Dusseldorf Dares You To Dance

Forget Berlin, Dusseldorf deserves to be on your musical travel map.

Charlie Amterby Charlie Amter

Conventional wisdom would have some believe Berlin is Germany’s most welcoming city, while Dusseldorf is one of the country’s snob strongholds. But in recent years Berlin has become perhaps just a shade less welcoming, more snobby and more expensive. Meanwhile, while Dusseldorf has become friendlier and busier, with cost of living expenses holding stead.

While the city famous for its fancy shopping strolls such as the Königsallee isn’t as much of an international music draw compared to Berlin or Hamburg, Dusseldorf is starting to hold its own, especially when it comes to electronic music. And why not? After all, this is the city where Kraftwerk started their career.

Already this year, Dusseldorf is off to a cracking start when it comes to music events in the city. In June, the 10th edition of Open Source Festival took place at Galopprennbahn Grafenberg, a horse racing track in the middle of the city surrounded by green trees and park-like features. The festival, though small (around 5,000 people), was a sellout and fans swooned to sounds by bands such as Death Cab For Cutie alongside DJs such as Berlin’s Laurel Halo. 

open-source-festival

Photo: Foto Schiko

And all summer long people from all over Germany have been dropping in on one of the country’s best open air parties that takes place every weekend, Kiesgrube. The club has hosted some of the best international DJ talents already this summer (think names like Seth Troxler) and will continue all summer long into the early fall, rain or shine.

But it’s not all club music in the ‘D,’ more family-friendly fun exists, too, and this month, the North Rhine-Westphalian city readies itself for the annual Größte Kirmes am Rhein, Dusseldorf’s biggest festival which takes place over nine days at the end of July. The festival was originally created in celebration of St Apollinaris, the patron saint of the city, and it now attracts over four million visitors every year. Think music, drink stalls (beer, naturally) and an impressive fireworks display on the Rhine River. 

kirmes-night

Photo: Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourism

But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of festivals slowly creeping over the city this summer and fall. In September, get ready for Dusseldorf’s Youth Culture festival where over 60 events ranging from experimental music, literature readings and dance performances to choir and orchestra concerts take place in and around Düsseldorf’s Old Town.

Also in September: the city’s cutting edge classical and theatre festival, the Dusseldorf Festival, celebrates in 25th anniversary featuring some big names (see website for details). 

new-fall-1

Photo: FotoSchiko

Then, in October, many locals are looking forward to the New Fall Festival where a slew of hotly tipped indie and electronic artists drop in on the city (names such as Norway’s buzzing Aurora alongside German acts such as Nettwerk recording artists Boy are both confirmed). Who needs Berlin’s attitude when you have plenty going on in a smaller, and perhaps friendlier, city like Dusseldorf?

Header: Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourism