Magnetometer metal detectors are now compulsory at the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock in what is fast becoming "standard practice" in the US
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
Stefan Reichmann says growing security measures in Germany are at risk of sinking festival
By Rhian Jones on 16 Aug 2016
Haldern Pop Managing Director Stefan Reichmann has raised concerns over the ever-stricter security measures in Germany after the 14th sold-out edition of his boutique festival this weekend in its 33rd year.
Around 7,000 music fans visited Haldern – a small village in Germany’s Lower Rhine region – with acts including Michael Kiwanuka, Izzy Bizu, Rationale, Jason Isbell, Yak and Daughter on the bill.
Keeping the capacity low while making a profit is a tricky balance thanks to the costs of security, says Reichmann.
Alongside a growing premium on artist booking fees, the costs have Reichmann unsure about how long the event will continue to run. Ticket prices rose from under €100 to €114 this year.
“We’ve run this festival for 33 years and nothing has happened, yet the security codes are growing in the same direction as the fees of the bands. When that happens I think something is going wrong.”
“We’ve run this festival for 33 years and nothing has happened, yet the security codes are rising in the same direction as the fees of the bands. When that happens I think something is going wrong,” he says.
“I went to Kilbi Festival in Switzerland this year which was beautifully organised, but they didn’t have as many police and security as us. In the end, when you can only make a good festival in a football stadium because you can’t pay for everything, I think music will lose something.”
Despite the challenges, the secret to the Haldern’s success is character, according to Reichmann.
“I think Haldern is completely different to other festivals, it’s not a hipster festival, and it’s not caged in by genre or generation,” he says.
“We start in the morning with a choir in the church in the middle of the village and then people move on to the festival grounds in the afternoon. When it comes to booking the line-up, I’m not interested in chart acts, it’s just important that bands have energy and love what they do.”
Reichmann now has his sights set on growing the reputation of Haldern Pop’s Italian counterpart, Kaltern Pop.
The festival will take place for the second time in Bolzano from 13-15 October, and holds promise as an exclusive family-friendly event that’s in high demand. There’s no camping, and venues are within walking distance of each other.
With only 1,000 tickets available, Reichmann aims to create a unique place enjoyed by artists, agents and fans alike. Acts on the line-up this year include Bear’s Den, Sophie Hunger and Chad Lawson.
“It takes place in a small village that’s similar to Haldern and we like to book strong voices and surprising acts from all over the world,” Reichmann explains.
“My plan is that in three years you’ll need a strong network to get a ticket for Kaltern Pop and it won’t be easy for the musicians and agents to secure one of the 22 spots on the bill.”
“My plan is that in three years you’ll need a strong network to get a ticket for this festival and it won’t be easy for the musicians and agents to secure one of the 22 spots on the bill.
“In future I want agents to come with their children, stay here in the morning, have a beautiful breakfast by the lake and play a bit of sport.
“In the afternoon you can go to the monastery to see a band and in the evening the after show party has a crazy band from New York City. It starts with a choir and ends with Frank Zappa!
“I think it could be a place for people that really fall in love with quality.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.