Open Source Festival 2019, © Jan Hüsing

Cel­eb­rat­ing urb­a­nana

The full force of pub­lic cel­eb­ra­tion

An in­com­plete yet worth­while over­view of the multi-dis­cip­lin­ary fest­ivals in urb­a­nana

Imagine a place that is as fascinating as it is cheerful, as obscure as it is obtuse, as brutal as it is brilliant. This is Festivalland urbanana. Here, music, theatre, art, literature and the digital scene amaze us. The festivals celebrated here at regular intervals are urbane and yet connected to home. These are our favourites:



Juicy Beats Festival, Dortmund: Exotic fruit show you the way to the best gig in Westfalenpark Dortmund, ranging from Hip Hop to Indie, Pop to Electro and so much more; take a look for yourself. Always in July.

New Fall Festival, Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf and Stuttgart used to have this festival in common. By now, it takes place in Düsseldorf only. This very special festival called New Fall makes musicians meet in places that are usually reserved for the roll of the master of ceremonies: for example at a hotel, museum or church. Always in October.

c/o pop Festival & c/o pop Convention, Cologne: It’s great to hear guaranteed hits of the future today - Cologne’s c/o Pop Festival is responsible for providing this irresistible service. The concerts take place over several days throughout the city, allowing you to enjoy a beer from a kiosk as you whiz around from concert to concert. Or, depending on the type of ticket, from lecture to lecture. Always in April/May.

Traumzeit Festival, Duisburg: The backdrop alone makes any visit worthwhile. Between steel structures and chimneys at the decommissioned Duisburg-Meiderich/Beeck smelting works, the Ruhr area presents the finest pop music concerts. Always in June.

Open Source Festival Congress, Düsseldorf: The festival in Düsseldorf is a concert, club night, congress and film screening that graces the Galopprennbahn every year without any fuss, just plenty of atmosphere. Always in July.


City Leaks Festival, Cologne: What’s colourful and goes pffft pffft? The City Leaks Festival in Köln – when international street artists beautify the city. We’re talking about an urban art biennale here! The art works are concentrated in the city district that becomes the centre of action during the festival. Every two years in summer, next: 2019.

DC Open, Düsseldorf/Cologne: If shuttles are chauffeuring art lovers back and forth between Düsseldorf and Cologne for an entire weekend, it must be September. Or at least autumn. Because that is when Düsseldorf Cologne Open Galleries traditionally takes place, for short: DC Open, during which the galleries in these two of the three #urbanana regions have been happily chauffeuring visitors back and forth for ten years. Always in September.

Photoszene Festival, Cologne: In Cologne the cameras start clicking, the international photo scene moves in and presents itself not just at the Photokina trade fair but also at the photo festival running at the same time - which is also an exhibition route in the city through museums, galleries and art spaces. Always in May.

Düsseldorf Photo Weekend: During Photo Weekend in Düsseldorf, photography is paid homage to in over 50 locations. All you have left to wish for is a few extra eyes - so you don’t miss a single picture. Always in February/March.



Le Bloc, Cologne: In Cologne, fashion lovers have always enjoyed a stroll through the Belgian Quarter. Especially when showrooms, display windows and courtyards turn into pop-up stores, make-up stations and exhibition spaces once a year. The icing on the cake comes in the form of a fashion show that is well worth seeing. Always in June.



Ruhrtriennale, the Ruhr Area: For the Ruhrtriennale, the former industrial sites in the Ruhr area make a big splash once again: here, theatre and opera are combined with visual art, pop music and concert music. Literature, dance and performance also have their regular spots at the breathtaking, international art festival against the spectacular industrial backdrop. Always in August/September.



Places_Virtual Reality Festival, Gelsenkirchen: What looks like a pantomime of the future is Germany’s first ever virtual reality festival. Glasses on and roll film at Kreativ.Quartier Gelsenkirchen-Ückendorf, where virtual reality is combined with real world locations!

Beyond Tellerrand, Düsseldorf: Item one on the agenda: Look beyond the horizon and see what’s going on behind it. Web design and everything related to art is on offer here, with participants from all over the world.

Meta Marathon, Düsseldorf: At the NRW Forum, participants in the Meta Marathon are setting forth into the future and will be engaging, for example, with robotics and artificial intelligence for 42 hours. Workshops, performances and screenings will be taking place late into the night – we can, in effect, stay overnight at the museum. Always in spring.

Pirate Summit, Cologne: If your start up is still in its infancy and you would like to meet other founders, investors or managing directors, this is the place to be. The cherry on the cake: it’s all happening at Odonien, the scurrilous open-air studio, workshop and cultural centre of metal sculptor Odo Rumpf. Always in June/July.

Process Festival, Dortmund: A festival day, laboratory, conference, living room and party in one - a day to discover and explore digital, social and technological ideas. Here, the future is rigged up on an interdisciplinary basis, with exhibitions, lectures, prototypes, concerts, food and music.

Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Cologne Le Bloc, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Cologne Le Bloc, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Cologne Le Bloc, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Open Source Festival 2019, © Jan Hüsing
Open Source Festival Düsseldorf, © Düsseldorf Marketing Markus Luigs
City Leaks Festival - Knot, © Nathanael Goldenzweig
Ruhrtriennale 2019 - Coro, © Christian Palm