respects until the very end notoriously difficult to estimate – edition with a maximum capacity utilization of 80% of the total capacity already reduced by 3G and included two large open air venues (DRAUSSEN IM GRÜNEN & ARTE Concert Stage) in the program.

Additionally, acts that were expected to draw bigger crowds were scheduled to perform multiple shows this year, so that visitors had several opportunities to see them. Unfortunately, we had to realize that this concept did not harness the desired results. This gives the impression that we sold more tickets than we had capacity, which was not the case. Although some clubs were full, there were venues with greater capacities which unfortunately remained only half full despite a strong program.

We have to admit: The rush toward the shows at the indoor clubs took us by surprise regarding the great popularity of the open air stages last year and the ongoing pandemic. As soon as we noticed this, we tried to use the app to direct the streams of visitors to venues which still had plenty of capacity - unfortunately we were not very successful.

Buying a ticket only to end up seeing only one or even none of the shows you came for is extremely frustrating. This is absolutely understandable.

  1. Delegate lanes:

Many attendees remarked that the problem with long queue times and admission stops was considerably exacerbated by the preferential admission of delegate pass holders. During the course of the festival, we had partially reduced delegates lanes, because, unlike during "normal years", they didn’t work well everywhere due to low capacities. However, we would like to ask for your understanding and to take a moment to explain the idea behind the delegate passes:

  • Delegates are professional attendees who visit the Reeperbahn Festival work reasons. Because the RBF is the largest international music platform in Europe, artists in facht work actively on their careers here. Delegates are employees of record companies, booking agencies, management, music publishers, music distributors, online platforms, etc., whose job it is to scout certain acts in order to make decisions about future collaborations - which, after all, is in the greatest interest of the performing bands and artists. This also partly includes press representatives who are there to report about certain bands and artists.
  • Delegate lanes at the venues have the sole purpose of ensuring that these professional visitors are allowed to do their work. For this reason, we keep a small contingency of spots reserved at the shows. This contingency is usually set for from the start and ideally has no impact on the overall capacity of a venue. However, we must admit that this didn't wasn’t managed well this year.

  1. Why not 2G?

During the lead-up to the event, we had stated in numerous interviews that we would very much have liked apply a 2G policy to the event. When this opportunity presented itself by means of the 50th Containment Ordinance at the end of August, we thoroughly examined all of the concrete options associated with this in regard to our event in consultation with the responsible health authority. As a result, it was determined that compliance with the requirements associated with the 2G option for such a complex and international event as the Reeperbahn Festival with the given preparation time was not possible, which is why we were ultimately only able to go with a 3G policy.

To be clear: 3G implementation entailed considerable additional efforts for us in terms of the creation of individual hygiene concepts for each venue, along with considerably greater personnel expenditure such as security, stage technology and cleaning – while considerably lowering capacities.

We have understood your critique and will do a much better job in the future. We nevertheless hope that our statement helps you understand some of the circumstances a little better. You can of course still send any other complaints directly to us:

We truly hope that this was the last pandemic edition for now and that next year we’re finally able to celebrate all the best new acts together again at the Reeperbahn Festival, without social distancing!


*Additions from 30.09.2021

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