Rock on the ring
Rock am Ring is a music festival organized by Marek Lieberberg , which takes place from 1985 to 2014 and again since 2017 at the Nürburgring near the town of Adenau in the Eifel . It is considered the most traditional rock festival in Germany. In 2015 and 2016 the festival took place at the former Bundeswehr airfield in Mendig . It runs parallel to Rock im Park and has an almost identical line-up.
Before Rock am Ring
A festival at the Nürburgring racetrack was planned as early as 1980. This should take place on the “Schwalbenschwanz” section of the Nordschleife near Herresbach . Although bands had already been booked, flyers had been printed and tickets had been sold, the festival project failed due to the lack of parking. In addition, there were protests from residents who did not want to make their land available as parking facilities for festival visitors.
Rock am Ring was first held in 1985 and was originally planned as a one-off event. Due to the great success with 75,000 spectators, however, it was decided to let this event take place every year. The fall in audience numbers in 1988 resulted in a two-year hiatus. In 1991 the biggest German rock festival started again with a revised concept. A new main focus was placed on introducing more newcomers to the audience. Among others, INXS and Alanis Morissette, who were rather unknown at the time, performed in front of a large audience at Rock am Ring.
In June 2012, it was announced in the Rhein-Zeitung that there were problems with the state of Rhineland-Palatinate with regard to hosting the festival in 2013. The reason is that the Ministry of Infrastructure has not confirmed the scheduled date and the first talks with the musicians for the next festival should start in the following weeks. However, in 2013 Rock am Ring took place as planned and set a new visitor record.
Departure from the Nürburgring
On May 30, 2014, the organizer announced that the festival would take place at the Nürburgring for the last time in 2014 because the operator of the racetrack had terminated the contract. According to a contribution in the Rhein-Zeitung, the operator of the racetrack has demanded an increase in the share by 25 percent, at the same time, according to the organizers, Rock am Ring costs two to three million euros more than the sister festival Rock im Park . For a continuation of the music festival, six new locations were available at the time, one of them in Rhineland-Palatinate . In the end, the JHQ Rheindahlen near Mönchengladbach and the former Mendig military airfield were shortlisted. After long negotiations with the Federal Agency for Real Estate Tasks (Bima) and the city of Mendig, the decision was made in favor of Mendig, although the municipality is smaller and the region is structurally weaker. In the justification, Lieberberg praised the great courtesy of the city of Mönchengladbach, but negotiations with Bima were extremely tough. Although the location is perfect, the June date cannot be kept due to the "lengthy negotiations" with Bima, which would result in the location being rejected.
After the discontinuation of “Rock am Ring”, the Nürburgring company Capricorn and the organizer DEAG Deutsche Entertainment planned a new festival for 2015 called “Green Hell Rock” for the Nürburgring. In spring 2015, however, the failure of this project became known after the two companies had fallen out in the cost dispute over “Green Hell Rock”. Instead, DEAG held its new festival in the Veltins-Arena Gelsenkirchen.
The first Rock-am-Ring Festival in Mendig was overshadowed by a severe thunderstorm in 2015. A lightning strike in the backstage area initially injured eight festival employees, further strikes on the campground injured 25 visitors.
In 2016, the start of the festival was also accompanied by severe storms. Heavy rain meant that the bands' performances had to be interrupted first. A lightning strike seriously injured 15 people on the evening of the festival Friday, and another 57 were slightly injured. Two people had to be resuscitated . Since the weather situation was deteriorating on the Saturday of the festival, the festival was temporarily interrupted and the festival area cleared on the instructions of the approval authority. After the program had been resumed for a few hours, the Mendig Association withdrew the organizer's permission to continue the festival on the third day of the festival, so the festival was canceled. Lieberberg criticized the decision of the Mendig community. It was not exactly a "great moment for the responsible authorities".
In December 2016, the organizer announced that Rock am Ring will take place again at the Nürburgring in 2017 for economic reasons.
On the evening of June 2, 2017, the first day of the festival, the event, which was sold out with around 85,000 visitors, was interrupted around 9 p.m. during a performance by the Düsseldorf band Broilers and the festival area was cleared. The reason given was a terrorist threat . Other appearances planned for Friday evening were canceled, including those of the headliner Rammstein and that of the rapper Marteria . That same evening three men were arrested and checked in Hessen . Two of the men who are assigned to the Salafist scene in Hesse had access authorizations in the form of armbands that gave them direct access to many festival areas. One of the men was also suspected of being related to the terrorist scene. On the morning of June 3, after a search of the event site and an examination of the suspects' homes, the police gave the all-clear, the suspicion of an impending attack had not been substantiated, so the festival could continue on Saturday afternoon. The two main suspects had received the access authorization to the festival area due to a short-term personnel request from an external security service provider.
On April 16, 2020, the organizer announced that the Rock-am-Ring-Festival and the Rock-im-Park-Festival 2020 will be canceled due to the ban on all major events issued due to the corona pandemic and valid until August 31, 2020 . Tickets already purchased could be exchanged free of charge for the respective festival of the following year. Alternatively, a full refund of the purchase price has been offered since July 15, 2020. There should be no changes to the planned headliners.
Rock im Park has been taking place in Nuremberg since 1997 , at the same time as Rock am Ring in the Eifel . Usually the same bands play at the twin festival, but there are e.g. Due to scheduling difficulties, for example, individual bands can only be seen at one of the two festivals.
Camping around the festival area is an important part of the festival, but its character has changed over time: In the first few years, mainly small tents and a few small vans were seen. In the meantime the picture is increasingly shaped by pavilions and mobile homes . In recent years, large vehicles such as trucks were increasingly found on campsites before they were banned. As old couches and sofas used to be left lying around, you are no longer allowed to bring them with you.
On June 12, 2014, the German Metal Hammer reported , citing a report from Focus Online , that the operators of the Nürburgring wanted to obtain an injunction on the continued use of the “Rock am Ring” brand. In the first instance it was decided that the name belonged to both Lieberberg and the ring operator. After a renewed examination of the judgment by Lieberberg's lawyers, an appeal was filed with the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz in July . In an injunction at the end of August 2014, the latter decided that the name of the “Rock am Ring” brand belonged to Lieberberg. The decision in the main proceedings is still pending and was announced for July 2016.
David Bowie's Glass Spider at Rock am Ring 1987
Lenny Kravitz at Centerstage 2002
Dir En Gray at Centerstage 2006
The Prodigy at Rock am Ring 2009
Dates and bands
The WDR Rockpalast was at Rock am Ring from 2001 to 2008 and partially recorded both stages completely from the afternoon onwards. The festival was broadcast live on ARD until 2002 : live from around 11 p.m. and then the bands in reverse order until early in the morning. With the emergence of MTV, both broadcasters have come to terms with each other, worked together backstage and shared the program and technology. The music channel MTV was a media partner that recorded the events for several years. In the meantime, Südwestrundfunk has been a media partner with its radio programs SWR3 and Dasding as well as the digital television channel EinsPlus . In addition, the SWR offered a festival radio under the name SWR3-RaR or SWR3-Rock am Ring on its own FM frequency on the festival site, which could also be received via DAB + in the SWR broadcasting area.
Since 2018 bigFM has taken over the media partnership for Rock am Ring and offers in the area around the festival a special radio offer under the name “bigFM Ring Radio” on the VHF frequency 87.7 MHz. In addition, live from the Nürburgring was broadcast on June 2, 2018 in 3sat from 8.15pm to 0.20am. On June 8, 2019, 3sat once again broadcast a 4-hour special. This featured both recorded and live performances by Alice In Chains, Bring Me The Horizon, The Smashing Pumpkins, SDP, Foals and The 1975.
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