Pop, Lightning and Thunder

If you remember one of the 50,000 faces at the first Superbloom festival in Munich, then it’s Henning May’s. That’s what happiness looks like. When looking from the “Olympic Stage” into the Olympic Stadium, the singer of the Cologne band Annenmay Kantereit grins broadly from the huge LED screens, again and again he beams blissfully. It’s Saturday evening, just before 9 p.m., the main celebration hour. He sings “Would you go out with me today?” Tens of thousands of cell phone flashlights flash at him. He infects himself with his flash of a grin, his trio and the wind instruments and strings that are brought in, the fans who adore him, everyone has to smile. “I’ve already played hundreds of concerts , but I’ve never had so many lights,” says the tousled charmer intoxicated. And then: “I didn’t believe that we could be so many people again.”

Superbloom in Munich: There were large music stages in the Olympic Stadium, in the Olympic Hall and on the Tollwood site.

There were large music stages in the Olympic Stadium, in the Olympic Hall and on the Tollwood site.

(Photo: Florian Peljak)

Superbloom in Munich: Artistry was also offered at the Superbloom. The organizers have put together an engaging program with circus, fashion, science, indulgence and politics.

But artistry was also offered at the Superbloom. The organizers have put together an engaging program with circus, fashion, science, indulgence and politics.

(Photo: Florian Peljak)

Superbloom in Munich: There was a great atmosphere for a long time on Saturday. But then the rain started.

There was a great atmosphere for a long time on Saturday. But then the rain started.

(Photo: Florian Peljak)

Superbloom director Fruzsina Szep wanted, yes: always had to believe that it would finally work after the pandemic. Three “hell” years are behind her and the team from the Berlin agency Goodlive, who after many years finally wanted to bring a mammoth festival of international format and with regional identification potential to Munich: 60 bands on six concert stages, plus a committed program with circus, fashion, science, enjoyment and politics in eleven “Experience” areas – a more than ambitious project.

And the exercise succeeds, even if there are snags and jerks in places: the operation has to rest for one and a half hours on Saturday afternoon due to a thunderstorm. And in the evening, a number of visitors are locked out of the stadium by the main act Calvin Harris, the rush is just too big. The festival is almost sold out, with a total of 50,000 guests more than long hoped for, but also more than the available security staff and space can flow smoothly into and through the Olympic Park .

Already at 10 a.m. there are queues hundreds of meters long at the entrances, also because the entrance was late. Apparently not all security is ready yet. The hip-hopper Schmyt is already on the Olympic Stage, the biggest stage. “I have to apologize. The festival has to apologize,” says the man from Viersen during his performance. The partly very young fans grumble, but don’t let the atmosphere spoil it. The bass hammers in the chest, Schmyt creeps smoothly across the stage, the motifs in the lyrics: youth at the gas station, being high, being alone. Plus a pinch of toxic views: “I wish you were weak so I could hold you.”

Pop favorite Lea later sang about problematic love relationships in the stadium. With her crystal-clear voice, she demonstrates her TV-tested star quality, plays a sovereign concert in front of an enthusiastic, slightly shy audience. Like the British colleague Rita Ora afterwards, Lea also gives everyone a message: everyone is beautiful the way they are.

Superbloom wants to be a festival of good people, sort of a neo-hippie happening in the Woodstock sense. It starts with musicians like Stefan Dettl from the local and beer garden heroes LaBrassBanda . Although he incites the thousands of festival guests who have already gathered in the Stadiover at one o’clock to freak out with his turbo brass band disco, he also warns, especially all young people for whom it may be their very first open air: “Look at festivals all on top of each other!”

30 organizations fight for a better earth

The rock guru Robert Ehrenbrand (otherwise also the bassist of the hardcore band Boy Sets Fire ) lays the “energetic basis” for the festival with a yoga class. 30 organizations from Amnesty to Greenpeace to Grafing goes Green are fighting for a better earth with games, political speed dating and wish lists in the Your Planet area, because “There is no music on a dead planet”. An inclusion team patrols for the needs of the disabled (“no complaints”); another awareness team wants to help everyone who feels harassed, but has nothing to do at first. To do this, the helpers in the pink shirts are gently caressed on the cheeks by a herd of walking creepers on stilts.

Superbloom in Munich: Singer-songwriters played on the Hideaway stage.

Singer-songwriters performed on the Hideaway stage.

(Photo: Florian Peljak)

Superbloom in Munich: walking acts like a huge fish submarine band accompany the migration of peoples on the long journeys from stage to falafel stand to stage.

Walk acts like a huge fish submarine band accompany the migration of peoples on the long journeys from stage to falafel stand to stage.

(Photo: Florian Peljak)

Again and again and everywhere there are such enchanting, quiet moments: it is perhaps a little too quiet on the huge theatre, dance and circus stage, the strong shows attract only a few spectators to the grass steps; at a nostalgic mini fair, clown dolls are bowled over; in the children’s area, a dinosaur heavy metal band rages with the little ones on the Daisy Stage; Walk acts like a huge fish submarine band accompany the migration of peoples on the long journeys from stage to falafel stand to stage. In the “Hideaway”, a wooden box in the Olympic lake, singer-songwriters like Sophia Hallberg play in front of a few people resting.

Art Bloom is a meadow for art at the foot of the Olympic Tower. “I’m actually not a fan of festivals,” says Carolina Kreusch, the curator of this area, “too many people for me.” But then the Bavarian Art Prize winner has to smile when passers-by sit down on her colorful cubes. Other people stop in front of a climbing frame made of fish traps, reminiscent of the Olympic roofs – a work by Stefan Wischnewski. “It’s quite a challenge to stand up to the many brightly colored barriers at the festival,” says Kreusch. But fine art is alive when it is filled with the experiences of others.

Right next door in the Superbrain, the area for science, the German Museum invites you to a scavenger hunt. And here young researchers from the Technical University of Munich are presenting a petting zoo of plastic-recycling maggots and a new type of beer: “Fizzy and refreshing, unfortunately we’re not allowed to serve it.”

Superbloom in Munich: Munich bands like "Umme Block" also played at the festival. The special feature: Klara Rebers (right) also worked as production manager for the festival.

Munich bands like “Umme Block” also played at the festival. The special feature: Klara Rebers (right) also worked as production manager for the festival.

(Photo: Florian Peljak)

All gastro stands will soon have to close. grumbling again. But everything rests because a thunderstorm is moving across the site. The organizers are constantly on the phone with the German weather service: As long as there is a chance of lightning and thunder, nobody is allowed to step onto the metal floor in the stadium. The evacuation is the hardest test of the day for stewards, the police and guests. One perseveres under all available tent roofs. Klara Rebers is also waiting under the roof of the swimming pool. Down in the Theatron (today: Neoneo Stage) she was about to perform with her Munich duo Umme Block . She doesn’t know if that will still work. Although she is not only a musician today, but also has the best connection to the organizational team. She is also the Olympiapark’s production manager for the festival. After her performance, she should rush straight to the stadium.

Then they can still go: Klara Rebers and Leoni Klinger, all in red, rush happily through a short program with electro-pop hits like “Phoenix”. Like a phoenix out of the water, the other program starts again, little ( Years & Years ) was canceled, some streamlined, a masterpiece of organization – other than the lack of communication via app and speakers.

Megan Thee Stallion takes a long time to ask before she comes out of the dressing room. The air is out. But then the self-determined American raps into the stadium again in a party mood, with demonstratively rhythmically moving buttocks, supported by DJ beats and a hip-hop leather ballet. Some of the audience has dressed up as a hot dog, others are simulating mythical creatures, the Cirque du Soleil meets Tollwood henna in the audience, the mood is great. And while Megan Thee Stallion celebrates positivity and diversity in the front, the girls in cowgirl hats go to the stands for a beer.

Superstar Rita Ora comes belatedly onto the super stage on a motorbike – as an animated comic Ora on the screen. Now she really appears here on the second largest stage (where otherwise the Tollwood Arena is located): in a neon green top, over which she wears a top, plus tight panties and overknees. As wild as the outfit is the reaction of her fans, who enthusiastically sing and dance to each of the R&B and dance songs. Ora is happy about that, and since she’s a superstar, she often sings. Playback and audience give their all, while she sometimes only takes verses or highlights with her and dances a lot. The Albanian Brit calls it a “dance party”, flirts aggressively with the fans, coos, twerks. With a rough laugh, Ora walks a fine line when she serves and at the same time satirizes sexualized images of women. At the end the call to support the LGBTQIA* community. Ora has a lot to say, she prefers to dance on Saturdays.

DJs have changed the way music is felt and are now the main attractions

Alan Walker, who was next on the super stage, didn’t notice any of the hustle and bustle. The DJ and dance music producer saw the stadium briefly, then went down into the artist catacombs of the Olympiahalle. After all, he looked at the festival schedule. “The area is really gigantic,” he marvels. Half an hour before he’ll ecstasy the masses with a video game-like techno hit parade and goad them with shouts of “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” he’s still giving relaxed interviews. He always wears a scarf in front of his face on stage. Now the 25-year-old Norwegian, whose electronic anthems like “Faded” have garnered billions of clicks on internet platforms, is showing his soft milky face. He used to tremble before performances, now he enjoys it. DJs, he says, are no longer restricted to clubs and electronic festivals, they’ve changed the way music is felt and are now the main attraction at pop festivals. Three of the world’s most in-demand electronic producers are the Superbloom’s train numbers: David Guetta on Sunday, and Calvin Harris and Walker on Saturday.

At 9.45 p.m. the gates to the Olympic Stadium close: Admission stop

“There is no stopping us right now,” says Scot Calvin Harris’ hit song “Fell So Close.” His appearance on the Olympic stage should be Saturday’s highlight. Bitter irony that there is an admission stop. While the first beats sound inside, the gates at the only entrance close at 9:45 p.m. About a thousand visitors want to, but can no longer get in. “We paid money for this,” a young woman calls out in tears to a law enforcement officer. Other visitors try to squeeze through the barriers. Some climb over the high fence to the side.

The mood is tense: plainclothes police officers identify themselves with police vests, the security officers are under pressure, and the tinny announcement that everyone should take care of themselves and others and that the stadium is “permanently closed” for today. This is actually a normal process at festivals with several stages: if the official capacity at a venue is exhausted, it is closed. This is perhaps still new for Munich. And for the guests it actually comes a bit suddenly and without explanation. The organizer will officially explain this the next day with a “consensual decision by the steering committee made up of the fire brigade, police, KVR, security services and organizer to ensure safety” and personally regret that “everything just didn’t go perfectly”.

There is no sign of a bad atmosphere in the stadium. In is who is in.

There is no sign of it in the stadium. In is who is in. Calvin Harris is enthroned on his superstructure and bangs out his hits. Thousands romp, jump, roar, celebrate. The 38-year-old demonstrates why he has been breaking chart successes for years: Whether it’s “We found Love” or “Summer”, every time it seems impossible to bring the crowd even more to ecstasy, Harris succeeds.

Even if the trouble affects his gig, Harris has the right line ready in his hit assortment: “Blame it on the night, don’t blame it on me”. The festival mantras on one of the barrier fences also fit in with this: “We love. We are patient. We forgive. We have fun.”

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