With all the talk about the hubs of the German festival circuit – Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, etc. – we tend to forget that 90 percent of music listeners in Germany live in one of the many other towns and big cities around the country. Dortmund is primarily known for its Bundesliga football team internationally, but few realize that the largest city in the Ruhr area is also home to one of the region’s finest indoor festivals, the Way Back When Festival. Since its inception in 2014, the festival has brought a variety of exciting acts from indie rock, folk and electro to its three venues scattered around the center of Dortmund. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION is excited to premiere its fifth installment, which is taking place from September 28 – 30, 2018.
The first thing you see when you approach the city by train is a monumental building called the Dortmunder U after its notable roof construction. Formerly part of the Union Brewery’s building complex, it is now both landmark and figurehead for contemporary culture in the city and its four U’s couldn’t be more apt as a description of the festival. Right next to the Dortmunder U lies the FZW (short for Freizeitzentrum West, ‘Leisure Centre West’), the city’s go-to address for concerts of both well-known names and underground artists. Its hall and club stages will most likely house the bulk of the more upbeat performances: the witty indie-goes-chamber-pop and social commentary of Sam Vance-Law; the jangly, uplifting, but always soulful works of Australian songwriter Kat Frankie (whose soundtrack to sexy times still sends shivers down our spines); and Stuttgart’s new jangle-pop export Rikas, who we’ve only caught a little glimpse of at last year’s c/o pop Festival, among others.
It isn’t necessarily unusual these days to have pop concerts take place at churches. However, it always lends for a unique experience to hear your favourite artists’s compositions reverberate in sacred surroundings, and Way Back When’s selection of acts for the luminous Pauluskirche is indeed promising. Frequent readers of our blog will be familiar with Weimar’s renown piano music darling Martin Kohlstedt (if not, get a glimpse of his skills right here), but Berlin-based songstress Dillon and her Belgian fellow Selah Sue with their vibrant, multi-faceted voices will likely leave little to be desired. And don’t forget about talented British songwriter Fenne Lily who’ll also join the event this year.
There’s still more to be said about afromentioned Dortmunder U, as parts of the festivals’s programme will take place in two of the rooms within the cultural centre. Their illustrious names are ‘Moog’ and ‘View’, and while it currently unknown what exactly is going to to happen there, we do know that the latter location gives an impressive view of the city. So there’s still more for you and us to discover – we’ll keep you updated.
You can purchase tickets here.
Find out more about the festival at www.waybackwhen.de.