Out of the 15 artists narrowed down from Reeperbahn 2021’s extensive programming, Cement Magazine managed to check out 6 performances from Lie Ning, Casper Clausen, Millie Turner, All We Are, Glauque, and Weval (shown in order above). Not bad, considering the festival was dealing with tight venue capacities due to the pandemic. However, that should be ending as Hamburg and other cities in Germany recently switched to 2G (geimpft / vaccinated and genesen / recovered) rules. This shift hopefully means the end of tough restrictions and masks inside music venues and clubs.

Tom Sachs: Rare Earths

Tom Sachs: Rare Earths

In addition to live music, there were a few exhibitions happening at the city’s vibrant museums and galleries. Most notably, the Tom Sachs: Rare Earths installation at Deichtorhallen (on view until 10 April 2022), surpassed expectations. A completely immersive experience, the show takes guests on a journey through capitalistic notions and ideologies. It’s highly recommended to visit the indoctrination centre and get a “visitor card.” That’s the only way to complete the rituals required for takeoff. To decompress after, head to the adjacent restaurant, Berliner Banhof.

Reeperbahn highlights

Anchor Award nominee Lie Ning gave incredible live shows at Reeperbahn. Even Eurovision celebrity Conchita Wurst turned up to give interviews at their Nochtspeicher show. Wurst also performed at the Anchor Awards show. In addition, Casper Clausen, Millie Turner, All We Are, Glauque, and Weval did not disappoint. Making for special moments, Clausen performed his last “Better Way” solo act, and Turner debuted new single, “Made a Vow.” Belgian French act, Glauque’s dynamic show was most surprising. Showing real versatility, their range goes well beyond the hip hop genre.

Große Freiheit 36, 2016

Pandemic challenges

Working with limited space, the festival dealt with unique challenges. At least two venues were cut from Reeperbahn 2021 – Docks and Große Freiheit 36. The owners of these spaces publicly expressed controversial views about COVID-19, causing the festival to make a hard choice. This placed extra pressure on other venues, which faced long queues and strict regulations. Although not an easy decision, the festival needed to take a stance and set an example for the future of live music. It’s also promising the 2G restrictions, mentioned above, went into effect on 25 September 2021.

Affenfaust Galerie

Hamburg’s vibrant art scene

Although it wasn’t possible to see all the shows highlighted, there were a lot of other things to see and do in Hamburg during the festival. In addition to the Tom Sachs: Rare Earths Exhibition, Cement Magazine checked out contemporary art on display at the Affenfaust Galerie, exhibitions at the Kunstverein, and an in-depth Beatles Walking Tour. The latter provided a nice moment to learn more about the city’s history and explore Paul-Roosen-Straße’s leftist vibe.