Interview Bonn The Fantastischen Vier, Kraftwerk and Robbie Williams were to perform on the Hofgartenwiese grounds in Bonn this summer but the concerts have been moved to 2022. Organizer Ernst-Ludwig Hartz talks about the postponements, the planning and the general situation in the industry in an interview. Here are some excerpts.
There are new dates for the big concerts at Hofgartenwiese, the grounds in front of the University of Bonn. On May 13, 2022, Die Fantastischen Vier will perform at 7 p.m. (instead of June 11 of 2021)), Kraftwerk on May 14, 2022, at 9 p.m. (instead of June 12 of 2021), and a new date for the Robbie Williams concert, which was scheduled for June 13, 2021, will be announced soon, says organizer Ernst-Ludwig Hartz.
The Hofgarten concerts will be postponed again this year. Why?
Ernst-Ludwig Hartz: Due to the ongoing ban on large-scale events in June, we unfortunately have to postpone the concerts at the Hofgartenwiese once again - this time to May 2022. The most important thing is the health and safety of our concertgoers, musicians and staff. They continue to be our top priority.
Concerts in Cologne, on the KunstRasen and on Grafenwerth Island are also being postponed. You've been in the industry for more than 40 years, and have never experienced a situation like this before. How are you feeling after a year of constant postponements and cancellations?
Hartz: There has never been anything like this in the 44 years that I have been organizing concerts and festivals. The situation is really getting to us - for the past year we've just been busy rescheduling events - some for the fourth time. That really hurts.
The open-air concert series in front of the beautiful backdrop of Bonn University was conceived as a grand celebration in 2020 for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. In 2022, the original reason for having the concerts will be two years in the past. You would probably not celebrate your big birthday two years later either...
Hartz: No, not really, that's just force majeure. But unlike my birthday, there are emotions and expectations of many thousands of fans attached to it. Do you want to disappoint them all and say: Sorry, the birthday party for Beethoven is cancelled and with it the beautiful concerts? For the Fantastischen Vier, the anniversary is 30 + 2, for Kraftwerk 50 + 2. And that's exactly how the fans will celebrate it.
What do you think will happen to the industry?
Hartz: I think there will be noticeable changes in the branch of event planning. Some people in the industry will give up and do something else because they don't have the staying power needed to get through it all. The real problem is that no one knows when things will pick up again.
Are such large events with 25,000 visitors on the Hofgartenwiese or festivals with 50,000, 100,000 people really realistic in the foreseeable future?
Hartz: I think that large events with up to 10,000 to 25,000 visitors should be feasible again next year. Whether this will also be possible for multi-day large festivals with 60,000 to 80,000 visitors, I can't imagine - with the state of knowledge today. We will only do our events if the safety and health of our concert visitors, musicians and staff is assured - whether with rapid tests or vaccination.
When will you start with your smaller concerts?
Hartz: At the moment, of course, our club concerts are also rescheduled, the first event we are planning since Mitch Ryder's concert on March 8, 2020 at the Harmonie and Lloyd Cole at the Pantheon is on June 2 with the singer and guitarist of New Model Army, Justin Sullivan, at the Freideck/Open Air of the Kantine in Cologne. After that, we are planning more club concerts starting in mid-September.
What a nice surprise. New Model Army was supposed to play two anniversary concerts at the Cologne Palladium last year. Will they be rescheduled?
Hartz: The two concerts for the 40th anniversary of our friends from New Model Army should take place on December 17/18 at the Palladium in Cologne. And in case this should not be possible, they will be moved again to December 2022. NMA's Christmas concerts enjoy absolute cult status among fans.
Orig. text: Dylan Cem Aklin