Vintage Car and Rock'n'Roll Festival Why are the Rheinbach Classics 2023 cancelled?

The Rheinbach Classics 2023 are cancelled. The organisers are not commenting on the reasons for the cancellation. However, according to GA information, one important reason spoke for the popular festival not taking place this year.

Why are the Rheinbach Classics 2023 cancelled?​
Foto: Matthias Kehrein

For almost 20 years, the Rheinbach Classics have been a crowd puller. Up to 20,000 classic car enthusiasts not only from the region, but from all over Germany and the Benelux countries visit the town on the Classics weekend. The motto "Music, Engines, Petticoats" sets the tone: a journey back in time to the 1950s; beautiful cars for which fuel consumption was not yet decisive, rock'n'roll on every street corner and nostalgic fashion. The town, the shops and the gastronomy show themselves from their best side. In short: a Rheinbach success story.

Last year, after the forced break due to Corona and the flood, there was talk of a successful new start. Now the Rheinbach Classics are taking a break again. The classic car spectacle, which was to take place from 16 to 18 June, will not take place. This was confirmed to the General-Anzeiger by Lars Prior, spokesman of the Rheinbach Classics association. He did not want to comment on the reasons for the cancellation. He said that the board would comment on the matter next week.

According to the General-Anzeiger, the organisers, who work on a voluntary basis, feel that the financial risk is too great in view of the price increases for energy, personnel, fences and stage equipment. The price increases are also the reason why potential sponsors are holding back. Because they, too, smaller and larger donors, do not yet know what sums they would have available to support the big event.

There is a possible deficit of 70,000 Euro

As a result, it was difficult for the association to calculate and it would have faced a huge deficit if it had gone ahead with the Classics this year as planned. The amount in question is possibly up to 70,000 Euro. In addition, there were supply bottlenecks, for example with construction fences or toilet containers.

Initially, visitors were asked to pay an entrance fee, which caused criticism from time to time, but in the end the organisers refrained from doing so. The popular classic car parade on Sunday had to be cancelled in 2022 because of the risk of corona infection.

At the Classics last year, the city was full of visitors. Many of them were already recognisable as nostalgics by their clothing: the ladies with ponytails and dotted or colourful flowered dresses, the men with pomaded hairstyles, ankle-length trousers and eye-catching colourful braces. Those who were not yet suitably equipped could stock up on everything at the nostalgia market, be it clothes or accessories in the style of the time.

Hoping for the Rheinbach Classics next year

Many customers also took the opportunity to complete their summer wardrobe or to benefit from special offers in the shops that were open for business. The cafés, ice cream parlours and outdoor restaurants were well attended. The bands spread throughout the city centre ensured a good mood with their live music. For the children, there was entertainment with clowns and magicians on the Old Town Square.

The former mayor of Rheinbach, Stefan Raetz, is not a member of the board of the Rheinbach Classics association, but he is a member of the organising team. He thinks it is "a great pity that this successful event has to be cancelled". But it is right that the board takes the general conditions into account and does not take financial risks. "It is better that we go into the planning for the Classics 2024 well prepared and financially secure," said Raetz. Because then the nostalgic spectacle should once again attract thousands of classic car enthusiasts to Rheinbach according to the proven successful concept.


Music Legends in Rheinbach

The word "legends" is often overused. But if you look at the list of artists who have taken the stage at the Rheinbach Classics in the past almost years, this description applies to many. For BAP and Wolfgang Niedecken, the performance on the Himmeroder Wall was almost a home game. Niedecken went to school at the Rheinbach Konvikt St. Albert in the 1960s and played there in the bands The Convicts and Goin' sad. That was a long time ago. Needless to say, the concert was completely sold out.

The always hoarse Bonnie Tyler sang her world hits "It's a Heartache" and "Lost in France" in Rheinbach. The glam rock of the early 1970s also went down well. Unforgettable Slade with singer and guitarist Dave Hill, who, at an estimated height of 1.60 metres, also desperately needed the boots with the high platform soles. Sweet guitarist Andy Scott presented himself rather chubby, the T-shirt was a bit baggy and the blond wig looked strange, but the old Sweet hits like "Fox on the Run" still ignited.

Not to forget Albert Hammond with "It never rains in Southern California" or Suzie Quatro, Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Foreigner.

Original text: Hans-Peter Fuss / Translation: Mareike Graepel

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