The former German capital Bonn has a vast tradition of open air concerts. Their current premier open air location is the “Kunst!Rasen” (Kunstrasen combined means artificial turf, but Kunst itself refers to art) in the Rheinaue area. On 29th June 2018, I had the opportunity to visit the grounds for the first time, first to review the area itself, but also the concert. The act, LINA, fully named Lina Larissa Strahl, thereby played in front of some 4,000 people.
Kunst!Rasen and History of Bonn Open Airs
When people think of Open Air concerts in Bonn, they likely first think of the legendary Rheinkultur Open Air, which was located in the Rheinaue in Bonn, a park area next to the river Rhine, which has been originally created for a German National Horticultural Show. Rheinkultur was organized for 25 years until 2011. The no-admission one-day festival, which hosted high-class German and International Acts on multiple stages, hosted an average of 160,000 people and has an attendance record of over 200,000. Nowadays, this Open Air area of the Rheinaue is only used by events, which are adding concerts to their venue. The two most important once is the Bonn fireworks festival Rhein in Flammen, which is coming with a two-day open air programme before the great firework finale, and the Bierbörse (Beer exhibition), where you can try much more beer than music. Both events easily welcome more than 100,000 people, admission free. The concert with the highest attendace I visited was also in the Rheinaue area during the Bierbörse with some 200k spectators.
Another lovely place to host concerts was located between two museums at the museum area Museumsmeile. I feel these concerts have been the best open airs I ever visited with a lovely location and most of the area covered by a circus-alike tent, so that it was weather-safe. The venue had to be given up due to complaints of the neighbors about the loud music as well as economic reasons. There are rumours, however, that the area may be re-opened one day.
The current open air location is the Kunst!Rasen, which is located quite on the North tip of the Rheinaue, closely to the Posttower skyscraper, which hosts the DHL Logistic Group operations. It seems to be that this area can be used in the future quite for certain, as the organisers pleased the surrounding inhabitants in several discussions, mainly about how to limit the traffic to the area and how to limit the noise caused by the festival. The area is used since a couple of years.
You can see the Location of the Kunst!Rasen and the other two venues below:
Kunst!Rasen Programme 2018 and Accessibility
You enter the Kunst!Rasen area from the Southwest. Getting there is likely easiest by taking public transport, the tram stations Ollenhauerstraße and Rheinaue are not too far away. You may also arrive by car. In general, there are numerous car parks around. The closest one is the visitor parking of DHL, which may be used for the shows for a fee of roughly five Euros. There were a lot of people travelling in for the show by car – and even for a show which was not sold out, the queues from the motorway to the garage were an absolute mess – I would highly recommend to go for one of the several parking lots closeby – there are some areas, where you need to have a local parking permit for, but a lot of places around are even free on the evening, especially in the commercial areas.
The 2018 Kunst!Rasen programme is quite top notch again. There will be 15 shows overall, Tom Jones opened the venue the day before LINA for that season. Other acts praying for good weather this year are Die Fantastischen Vier (already sold out), Simple Minds, Alanis Morisette, Roger Hodgson or Limp Biskit. The ticket prices are really fine. For LINA, an ordinary ticket was 35 Euro. I had Front of Stage, which was 42 Euro. You may also have a VIP area ticket, which includes food and drinks for roughly 160 Euro. The ordinary ticket price is higher for other acts, though.
Kunst!Rasen Venue and Organisation
The venue is quite a beauty, at least surrounded by trees on one side (the other side also has some view-blocking walls, as the remaining Rheinaue can still be used for recreation). The spectator peak so far was 9,000, so it is comparably cozy. There are some food and drink vendors at the side of the venue, the VIP covered tent is at the left behind the some 15 meter Front of Stage zone, which was very cozy and relaxed to stay in. The availability of toilets looked fine, the cabins were quite short and narrow, but it was comparably clean. No soap or towels, just cold water, to “wash” your hands. The volume of sound was comparably limited – but this may also have been due to the “very special” audience, see below.
The organisation, however, was a mess. I already wrote above that the arrival by car ended in a massive queue in front of the parking lot – it felt like they only serve one car at one time at entrance (or even worse). My birthplace is less than a kilometer away from this area, so I easily found a parking lot around – otherwise, we would definitely have missed the beginning of the show. Next fun-killer: entrance security. Of course, you have to do it nowadays, but these guys were extremely slow. There were four rows of security check – which might have been reasonable, if they only worked somehow effectively. The queues were very long – and I feel they have been a major factor why the show had to be delayed by some 20 minutes. It took us roughly 40 minutes to get in. One has to mention that the closer the time to the concert start came, the quicker the security worked. They sorted out all people with major bags (the website said something about an A4, i.e. 21cm * 29cm, bag, but the selection was really random), who had to bring them to the luggage storage for a 3 Euro fee. No pocket controls or body searching, though… Quite silly. In general, I felt that the on-site security was really poor.
LINA – Show Review
LINA Larissa Strahl is quite a German music phaenomenon. The 21-year old Northern German girl became popular by playing the popular young witch character Bibi Blocksberg in four Bibi & Tina movies, which combine teenage stories about horseriding, bad people and love with musical episodes. The movies are really successful and as a spin-off, LINA is just about to produce her third album. I would name the genre Teenager Pop, it is well-produced, often dance-alike music dealing with typical topics of that age groups like growing up, being more responsible for yourself and – of course – love. Though it is really solid pop music, her fan base still contains of the Bibi Blocksberg movie and audio play clients: young kids: the key fans out there in Bonn were in the age group of 8 to 12, most adult people were simply there to accompany their kids.
The show started at 18:50, twenty minutes behind scheduled time. Unfortunately, LINA has been supported all the show by playback, especially in the backing vocals, but sometimes I felt also the music was not always played live by the band consisting of a drummer, a bass and a guitar player. The concert presenting the EGO album started a bit lame to me, but the show got definitely better towards the end and had more power. Lina acted a bit nervous sometimes and even felt a bit shy during her moderation between the songs. She played most of her hits, also from the first album Official.
The show ended after some 1:20 hrs, which is maybe not too much, but likely in reasonable range if you look at the age group majorly singing along with her idol. I felt it has been a quite enjoyable and nice afternoon out there. I am however not sure whether I would go to the Kunst!Rasen again. The venue is nice and cozy, but the organisation around it was just too complicated in my point of view.
The concert pics above and some more can be found in the Gallery Section.
Postings of the Greater Cologne Region
Here are postings which are dealing with the Greater Cologne and Rhineland region:
Postings about Concerts
All postings about concerts I visited:
I visited the show as an ordinary visitor with my fun digital camera – thus, the picture quality may not be fully ideal