Hurricane Festival

Hurricane Festival
Germany hosts a lot of music festivals, some of which can boast of a long history. One of the country’s oldest music festivals is the Hurricane Festival, often referred to as simply Hurricane. It has been held in the municipality of Scheeßel near Bremen since 1973.

The first rock festival in Scheeßel was held on September 8 and 9, 1973 under the name “Es rockt in der Heide” (literally “It’s rocking in the heath”). It featured world class rock musicians such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Chicago, Lou Reed and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. The attendance was about 52,000.

The next music festival in Scheeßel named “First Rider Open Air” was held four years later, on September 3 and 4, 1977. Unfortunately, it turned out a fiasco. Due to poor management, only five of the announced 23 bands could perform. Fans began to riot, causing damage of more than a million Deutsche Marks. After a huge scandal it was decided to discontinue the festival.

The Hurricane Festival in its modern form was established in 1997. It was organized by a local entrepreneur with the assistance of the city mayor and city administration. The event took place on June 21 and 22, 1997 and featured Rammstein, INXS and Bad Religion as headliners and a total of 36 bands performing on two stages.

The inaugural Hurricane Festival attracted about 20,000 attendees. Although it wasn’t profitable, the organizers deemed it a success and decided to make the Hurricane Festival an annual affair. In 2008, it was expanded from two to three days. Its attendance has been constantly growing ever since the inception. For example, the 2008 Hurricane Festival attracted about 75,000 attendees from all over Germany and abroad. The festival is held at the Eichenring, a motorcycle speedway track located east from Scheeßel.

Over the years, the Hurricane Festival has featured hundreds of famous musicians and bands. Past performers at Hurricane include Bastille, Ed Sheeran, Dropkick Murphys, Franz Ferdinand, Tom Odell, Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Ros, David Bowie, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Blink-182, Mumford & Sons, Sum 41, Massive Attack, Tegan and Sara, The Prodigy, Gogol Bordello, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Chemical Brothers, and more. Originally a rock festival, it now encompasses other genres such as pop and EDM.

Hurricane has a sister festival. The Southside Festival, also known as simply Southside, has been held since 1999 near the town of Tuttlingen. The two festivals run concurrently and have similar line-ups.


Photo: Norbert W.




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