Lollapalooza Berlin Is More Than Just a Satellite Festival

Ana Yorke
Photo: Alexander Koerner

Lollapalooza Berlin will be held September 10th and 11th in Treptower Park and we've got the preview...

When renowned festivals make the ambitious business decision to expand their activities, namely by creating satellite festivals, there are only two ways in which this tapping into new territory plays out -– either the satellite festival is small, shoddy, cheap, and generally serves only to raise awareness about the queen bee event, or it becomes a rogue sensation in its own right, breathing a new life into the entire franchise and providing ace entertainment for audiences thirsty for new events.

Fortunately, Lollapalooza Berlin certainly falls under the latter category. After enormous commercial success of what was supposed to be an acute stint by Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell, and nearly 20 years of intermittent events, the success the festival has achieved since its revival in 2005 and relocation to Grant Park was reason enough to expand the gargantuan Chicago event into a franchise. Lollapalooza Chile debuted in 2010, followed by Lollapalooza in Brazil, Argentina, although world domination had to be put on hold after two major blows: a failed attempt to bring the festival to Israel (allegedly due to the concerns over people's safety in the Middle East) and an unfortunate cancellation of the first planned event in Colombia, after an unnamed artist (speculated to be Rihanna) canceled their appearance (allegedly due to the Zika virus scare). Now it's Germany's turn to establish a strong franchise presence in Europe as well.

The first edition of the festival took place last year in the magnificent, defunct Tempelhof airport, now predominantly serving the purpose of an FPS-game-like backdrop for music events (yes, the hangars are sometimes used as separate venues for sidekick stages; the main stage is on a runway!). Surely enough, the lineup was diverse and appealing enough to a variety of festival enthusiasts -- Macklemore, Tame Impala, Fatboy Slim, Sam Smith, Bastille, Hot Chip and Run the Jewels were some of the more prominent acts -- the dessert was one of the few festival appearances by the Libertines outside the UK.

This year the event threatens to seamlessly evolve from a quirky mid-sized outing into a juggernaut in its own right, despite logistic skirmishes. While the event only runs for two days, September 10 and 11, the grandiloquent lineup now boasts an odd festival appearance by Kings of Leon, a co-headlining slot for New Order, with a mandatory melting pot millennial-friendly ambiance in the form of Major Lazer, Years and Years, the 1975, James Blake, Milky Chance, and many accompanying electro acts.

And Radiohead, in 2016 also known as “the band who broke Primavera's and NOS Alive's capacities and are only playing a dozen shows in Europe on their new tour”. You heard it here first –- soon enough festival chiefs will realize they could save lots of money by putting only Radiohead on the bill on a certain festival day –- not only will you see frighteningly large hordes of night walkers crushing everything in their way hours before the event wherever they play, you will also, inevitably, notice that the crowd seldom pays attention to anything except Radiohead on the days they headline. But I digress.

Despite being the rare event which has booked Radiohead this year, the festival's main strength is its boss, Fruzsina Szép, the woman whose artistic direction had helped Sziget establish itself as one of the largest music and cultural festivals in the world between 2009-2014, before taking on new challenges as the first lady of the European festival scene and the chief executive of Lolla. Given that Tempelhof's hangars were given a new purpose as shelters for thousands of migrants, Szép promptly moved the festival's location to the dazzling 200-acre Treptower Park, which sits cozily right between Berlin's two foremost hipster areas, Friedrichshein and Kreuzberg. Nevertheless, the park has recently been refurbished for a staggering amount of 13 million Euros and the neighbors aren't too happy with the idea of some 40,000 or more people frolicking in its exorbitant grass during an entire weekend. Szép had made some stellar compromises, making the entire festival family-friendly by organizing special areas for children (you guessed it -- it's called Kidsapalooza), and by declaring curfew at 11 PM, so as to not infuriate the ever-agitated nearby residents. Bonus points for the so-called “Lolla Fun Fair”, a special festival section where the visitors will interact with urban art performers from countless artistic backgrounds.

The tickets, currently sitting at 139 Euros for both days and 79 Euros for one day, coupled with generally decent prices for everything else in Berlin, make for one helluva getaway. If you've got a couple of days to spare in September, grab your loved ones by the hand and I'll meet you there.



Kings Of Leon

Major Lazer

Paul Kalkbrenner

Philipp Poisel

New Order

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike

Max Herre & Kahedi Radio Orchestra (MTV Unplugged Live)

Milky Chance

The 1975



Lindsey Stirling

Chase & Status DJ Set & Rage


Kaiser Chiefs

James Blake

Years & Years

Róisín Murphy

Jess Glynne



The Chainsmokers

Martin Solveig

Lost Frequencies

Alle Farben

Klingande (live)

Alan Walker


The Temper Trap

Aurora Catfish and the Bottlemen



Jonas Blue

Jagwar Ma

Junge Junge

Josef Salvat



Nothing But Thieves


Dubioza Kolektiv

Graham Candy L.A.





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