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Maifeld Derby 2014: Press conference & conclusions for a festival

Our impressions and 11 reasons why you should attend Maifeld Derby 2015
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As you have already read, MixGrill attended Maifeld Derby 2014. The festival, which takes place at the riding stadium outside Mannheim, completed four years of life and celebrated them with the most impressive line-up and the largest attendance of its small history. Our report from the festival might was far from being complete. We tried, however, to record the facts in real time and share our first photos -some of which were particularly impressive!

Konstantin Gropper, mastermind of Get Well Soon, gets ready for the concert

The press conference

Early on Sunday 01/06, the last day of the festival, shortly before the concerts begin, we attended the press conference of the organizers. This was the first time it took place and it was the best way for us to connect some of the pieces of the organization.

Timo Kumpf, the man behind the festival through Karakter Live, expressed his complete satisfaction for its evolution. He considers that it has already reached the desirable level and there is no plan to grow it further in capacity. The attendance was estimated to be nearly 4.000 visitors for each day of the festival. About the line-up, he said that it consists of his favorite bands. He confessed that in the late 90s he went into hibernation and, when he recovered, he decided to search for new music. So, he traveled -and still travels- a lot, attending festivals and concerts and started a collaboration with Popakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg. He feels lucky and proud that The National chose Maifeld Derby for their unique appearance in a German festival this year and that several German bands (for example Hundreds) essentially choose to appear in it.

From left to right: Lena Buck, Matthias Rauch, Timo Kumpf, Sebastian Callies and Julia Luttenberger.

For Sebastian Callies, executive director of the sponsoring partner Callies & Schewe, it is very important that Maifeld Derby is an authentic festival. He said that they are seeking new ways for advertising and promotion -in fact he admitted that we were just close to see all the artists dressed in Polo T-shirts!

Julia Luttenberger, press officer of the Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH, explained the reasons for which the municipality is actively supporting the festival. She stated that Mannheim via Maifeld Derby is becoming more than just an industrial city and has already managed to gain musical recognition.

Lena Buck, coordinator of Greener Maifeld Derby and representative of Green Music Initiative which aims to "make green" music festivals like Maifeld Derby and Melt!, seemed perfectly satisfied with the progress of Maifeld Derby and presented the elements that make the festival eco-friendly. She also expressed the belief that Maifeld Derby will be among the favorites for the Green Operations Award 2014 of the Awards for the European Festival (we remind that it was among the candidates for 2012).

The team of the volunteers relaxing at the end of the festival. The photograph was posted at the official facebook page of Maifeld Derby.

Some conclusions

Three days after the festival and since I already returned to everyday life, there is no point in trying to retrieve my memories for each single concert. Instead, I will attempt to outline the picture of Maifeld Derby, at least as I lived it. I admit that I had not even heard about the festival until last December. Then, I read by coincidence the first names that were announced for 2014, which included The National (who I always appreciated musically and whose great concert in Düsseldorf I had just attended) and Get Well Soon (a band that I worship during the few years I am in Germany). The perfect opportunity to see them together, I thought at that time. The perfect occasion to get to know Maifeld Derby, I say today.

Germans would use the word "großartig" to try to describe the level of the festival experience that Maifeld Derby offered me. In English, perhaps the appropriate word is "grandiose". And I can list quite a few reasons for this:

1. The composition is multidimensional. Various and different musical styles are combined and alternate in the stages, with emphasis given to what we know as "indie rock".

2. Although at first glance it contradicts the previous point, the festival has a specific, but not at all restrictive, identity, which reflects the musical taste of its organizers. Overcoming our hipster era, every choice is a musical proposal with the aesthetic criteria clearly outweighing those of "popularity" and "good management".

3. Having a look at the line-up of Primavera Sound for example which took place at the same time, you get a headache by the many names. This would not happen in Maifeld Derby. There is a balance and an equilibrium in the program. It can be that you do not go every day with the ecstasy of a "big name", but you certainly leave with the sense of music completeness.

4. Maifeld Derby is not Primavera Sound, but doesn't intend to become either -to continue this comparison, which probably started as unfair, but turns out to be rather honorable for the German festival. At least five artists appeared successively to both festivals, starting with that of Barcelona. And, although I am sure that the Spanish fans exhausted them, their concerts at Maifeld Derby had excess of intensity and passion. For example, the lead singer of Future Islands exercised gracefully his favorite stretching on stage, while Matt Berninger of The National sang at least half of "Terrible Love" walking across the arena, drowned in the hugs of the crowd.

5. At Maifeld Derby we didn't see the remains of the largest festivals (as it became evident by the previous point), neither dinosaurs of the music industry. We experienced music that happens NOW and we suspect that it will continue to happen (e.g. Sohn, Temples, Hozier). And after some years we will actually be able to say that we saw this or that big name first time at Maifeld Derby.

6. It is not only the honesty of the organizers, as expressed in the interview they gave us a few days before the festival, but also the accuracy of their statements, as we experienced ourselves. This is indeed a festival by people who love music for people who love music. So simple and nice!

7. The topology of the stages reaches perfection. We certainly found the dust in the main stage annoying, but it was just a drop in the ocean...

8. Accessing the festival was very fast, even on Saturday 31/05, when the nerves of drivers and passengers of public transport were being tested because of the Mannheim marathon.

9. The rapid service, the friendliness of employees and volunteers and the cleanliness were above the average of the festivals I have attended.

10. The option of camping, which is not obvious for festivals of similar size, is definitely a pro, even if I have no personal experience about the conditions.

11. The ticket price is more than attractive. The 3-day ticket costed under 60 euros (plus just 10 for camping), when only a concert for The National in Germany costs 40-50 euros. For comparison the 3-day Primavera Sound costed 190 euros.

I think that even half of the above reasons would be already enough to convince anyone that Maifeld Derby deserves not only a place in the festival  map of Europe, but also a visit in 2015 to confirm these as true.

You might have had enough with Get Well Soon, but we all have our weaks spots...

I have already removed the festival wristband. But this grandiose experience will remain engraved deep into me, thanks to Get Well Soon, The National, FM Belfast, Future Islands, Sohn, but above all thanks to Maifeld Derby.

Bis nächstes Jahr, Liebhaber!
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