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“Get used to surprises again”

Caroline Rose is standing on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.

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“Get used to surprises again”

Caroline Rose is standing on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The blonde singer wears red trousers with a red jacket and red Jordans. She's waiting for an audition, as she reveals to the cameraman, slightly excited. Her phone rings and her manager asks where she is staying. She is expected in Hollywood, Florida. Gone stupid.

A few curses later, Rose decides to make a virtue out of necessity and starts walking the stars on the Walk of Fame. This is how the music video for her new title "Feel The Way I Want" begins, in which she keeps dancing, over highways and forests, through cities and the Arizona desert, through diners and supermarkets, to the beaches of California, through day and night.

Rose will soon be on her way to the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. There the singer, who writes her songs herself, will play two of the 330 concerts. They will take place over four days from September 21st to 24th - on Friday in the Mojo Club on the Reeperbahn and on Saturday in the resonance room in the bunker on Feldstrasse - as part of this year's America focus.

In addition to Rose, visitors to the largest club festival in Europe can get to know three other talents from the USA: the pop singer Blu de Tiger, the soul singer Charlie Burg and the singer/songwriter Willy Mason. 35,000 to 40,000 visitors are expected - including around 3,000 trade visitors. The festival has established itself as one of the most important industry gatherings worldwide.

In addition to the four artists, the focus on America in the public program includes the production of an episode of the podcast "America, we have to talk" by Ingo Zamperoni, "Tagesthemen" moderator and former US correspondent. US Ambassador Amy Gutmann will open the festival together with Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) and the jury for the “Anchor” festival prize will once again be headed by US producer Tony Visconti.

Behind the scenes, visitors from the United States swarm. Several umbrella organizations of the US music industry, labels, managers, event organizers and, via the German-American Chamber of Commerce with support from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, 30 entrepreneurs from New York are guests.

The media figureheads of the festival are top-class. The musical evening program of the opening in the Stage Operettenhaus will be performed by the Ukrainian rapper and anchor winner of 2019, Alyona Alyona. Jan Delay, Zoe Wees, Natalia Klitschko and Ellie Goulding also appear. The ensemble of the musical "Hamilton", which will have its German premiere at the Stage Operettenhaus at the beginning of October, gives an insight into the production.

Other highlights of the festival are the concerts in the Elbphilharmonie with Anna Calvi, Joy Crookes, Mine and Warhaus. There are concerts in almost all clubs on and around the Reeperbahn and in the Festival Village on the Heiligengeistfeld. The English singer/songwriter Dylan, for example, plays in the mirror tent of the Village. There is also the interface to the visual arts with the exhibition "(In) Between", which shows digital record covers from the pandemic years, and the Arts Playground.

There are 200 programs for trade visitors, with around 350 experts. The "sessions" will start with a conversation between Senator for Culture Carsten Brosda (SPD) and pianist Igor Levit, who will discuss the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The series includes talks on music business areas such as "Live Entertainment" and "Recorded Music", on the dubbing rights business and on the short video format as a marketing tool. It's not just about pop and rock music, but also about classical music. A small focus on Ukraine highlights the effects of the war on the country's cultural life and identity.

Reeperbahn Managing Director Alexander Schulz is optimistic about the first full edition of the festival after 2019. "There are no longer any direct negative effects of the pandemic," says Schulz, "but we are clearly feeling the indirect consequences in many areas, which mix with the effects that the war triggered.”

All of the clubs in St. Pauli survived the pandemic, but many were in financial trouble because catering sales had fallen sharply, Schulz said, although many had catch-up games in the summer. From the festival's point of view, too, it is "a challenge to hold the events at all, because we have to equip 35 to 40 venues with backlines and at least with lighting and sound technology at the same time. There are 40 percent of the providers no longer there, there is a lack of both personnel services and the material. ”These were freelancers, the self-employed and small medium-sized companies who switched during the pandemic because there were no events.

You hear different tones today from the clubs that spread conspiracy theories during the lockdown times. The Große Freiheit and the Kaiserkeller have distanced themselves from their statements in the Corona crisis. However, they will not be there again until the 2023 festival, because the current edition was already planned at the time they gave in. How things will continue with the docks is an open question for Alexander Schulz. The manager of the Reeperbahn Festival points out that the landlord is the municipal Spinkenhof and has a say in the cultural offerings of the tenant.

Ticket sales for the Reeperbahn Festival fell by around a third compared to 2019, and the number of concerts was reduced in line with demand. "From October to March we sold practically no tickets, since May sales have been completely normal again, but we lost the base we used to have and can't catch up," explains Schulz.

Looking at the concerts, he notes that newcomers from Europe and Great Britain are once again flocking to the festival in large numbers. He is happy about the young talents and advises: "Don't just spend your money on headliners. Get used to the fact that we can surprise you again.”

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