Music festivals in Germany

Top 10 German Music Festivals

With over 500 music festivals, Germany is the place to be for music lovers during the summer. Whether it be electronic music, rap and hip hop or heavy metal, you will find that there is a festival of every genre. Since camping is a vital part of the festival experience, people usually pack their cars with tents, snacks and beer, and leave for a whole weekend of music, dancing and partying. This page will give you an overview of the 10 most popular or outstanding music festivals in Germany, what kind of music they play, and where and when they take place.

Hurricane Festival / Southside Festival

The Hurricane and its sister festival Southside are taking place at the same time every June, Hurricane in the North of Germany and Southside in the South. With around 70.000 visitors each every year, these two are among the biggest music festivals in Germany, and while visitors of the Southside usually celebrate in the sun, it is almost a given that Hurricane visitors will get wet in the rainy North of Germany, which however doesn’t stop them from camping and being outdoors on festival grounds. Both festivals have the same line-up, and although they first started out as classic rock music festivals, they nowadays attract more and more indie, pop, and mainstream music lovers. International bands and artists that have played Hurricane and Southside include Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, Macklemore, Florence + the Machine and The Cure, and David Bowie even played his last gig ever at Hurricane Festival in 2004! Of course it wouldn’t be a German Music Festival without any German bands; bands such as Rammstein, Die Toten Hosen, Die Fantastischen Vier and Die Ärzte have played Hurricane and Southside multiple times since the festivals first took place in 1997.

Wacken Open Air

The Wacken Open Air Festival is currently considered one of, if not the biggest Heavy-Metal Festival in the world. Held annually in August in the small village Wacken in Schleswig-Hostein in Northern Germany, it attracts more than 80.000 visitors each year and, since it is a Heavy-Metal festival, plays all kinds of Hard Rock and Metal music. Wacken was first established in 1990 by two Wacken inhabitants, Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner, who played in a local Heavy-Metal band and wanted to organise an open-air concert for their local community. It soon developed into a much bigger festival with campgrounds and international bands playing and is now sold out almost immediately every year.

MS Dockville

You like music festivals, but the common rock’n roll & beer atmosphere is not for you? The alternative and arty MS Dockville might be a great festival to visit in summer! Located on Hamburg’s river island Wilhelmsburg, it is a meeting point for over 20.000 visitors every August, who come together to enjoy a weekend of music and visual arts. The festival prides itself with its many opportunities to participate in workshops, its art exhibitions and installations, and its indie/electro/pop music artists, such as for example Billie Eilish in 2019.


Splash is Germany’s biggest hip-hop and rap festival, taking place every summer in July or August on the industrial site Ferropolis in Saxony-Anhalt. The festival was founded by hip hop duo Tefla & Jaleel in 1998 and started out as a small event with 1300 visitors. Thanks to their contacts to other artists however, Tefla & Jaleel could invite more bands and artists so that the festival attracted 13.000 visitors the following year, and has been growing ever since, with 30.000 visitors last year. The musical focus still lies on rap and hip hop, with predominantly German artists, although many international artists, such as Macklemore, Iggy Azalea, Outcast or Post Malone have played at the festival in previous years. Besides from rap and hip hop, you can also enjoy some drum and bass and raggae, as well as DJ- and Graffiti competitions.

Rock am Ring

Rock am Ring, which name derives from is one of the first German music festivals, and also one of the biggest rock music festivals in the country. It was only meant to be a one-time event when in first took place in 1985, but it was so successful that the organisers decided to make it an annual festival in 1991.

Fusion Festival

Fusion is a four-day electronic music festival taking place once a year since 1997, close to the Müritz lake in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It is famous for its culture, electronic music and substainable approach; there is no advertisement on festival grounds, only vegetarian and vegan food is sold, and organisers and participants put emphasis on tolerance, community and an “escape from everyday life”. You can not only listen to music, but also participate in art workshops, see theatre plays, watch movies, and admire art installations at Fusion. From 2012 on, tickets are drawn from a hat, which has lead to thousands of ticketless people climbing over the fence surrounding the festival in the following year, so that organisers had to put twice as many fences around Fusion.


Although Lollapalooza is not technically a German music festival, since it first took place in the United States, it still has become a big success in Germany over the last couple of years. It is a two-day event, taking place in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin every summer, and has attracted a large number of music lovers, both from Germany and abroad, ever since it first took place in Europe at the Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin in 2015. In comparison to other German music festivals, there is no campsite at Lollapalooza; you will have to find a place in Berlin to stay for the time of the festival. The music is also more mainstream than the music at other music festivals, however, many well known bands and artists such as Billie Eilish, Swedish House Mafia or Rita Ora, along with many German bands have played the Lollapalooza before.

Appletree Garden

The Appletree Garden Festival is one of the smaller, more intimate festivals you will find in Germany; it first took place in 2001 in an actual apple tree meadow in Lower Saxony, with local and unknown bands playing. Since then, it has moved to the Bürgerpark in Diepholz and has become much bigger, with 5000 visitors each year (tickets are limited) and many well-known German bands and artists such as Von Wegen Lisbeth, Tocotronic and AnnenMayKantereit, as well as international bands. The festival is also a good place for newcomer bands to start playing in front of a bigger audience, so if you’re looking for new music, you will definately find inspiration at the Appletree Garden Festival.


Deichbrand is a classic German rock music festival, located in the very North of Germany, in Cuxhaven, close to the seaside. It started out as a little two-day Open-Air Festival with only 500 visitors and was meant to attract more music lovers and tourists to the region, which turned out to be very successful; Deichbrand soon developed into one of the biggest German music festivals with international bands such as the Kooks or Placebo and selling over 60.000 tickets in 2019. Apart from concerts, there are also poetry slams and alternative shows taking place at one of the stages. Since Deichbrand is a typical German festival, camping is obligatory, but apart from taking your tent you will also have the opportunity to book a luxurious iglu tent or a wood cabin, or even come in your campervan!

Rocken am Brocken

The last festival on our list is the Indie/Rock festival Rocken am Brocken in the Harz mountains. What makes it so extraordinary is its location in the forest in the Harz mountains and its detailled and beautiful backdrop. The organisers all work on a volunteer basis and put a lot of their time and ideas into the festival; apart from the music, the location invites you to go on hikes in the picturesque mountains, visit workshops and readings, or to take part in a volleyball-or soccer tournament. The music stages are all made out of wood and called Hexenhütte, Zauberwald or Klangnest, to play into the rustic, eerie atmosphere of the festival. The music is mostly rock/indie/pop music, and so the festival has something for everyone, whether you enjoy camping and listening to music all day, doing yoga, participating in a wood-carving workshop, or like going on hikes and exploring the beautiful landscapes of the Harz.