2018 sees the 7th season of concerts down by the Rhine in Bonn. Since Lou Reed strode stern-faced onto the stage to greet 1500 fans in 2012 there have been turbulent times for the Kunst!Rasen promoters. Thankfully the concerts have weathered a few walks on the wild side from complaining neighbours and things are at least less turbulent going into the 2018 Season than they have been in recent years. That means bookings can be made well in advance – and this week saw a press conference to share the results so far. With only half of the dates finalized though there will be lots more to come for sure.
The football World Cup has quite a knock-on effect where live events are concerned internationally. Not surprisingly this is particularly so in Germany, where matches well beyond the Group stages are expected from Joachim Löw’s men. Kunst!Rasen promoter Ernst-Ludwig Hartz reported at the conference that it’s not unusual for band’s not to tour at such times. The good news though is that for every band not wanting to come to the Rhineside next Summer, there are many more who want to be there: “We’ve had more requests to play here than ever before. Kunst!Rasen has a great reputation as an open-air concert site throughout the World” revealed Hartz who is hoping for around 50.000 visitors in total next Summer.
So, enough talk, what can we expect? There are 15 concerts planned but to date only eight have been made public. Kicking off (football again?) the open-air season on 29 June will be 19 year old Lina. A young lady already basking in success as a film star after 4 blockbusting Bibi Blocksberg movies (the last of these making first place in the German film chart).
On 30 June there is a double concert that should warm the hearts of brass band lovers (no, not of the Salvation Army type) with LaBrassBanda and Querbeat. judging by the enthusiastic smiles on the faces of Querbeat’s Philipp Mull und Carlos Kurschilgen who were present at the press conference FUN will be writ large for the audience. “Maybe both band’s will play onstage together even?” asked Ernst-Ludwig Hartz hopefully. You will have to be there to find out!
For many in Bonn July is the only time of the year when they hear a large orchestra, for others it will be a first introduction to the music that put Bonn on the map with it’s illustrious son Mr Beethoven – Klassik!Piknick is back on 1 July. The programme for 2018 and theme are not yet finalized but it’s expected that Beethoven Orchestra Bonn’s (BOB) new Musical Director Dirk Kaftan will be wielding the baton for a programme offering something for everyone and FREE! I’ve been there in sunshine and in rain. The weather might change, but the relaxed Summer atmosphere never does.
12 July sees Wincent Weiss on the big stage, thanks in no small part to his 2016 hit “Musik Sein”. The youngster can only dream though at the moment of being as influential musically as 17 July’s visitor: Steven Wilson. In a career of over thirty years Kingston-Upon-Thames born Steven Wilson’s honours include four Grammy nominations (two with the band Porcupine Tree) and three wins at the Progressive Music Awards in London. Proclaimed by some who should know as “The King of Prog Rock”. Is Wilson a worthy Monarch? See for yourself on 17 July – but hurry as tickets are sure to go fast for this one.
Tickets have ALREADY sold like hot cakes for Die Fantastischen Vier. In fact they are expected to be sold out by Christmas – so ask your favourite Auntie to get a ticket for your Christmas present and buy your own woollen socks in the January Sale.
A favourite for me this year will be the return of Jim Kerr with his wonderful band Simple Minds on 25 July . If the last appearance here is anything to go by it will be a day for classic rock sounds and classic songs like the multi-million selling ‘Don’t you forget about me’ A mix of the old hits and new material from the latest ‘Walk Between Worlds’ disc is promised. Bonn music fans will also be pleased to hear that Fischer-Z who appeared not so long ago in Bonn at Rockpalast will be supporting.
Moop Mama & Bukahara on 16 August together with Freundeskreis (19 August) round off the present list of shows but that is, literally, only half the story. With 15 shows planned, keep watching 3songsbonn.com for updates and remember, as always, the future of top concerts in Bonn lies not with the promoter, not with the musicians, but with YOU the music fans. Nothing will happen if no-one buys tickets and goes to the shows.
Two popular attractions at Kunst!Rasens past are unfortunately not happening this year. The Classic Rock Night (past bands have included Deep Purple, Dream Theater and Alice Cooper) isn’t possible – the World Cup being a contributing factor to getting enough top rockers in one place at the same time.
Bad news also for those who valued the ‘little’ local stage around the corner from the giant one. Kunst!Garten is sadly no more. Renewal of the five year contract held for gastronomy on the site was rejected. A sad story for local musicians as this was a perfect place to play and also a sad story for people out to enjoy the Summer sunshine with a cool drink and music. It’s a sad fact that Bonn seems geared musically towards an older generation where music is supported, but Martin Nötzel and Katrin Weinreis of Kunst!Rasen GmbH were still optimistic at Wednesday’s press conference that a new site might be found. Let’s hope they are right.
So, ladies and gentlemen, sunshine and music lovers, Summer 2018 awaits – If you want top live music to stay in Bonn, from 23 June to 23 August get ready to take a walk on the Rhine-side!
Check HERE for the latest Kunst!Rasen programme updates