After Years in the Red, Deichbrand Rock Festival Finally Turns a Profit
Enlarge image Fans at the Deichbrand Festival in Cuxhaven (© picture-alliance / Jazzarchiv) It was a particularly risky round of roulette: increase operations and keep playing, even when everything seems lost. But the show must go on. After six festivals marking heavy losses, the organizers of the Deichbrand rock festival, held in the small North Sea resort town of Cuxhaven, have still not given up. Last year they finally marked their first profits. On July 20, the eighth installment of the festival is to be held, with a 500-strong staff and plans for 60 live performances by 50 bands. The 25,000 tickets available have been sold out for days.
Eight years ago, the festival was little more than an ambitious vision. “We were a bunch of young people from the region, who had all tried separately to bring a ‘young’ festival to life,” said Daniel Schneider, now the Managing Director of the festival’s organization. “Five guys had in their heads this idea of starting a heavy-metal festival called ‘Deichbrand’; for me, the main thing was to create an event for young people,” says Schneider. “Our goal was to create something within our region that we ourselves as youths had always missed,” says the 34-year-old.
The two groups joined forces and got along immediately. “I really liked the idea for the name,” says Schneider. “Deichbrand” loosely translates to “burning banks” or “dike fire” in English. The 34-year-old was still a student at that time, but since he had already gained previous experience in event organization, he took his current co-Managing Director Marc Engelke on board and went for it. Those same five guys who named the festival still actively participate in its organization to this day. “We now have two directors and a permanent project manager, but the annual core team comprises about 30 people,” says Schneider.
The biggest hurdle of all was simply to get the ball rolling. “Not everyone was so convinced by the concept as we were,” explains Schneider. In addition, there were differing opinions on the festival’s ideal music style and size. “In the first few years, we always had a big fat minus,” he admits. The 2008 festival was particularly tragic – the event was literally flooded with heavy rains. “However, we still wanted to keep going,” says Schneider. Giving up was never an option.
Now big acts, such as Deichkind, H-Blockx and the Beatsteaks – all well-known rock acts across Germany – play the festival. International acts are coming, too – like British indie group The Subways. “Getting the Beatsteaks to play here was a long-awaited dream of ours,” says Schneider. This year, multitalented German singer-songwriter Clueso, whose popularity has taken off hugely in Germany in the last few years, is also headlining the festival. But the audience and organizers would also love to see popular groups like Rise Against, Seeed, and German rock stalwart Die Toten Hosen make a stop in Cuxhaven. “This is probably unrealistic, but let's see – who would have ever thought that we would hold on so long,” says Schneider.