Hot autumn instead of the autumn blues! When the days get shorter, the nights get longer in Mannheim – with festivals like Enjoy Jazz, the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival and unique events like “Nachtwandel” (night-time stroll), which attracts night owls and culture fans from all over Germany to Mannheim’s creative and nightlife Jungbusch district.
In 1873, a young man from Mannheim named Friedrich Gretsch emigrated to Brooklyn – and founded a company that has become one of the world’s most famous guitar manufacturers. It all comes full circle with the annual Guitar Summit in Mannheim, a celebration of the guitar – the cult instrument that revolutionised music and changed the world.
The Guitar Summit is a declaration of love to this icon of pop culture and puts a new set of strings on the UNESCO City of Music. With hundreds of brands on show, countless workshops and a top-class live programme with world famous guitarists, the Guitar Summit makes Mannheim Europe’s guitar capital. Save the date: the next Guitar Summit will take place from September 27 to 29, 2019 in Mannheim.
Without the guitar, the development of modern jazz would hardly have been imaginable – which is why the instrument is also widely featured in the programme of trumpeter Thomas Siffling’s new jazz club.
As an unconventional, border-crossing musician with the courage to embrace the new, he opened the “Ella & Louis” jazz club on 13 September on the underground floor of Mannheim’s venerable Rosengarten conference centre. As musical director, Siffling has handpicked the programme for the first season. On 13 September, star trombonist Nils Wogram kicked off the season with his organ trio. On the following day, Brit Julia Biel enchanted the audience with her mix of pop, soul and jazz. Thomas Siffling and his new Flow Quintet also made an appearance during the opening week.
The prestigious and widely known Enjoy Jazz Festival continues the long jazz tradition in the city of squares. Mannheim is the nucleus of the festival, which Mannheim native and cultural manager Rainer Kern has developed into an internationally acclaimed concert series for “Jazz and More” over the past 20 years. In the anniversary year 2018, six and a half weeks of unique concerts can be experienced from 2 October to 17 November. More than 20,000 visitors are expected to flock to the city to hear jazz legends such as Archie Shepp and Joshua Redman perform, as well as numerous newcomers and exceptional musicians like Mannheim guitarist and sound artist, Claus Boesser-Ferrari.
Switzerland may have the Montreux Jazz Festival, but Germany can now boast of the Enjoy Jazz Festival – a thrilling blend of perfection and pioneering spirit, combining tradition and cosmopolitan flair.
The Mannheim “Nachtwandel” (night-time stroll) also represents a mix of pioneering spirit and cosmopolitanism. When the idea for this cultural night was conceived 15 years ago, it was hard to imagine that this event would go on to become one of the most popular urban nightlife events in Germany. Today, however, tens of thousands of night owls stroll through Jungbusch, Mannheim’s hip and creative harbour district, for two nights every year.
In an area that used to be home to Mannheim’s red light district – but today sees the famous Pop Academy sending musical signals to the world – locals will be lighting torches to art and culture on the last weekend in October. Exhibitions, performances, street events, street food stands, mobile bars and live music in all sorts of possible and impossible locations – that’s nightlife, Jungbusch style.
Experience nightlife and urban culture in a whole new light – in the most literal sense of the word. The Mannheim Lichtmeile (“Light mile”) festival has developed into a major highlight for cosmopolitan culture fans.
In the eclectic and multicultural neighbourhood of Neckarstadt-West, the beautiful old 19th century Wilhelminian-style houses are bathed in colourful light for three nights from 16 to 18 November. They provide the atmospheric setting for a varied programme of events in unusual locations exploring music, art and literature. Bands from the Mannheim music scene play live, authors give readings, artists’ studios are open until late into the night and a cultural programme with plenty of surprises is also on offer for kids.
The Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival has been turning up rare gems for over 60 years. If you are interested in discovering new art-house films, don’t miss this festival of premieres from 15 to 25 November.
This traditional festival may not be as big or glamorous as the Berlinale – but for ambitious young directors, it is definitely the place to be. Over the course of six decades, the festival has developed into a Mecca for sophisticated and ambitious filmmaking and has written history. Some of today’s most famous directors got their first break in Mannheim – names like François Truffaut, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders or Jim Jarmusch. Lars von Trier presented his first film here, where he also got to know the actor Udo Kier, who plays a central role in von Trier’s cinematic oeuvre. As many have already discovered: this film festival is the place for surprises and extraordinary encounters.
The Mannheim Capitol, too, has been writing history. Built in 1927, the Capitol used to be Germany's biggest cinema. In the 1980s, it became an important venue for live music in the Rhine-Neckar region and a stage for Xavier Naidoo and Laith Al-Deen, popular musicians from Mannheim.
Now, a newly established culture foundation has rendered possible a complete renovation of the Capitol. The latest event technology and the professional restauration of the heritage-protected building turn every visit into an impressive experience. The varied cultural programme in autumn is just the icing on the cake. In-house production musicals, comedy, as well as concerts with artists such as Helen Schneider and Vonda Sheperd await you.