Jubelnde Menschenmasse vor der Bühne am Hauptmarkt


A classic among the open-air festivals

Photo: Felix
Photo: Felix
Photo: Felix
Photo: Niklas

Every year, in late July or early August, at the beginning of the Bavarian school holidays, 200,000 visitors flock to the picturesque squares and historical courtyards in Nuremberg’s Old Town to experience singer-songwriters and groups from all over the world – free of charge. Bardentreffen is Nuremberg’s open air highlight, and simply a classic among world music festivals. The programme, always full of surprises, comprises 90 concerts on nine stages and is supplemented by the music of hundreds of street musicians in between the official stages who find an equally enthusiastic audience from all over Germany.

Germany’s biggest free music festival

Talking of Bardentreffen means talking of superlatives: for “Süddeutsche Zeitung” it is “Germany’s biggest free outdoor music festival”. The German daily even describes this traditional Festival as “Nuremberg’s fifth season”. Every year, Bardentreffen, unrivalled as an open air format in the Federal Republic, conjures up a cloud of sound and an atmosphere of Mediterranean joy of life all around Nuremberg Old Town. Over the years, this city music festival has made a significant contribution to Nuremberg’s way of life and identity.

How it all began

Bardentreffen started in 1976 on the 400th anniversary of the death of Nuremberg’s cobbler poet Hans Sachs, who survives on stage as a figure in Richard Wagner’s opera “Meistersinger”. Initially a competition for singer-songwriters, it has now become a “cultural magnet event” (Die Zeit). The musical concept rests on three pillars: “traditions”, “trends” and “experiments” and has scope for singer-songwriters as well as traditional folk music and its contemporary developments and experiments.

Heinz Rudolf Kunze at the Hauptmarkt 2011 (Photo: Meyer)