You had to get there early for a good place on the grass beside the Stadtgarten Stage. Perfect weather for a picnic with free music was on offer on both Friday courtesy of Die Musikstation and Saturday courtesy of PopCamp. Seven bands in two nights, so there really was something for everyone, and if a band didn’t catch your attention then there was always a chance to sunbathe or share a bottle of wine with friends. Bonn Summer Magic was indeed in the air!
World jazz with JMO, and Rumanian folk/jazz with Ler.che. Certainly, there was no danger that it would be an evening of music you’ve heard a million times before. Given the high standard of concerts already at Stadtgarten this year, the only certainty was that it would be well played.
For many people in Bonn, particularly teenagers and students, the Stadtgarten season at Alten Zoll is already an institution. An extension almost of the numerous teenagers often seen and heard in the shade of the University trees strumming guitars as the sun goes down. I’m sure that opening act in 2018, Cynthia Nickschas, has been one of those strummers. This time around though she had an audience of well over 2000 picnicking on the grass beside her. French electro Folkies Fergessen, Indie-Rockers Koj and Jazz quartet Radius completed the opening weekend of music under the setting sun.
Bonn’s Alten Zoll isn’t the only place near the University that workmen have been frantically re-constructing. Last week saw the Stadtgarten concert stage arising from the ash of the boules courtyard next to the Biergarten and last night saw the first concert of the new season with Belgian band The Herfsts and Bonn’s own Steal a Taxi on hand to ease the stress of a hard week’s work.
A new highlight for me last year in Bonn was the excellent free concert programme put together by Bonn’s own Rock- & Pop Beauftragter Hans-Joachim Over. Audiences went into the 1000 plus category, and there was certainly magic in the air for the final show with Cynthia Nickshas. I was especially pleased then when this week saw the press conference for this years StadtgartenSeason at Bonn’s Alten Zoll.
The 2016 season sees an excellent mix of established local acts and exciting International ones that should offer something for pretty well everybody , there’s no Gothic Heavy Metal on the list, or Viking Norse Rock (and yes I made the last one up!) but there is ‘Free Music’. Not sure what that is for a category, but it will start this years season on 5 August when the Dutch band Aligaga are in town. I certainly aim to be there for the evening because one of my favourite Bonn Bands will be headlining the evening – Steal A Taxi with Makeda fresh from her success on the big stage appearing in Bodyguard in Cologne.
Steal A Taxi (5 August)
I’m also looking forward to catching the 20 August Blues Night. On the Bill is Bill, Mr Baum and his Bluesbenders that is. Always a pleasure to hear Bill’s Harp player Uwe Placke in action too.
Anika Auweiler (3 Sept)
For the youngsters there will be last year’s Toys2Masters winning band TIL and for the, ahem, somewhat olders, like me there is an open air Sixties United. No word of the line-up for this but I’m hoping Sticky Fingers will be in it. Like me, go along and find out. Jazz fans will want to catch successful local ‘Future Sounds’ winners JinJim and Miao-Mio headgirl Anika Auweiler will be appearing on 3 September along with French-Poetic Rock from Laura Cahen to end what should be a magic season by the Rhine in fine style. Did I mention these wonderful concerts are free admission? There is a God after all!