A guide to Kunstrasen 2021

Lea (21 August – two shows)

The omens are looking good that on 5th August Sven Regener will step behind the microphone on that fabled patch of parkland in Gronau to introduce German Rockers Element of Crime and get Kunstrasen 2021 underway in fine style.

It might not have the International punch of pre-Covid Festivals, and it’s inevitable that the big names are largely pushed on to 2022 (amazing work by promoter Ernst Ludwig Hartz for steering through what must have been a logistical nightmare at times).  Before you start looking for those tickets you already have for next years shows though, don’t dismiss the line-up for 2021.  Here is a guide to some of the music and musicians waiting keenly to step back before live audiences after the long live-music drought.  Hopefully there is something/someone that catches your eye in my preview, and apologies if I didn’t mention your particular favourite.  That’s what happens when pretty well something for everyone is on offer!

A mysterious one to start my preview:  Frontm3n (Peter Howarth, Pete Lincoln and Mick Wilson) are billed as vocalists for The Hollies, The Sweet and 10cc respectively, although you will have to look deep into the band biographies to find them.  Lincoln was also in a later incarnation of Sailor (remember ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’?) and Howarth played Roy Orbison for several years in the Musical ‘Only The Lonely’.  If I add that the three men met through being members of Cliff Richards Band, I think it would be safe to say that 30 August will be an interesting walk down memory lane for those Pop fans of a ‘certain age’ like me.

Whilst we are all dreaming of eating and drinking once more in the open air, Klassik Picnick will get hearts racing again for outdoor music in Summer sunshine.  The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn (BOB) will once again be offering the perfect music to help those cheese sandwiches and wine go down on 22 August.  It’s become a welcome ‘institution’ over the years at Kunstrasen, so don’t miss out and bring a blanket.  Wine-cooler is optional.

BOB Conductor/Director Dirk Kaftan in 2019

A good tip amongst the lesser-known names at Kunstrasen in 2021 is Indie folk-rockers Mighty Oaks (26 August).  The trio comprises of Ian Hooper (US), Claudio Donzelli (Italy) and Craig Saunders (UK).  Despite those international roots, they are available in these limited travel times through being based in Berlin.  Interestingly, Hooper recently appeared on the German TV programme ‘Sing Meinen Song‘ which is a popular show on Vox which the prestigious Stern magazine describes thus: “No heroes are born here, there are no tragic losers. One simply makes music for the sake of music”.  All very grand sounding, but I suspect the musicians are paid too, and that the resultant publicity has a positive effect on their music sales.  But whatever, even if, as Stern reveals, some of the emotion on the show is orchestrated, it is after all television. So long as the music is good, then all is good.

Helge Schneider is a popular ‘Deutscher Unterhaltungskünstler’.  For once the German description is actually a lot longer than the English equivalent, which in Schneiders case would be something like ‘German comedian, jazz musician, multi-instrumentalist, author, film/theatre director, and actor’.  Which, outside of playing for the German National football eleven, seems to encapsulate about everything imaginable.  Famous for live appearances that combine spectacle, parody and a sizeable chunk of Jazz, Schneider is someone non-Germans who nevertheless speak the language should be aware of, and Kunstrasen on 17 August would be a great place to start.

Vasiliki Papathanasiou probably won’t mean much to you, but her stage name Vicki Leandros will most likelyl ring some bells – especially if you are a Eurovision Song Contest fan.  Leandros came fourth in 1967 before winning in 1972 with Apres Troi (Come What May), which historically is certainly one of the better songs from the Contest and emanates from a time when the songs were actually the thing, rather than the dresses, dances or politics.  Vicky Leandros is a lady of some clout in Greece.  In 2006 she even tried mixing music with politics, briefly becoming a Deputy Mayoress in Greece, despite living in Germany from an early age. Don’t let her duet with ‘Hutch’ (David Soul) put you off.  The positives certainly outweigh the negative, with prestigious awards such as one from the Greek government for her promotion of Greek culture and music abroad,  and another from the Greek Orthodox Church for her work for poor children in Africa.  Visitors to Kunstrasen on 13 August will certainly be seeing a Greek Icon.  For Rockers out there who maybe find such musicians on the soft side I finish by mentioning that her ’70’s TV series ‘Ich Bin’ featured guest stars including Deep Purple.  Do not underestimate this Lady!


Rea Garvey gets a birds-eye view of his band from the camera tower in 2015

Irishman Rea Garvey last appeared at Kunstrasen in 2015.  I remember him climbing the sound-desk scaffolding during the show to sing in front of the lighting engineer.  I remember some excellent music too with a super backing band including Garvey’s sister Margaret, so the return visit is a welcome one.

In 2018 Lea was sandwiched between sets from Steal a Taxi and teen -heartthrob Vincent Weiss.  She put in a solid performance vocally and visually as I recall,.  Given her popularity in 2018, it’s not so surprising that tickets for her as top of the bill this year have sold well.  It is surprising though that sales have been so good that the evening one is a sell-out and that an afternoon concert has now been added.  Okay, not my age group musically, but certainly Lea has a batch of good pop songs and a good voice – I remember how much Joss Stone had changed between her two shows at Kunstrasen with several years apart.  It will be interesting to see what Lea has to offer in 2021.  One thing I can confidently predict is the sea of cellphones pointed in her direction the whole evening from excited hands of young fans.

Cellphone-frenzy for Lea at Kunstrasen in 2018

So I hope you’ve found someone you might want to hear from that introduction.  If not, take a look at the poster below…

And if the constantly changing live schedule has left you dazed and confused – there is a current schedule to print out HERE

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