If the sudden heatwave left Bonn’s inhabitants and visitors with no doubt that Summer has now arrived in force then the next news will: The Stadtgarten Season 2019 will soon be underway at Alten Zoll.
Friday 2 August sees the curtain go up on one of the most beautiful and most popular free music festivals in Germany. By the end of August, 28 bands will have played to up to 2000 people per evening, picnicking on the nearby grass verge or dancing before the stage. With its motto of ‘Umsonst & Draussen’ (outdoors & free), The Alten Zoll stage will once again be a popular place for young and old to while away balmy Summer evenings.
Goethe himself praised the area in Bonn around Alten Zoll – and now you get not only the view he loved but a beer-garden nearby and free live music. The great Man only knew the half of it! Here’s a crib-sheet, run-down, quick n easy for what’s coming Bonn’s way.
There’s a musical partnership between Chengdu in China and Bonn (maybe you caught some of it at Marktplatz earlier this Summer?) Our representatives for the trip to Chengdu were local band The Blackberries and singer Milene. These bands have been chosen to kick-off the season on 2 August.
On Saturday 3 August Waldeck Leczkowski’s Orange Fusion with Albert N’sanda will raise the curtain on music from JazzTube ahead of its official start on 23 August at local subway stations, before Bonn Harmonie introduces Bayerischen Band Loisach Marci. The latter band are described as somewhere between Bayerischer Traditional, Blues, HipHop and Electrobeat, so there should be something there to make everyone happy!
Friday 9 August will be Lady’s Day, ‘Frauen-Power’ to be exact. I still recall a mesmerizing performance by Local Band Rapture at Bonn Harmonie not so long ago, so they are well recommended with their enthusiastic style of Rock/RnB/Reggae. Frollein Smolla will round off the evening with a mix of Soul and Jazz. Pirate Choirs and Accordion sounds are also promised. What’s a pirate choir? Be there and find out me hearties!
Saturday 10 August belongs to Musiknetzwerk Bonn who has invited singer-songwriter Maren Schlicht to Alten Zoll. Sign in Rossa will be next up with a pop/soul set before 2018 Toys2Masters winners Wildfire rock out. Rounding off a busy evening will be Cologne Pop band Helga Weiss.
The Kultursekretariat NRW will be providing the music on Friday 16 August and it will be a truly global affair. Pulsar Trio World Jazz and the curiously named Rumanian Soul band ZMEI 3 (relatives of C3PO?) will entertain with a mix of Folklore, Jazz and Soul.
Saturday 17 August belongs to Bonn Jaz-Pop duo Jule & Uwe with an evening curiously titled for British ears – ‘New Krauts from the River Rhine’. If you think you’ve seen Jule before then you probably have, singing with sister Cynthia Nickschas in Bad Godesberg recently for instance. Cbus follow with ‘Rheinischem Surf’n’Roll’ before Dead Man’s Eyes round off the evening. Some interesting names in there. If the music lives up to them it should be a curious but enjoyable evening!
23 August will be Musikstation & Popcamp day with Bonn Indie-Rockers WESTND, popular singer-songwriter Ijaz Ali from Bad Hönningen, Gin Red (chosen as the publics favourite band at Toys2Masters 2018) and finally, Melchi. What can one say about the charismatic balladeer from Cameroon? This young gentleman first appeared on the streets busking here in Bonn and quickly moved up to an appearance at Bonn Folk Club before moving further up at Bonn Harmonie – the sky really is the limit, and everyone who sees/hears Melchi seems to become a fan – his music is THAT infectious!
24 August and Bonn’s Consulting & Coaching organization PopCamp chooses the music from its young musicians. HipHop/Rock fusionists Floatiz kick things off followed by Hannovarians Jeremias before Kölsch Surfpoppers Planschemalöör bring the evening to a close.
Finally, here we are at the final Friday/Saturday of the Season. I’m feeling sad just thinking of the Season closing already, but it promises to be a great finale once again, with a band mix chosen by Institut Francais and JazzTube. Starting off on 30 August with that curiously named ‘Krautrock’ style mentioned earlier. This time the band is MT Wizard who, having been formed in 1969, will be bringing a long history of the genre to Alten Zoll. Institut Francais will be presenting Missine+Tripstoic who are tagged as playing ‘Tripoprock’ (check out the Tripoprock section at Mr Music if you are unfamiliar with this – I’m trusting Mr Music’s Mr Gelhausen to have that genre covered… 🙂
So here we are at the final evening of Stadtgarten 2019. If there has been a lot of chance-taking with young new talent throughout the previous weeks, the organizer Hans-Joachim Over has taken no chances with his final evening’s selection. On 31 August. Christian Padberg has been popular on the local circuit for some time now as Dad’s Phonkey and will surely get the evening off to a perfect start before top Bonn Jazz Band Jin Jim present their latest CD ‘Weisse Schatten’ (White Shadows) that has seen them gain recognition internationally as a top Jazz-Rock combo.
To close out this year’s festival on the 31st, we will have the privilege of hearing one of the areas most innovative Jazz musicians as Marcus Schinkel with Voyager IV brings his ‘My Pictures at an Exhibition’ CD to the live stage. Inspired by Emerson Lake & Palmer, Schinkel and his talented dutch colleagues are likely to surprise and delight in equal measure with their Jazz/Rock crossover style. The album was produced by Jon Caffery who has also carried out production duties for German Cult-Rockers DieToten Hosen. I suspect this will be a record-breaker attendance-wise at Alten Zoll – weather permitting of course. I can’t vouch for the certainty of dry evenings in August, but I can vouch for great music. Goethe will be kicking himself for dying in 1832 and missing the fun!