Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ weekly weekend event guide for Europe: 18 May through 21 May 2017

(Editor’s note: We’re consolidating two events posts – Vienna and Berlin – into the weekend events guide for all of Europe. But, you can find more events on our new Passport calendar here.)

We’re inching closer to summer, and that means thoughts of holiday, beaches and sun!

Also: we’ve launched our new, expat-oriented social media network this week! Aptly titled Passport, expats and those who want to be expats can reach out and connect with other expats (and expats-to-be) from a number of target cities. More details to come, but all you have to do is create your profile by registering here. (It’s all free.)

In the meantime, let’s get this weekend started with gin, jazz and retail exhibitions! Let’s go!

Amsterdam – Gin Festival: This Friday and Saturday, Amsterdam’s Undercurrent events space will play host to the second annual Gin Festival.

Coming back bigger and better than last year’s sold-out outing, this year’s festival will have more than 200 brands of gin, tonic, vermouth, vodka, and jenevers, as well as craft beers, food trucks, and the Gin Boat, which will ferry guests to Undercurrent from Central Station with the power of Rutte Celery Gin!

Tickets to the festival are €25 and €21.50 presale Friday and Saturday, €30 and €26.50 at the door.

The ticket includes a special tasting glass, the festival programme, and all the tastings you can stand.

Coins, good for mixed drinks, food, and longdrink glasses, are €2.80 per coin.

Barcelona – Automobile Barcelona: From now through Sunday, come see the latest and greatest during the annual Automobile Barcelona (formerly the Barcelona International Auto Show) at Barcelona’s Fira Montjuic Exhibition Center!

This year’s debuts include the Ateca FR from Spain’s own SEAT; the Abarth 595 Competizone; and the Spanish debut of the Lexus LS 500h.

Tickets are €12 via special offer, €14 for the weekend.

Berlin – Natalie Imbruglia: Known for her 1997 cover of Ednaswap’s “Torn” – and, before then, the role of Beth Brennan on the Australian soap opera Neighbours – Natalie Imbruglia is winding down her acoustic tour in support of her current album, 2015’s Male.

Before her last show of the tour in Denmark next Saturday, Imbruglia will be performing at Berlin’s Columbia Theater Sunday night.

The show starts at 20:00, and tickets are €43.50.

Brussels – Les Nuits Botanique: Are you ready for one of Brussels’ biggest music festivals of the year? Through Sunday, the Les Nuits Botanique will be popping off with music from established, up-and-coming, and virtually unknown acts!

The lineup for this year includes: Agar Agar; Caballero & JeanJass; Hydrogen Sea; Moaning Cities; Stereo Clip; and Zebra Katz.

You can create your own five-concert pass for €40, or one for 10 shows for €75.

Tickets for individual shows can be purchased by looking through the festival programme.

Copenhagen – Friday Rock: Fredagsrock (Friday Rock) happens every Friday at the giant Tivoli Gardens amusement complex. And it’s huge, attracting about 500,000 music fans last year.

This year, Fredagsrock celebrates its 20th anniversary with 24 concerts featuring 33 artists and bands.  Tivoli presents a diverse program, covering both international stars, new talents and established performers. Think Lil’ Wayne and Beach Boy Brian Wilson, but thankfully not on the same stage.

Here’s the lineup through June (also see the video above):

May 19: KATO + TooManyLeftHands, May 26: Medina, June 2: Beth Hart (US), June 9: CHIC feat. Nile Rodgers (US), June 16: Zapp Zapp + Danseorkestret, June 23: Gnags, June 30: Brian Wilson (US)

London – BMW LSO Open Air Classics: This Sunday night in London’s Tralfagar Square, the London Symphony Orchestra will perform three Rachmaninov pieces for the sixth edition of BMW LSO Open Air Classics.

Up-and-coming pianist Behzod Abduraimov will make his debut with the LSO that night, performing Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.”

The show starts at 18:30. Admission is free.

Paris – Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris: If you’re looking to jazz up your Parisian weekend, you can do no wrong by attending the Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris!

Drawing to a close Sunday evening, the festival will bring together established and emerging artists alike at several venues around Paris, including: Avishai Cohen; Jowee Omicil; Kicca; and Baptiste Trotignon; the full programme can be had here.

Tickets for individual shows can be purchased here; three- and five-show passes can be had from €59 to €88.

Paris – French Open: Officially known as Roland-Garros (named after the host venue Stade de Roland-Garros, which, in turn, is named after famed WWI French aviator Roland Garros), the French Open is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament played on red clay.

A total of 104 men and 108 women will battle on the court for a chunk of over €30 million prize money, including Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the men’s side, and Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova on the women’s side.

Tickets are selling out fast, though the only way to purchase is by first registering with Roland-Garros. Prices range from €15 for those attending the evening matches, to €605 for a package deal which allows you backstage access to the French Open.

Stockholm: Bruno Mars at Ericsson Globe: Come on, who doesn’t like Bruno Mars? This half-Jewish, half Dominican singer/dancer/composer may be he the hottest act right now aside from Beyoné. “Just the Way You Are” was a No. 1 hit. “Grenade” … huge. “Uptown Funk” …. huge.

Well, Mars (real name Peter Hernandez) is touring Europe right now, with stops for his 24K Magic World Tour in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm this weekend.

Tickets range from 325 krona to 800 krona and you can get them here.

Vienna: SAND IN THE CITYSummer’s almost here, which means thoughts of sun, surf and sand… unless you live in Vienna, where all you have is the sun and the Danube.

Not exactly the scene for a holiday on the beach, yeah? That’s where Sand in the City comes in.

The club brings the beach to the heart of Vienna every summer from now to early September. Live DJs and performers, beach volleyball, food, palm trees, beach bars, and — of course — plenty of sand pull it all together for a beach party no one will soon forget!

And the best part of Sand in the City? Admission is free!

Buy From Jews! Story of a Viennese store culture: One day, there will be an exhibition documenting the rise and fall of American retail, complete with vaporwave and mallsoft sound installations, and re-contextualized corporate training videos.

Until then, there’s the Jewish Museum Vienna’s newest exhibition, Buy From Jews! Story of a Viennese store culture, which began yesterday, and is set to close 19 November 2017.

From the website:

The rise of department stores in Vienna was part of a pan-European development in the nineteenth century. It is not widely known that many of the founders came from Jewish families and that there was once a garment district in the inner city. The exhibition revives the memory of well-known names like Gerngross, Zwieback, Jacob Rothberger, Braun & Co, Goldman & Salatsch, Jungmann & Neffe, and Knize and their founding families, along with suburban department stores like Wodicka and Dichter.

Tickets to the museum are free for children 18 and under, €12 for adults.


Barcelona – Primavera Sound: Coming to Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum 31 May through 4 June 2017, the 2017 edition of Primavera Sound — which also takes place at Oporto, Portugal 8 through 10 June 2017 — will blow your mind with the vast collection of pop, indie, and electronic sounds on tap, including those from the likes of Front 242, The Afghan Whigs, Saint Etienne, The Damned, and the 50th anniversary performance celebration of Odessey and Oracle by The Zombies.

Berlin – Her Damit im Exil (Here Dammit in Exile) Berlin has more massive music festivals than any other city including Melt and Fusion. The first this year, though, is the smallest, the most intimate and also the most affordable at about 40 euros. And the most mysterious. Her Damit only had about 2,500 people last year on the island of  Rügen. The “exile” part is that the festival had to move. But organizers found another location – The Secret Forest.

So, this year the festival will be held from 9 to 11 June somewhere within 50 kilometers of Berlin. You’ll just have to watch the website to get the details.

Blackpool – Livewire Festival: Coming in late August 2017, Blackpool, England’s Livewire Festival will seem like a blast from the past. The headlining acts this year are The Jacksons, Peter Waterman’s Hit Factory, and the reunion of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith; support acts to be announced soon.

Tickets to this nostalgia trip begin at £85 for a three-day pass. The Livewire Festival runs from 25 to 27 August 2017.

Donington Park – Download Festival: Need your music festivals cranked up to 11? Look no further than the famed Donington Park for the 2017 edition of the Download Festival, the top hard rock and metal music festival in the United Kingdom. Headliners for three-day festival are System of a Down, Biffy Clyro, and Aerosmith. Other acts on the bill include: Mastodon; Steel Panther; Rob Zombie; Exodus; Ministry; Slayer; Suicidal Tendencies; and more metal and hard rock than you can shake a stick at!

The headbanging runs from 9 through 11 June 2017. Three-day passes and single-day tickets can be had here.

Frankfurt – Opera Square Festival: The inscription on the magnificent facade of Frankfurt’s Old Opera House reads “Dem Wahren Schönen Guten” – “To the true, the beautiful, the good”. The Opernplatzfest – a culinary festival annually held on Frankfurt’s Opera Square – certainly holds true to this principle.

It pays homage to what is one of the most beautiful plazas in Frankfurt, filling the city space with urbanity and pure vitality. This feast for the senses offers visitors many colourful culinary delights and a wonderfully diverse stage programme featuring everything from jazz to pop music.

The festival runs 28 June to 7 July.

Isle of Wight – Isle of Wight Festival: From 1968 to 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival was one of the biggest counterculture festivals around. Alas, the British Parliament passed legislation in 1971 specific to the island, preventing overnight open-air festivals of 5,000+ without special permission from the island council.

Thus, things were quiet until the Isle of Wight Festival was revived in 2002 at Seaclose Park. Since then, The Rolling Stones, R.E.M., The Police, Queen, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and more have all performed at the annual open-air music festival, which will be held from 8 through 11 June this year.

This year’s lineup includes main-stage headliners David Guetta, Arcade Fire, Rod Stewart, Run DMC, Texas, and Jon Stevens. Other acts on the bill include: The Pretenders; Melanie C; The Alarm; and The Germein Sisters.

Tickets to the festival are £195 for the full weekend, £80 for each day. Camping options are available, as well.

Landgraaf – Pinkpop: We’re less than a month away from one of the Netherlands’ biggest music festivals, Pinkpop! Held on the Pentecost (Pinksteren in Dutch; thus, the festival’s name) weekend annually (3 through 5 June in 2017) in Landgraaf.

The three-day festival attracts 60,000 per day to its four stages. Rush, Muse, U2, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Halen are a handful of acts to have grace Pinkpop with their presence over the nearly five decades the festival has occurred.

This year’s Pinkpop lineup includes: Justin Bieber; Green Day; Kings of Leon; Live; System of a Down; Liam Gallagher; and Ronnie Flex & Deuxperience Band.

A total of 40 acts are on this year’s bill.

Tickets are €95 per day, €195 for a three-day pass. You can also obtain a collector’s ticket for an additional €4.95, the perfect keepsake for the fun you will have at Pinkpop!

Luxembourg City – ING Night Marathon Luxembourg: Starting at 19:00 Saturday, 27 May, you can watch runners tackle a marathon through the middle of this jewel box of a city in Europe’s wealthiest duchy.

Nürburg – ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen: Otherwise known as the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, the ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen in Nürburg, Germany is unlike any other endurance competition around.

For starters, the N24 is open only to touring and grand touring cars; no LMP classes here. More than 200 cars and over 700 drivers will tackle the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife (something our own Terry Boyd has done before) and Grand-Prix-Strecke, ranging from the monsters of the FIA GT3 class, to the slower classes featuring the likes of Toyota CH-Rs, Hyundai i30s, and an occasional Opel Manta from the early 1980s.

And of course, the N24 is what happens when you mix the Le Mans 24 in a blender with Oktoberfest and Wacken Open Air: one big party with over 200,000 of your closest friends, and over 200 acts performing on one massive stage (you’ll want to consult this guide from Top Gear to prepare for the madness to come)! We certainly can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Nürburgring’s 90th anniversary, can you?

The festivities run from 25 through 28 May, with the big show kicking off at 15:30 27 May. Tickets to the N24 range from €29 for a Sunday ticket and €64 for a four-day pass, to €359 for a 24-hour lounge ticket and €499 for a VIP ticket.

Rimini – EuroPython 2017: This one’s for the 24-hour IT party people who love to flex their 24-inch Python coding skills, brother! The largest Python conference in all of Europe, EuroPython, lands in Rimini, Italy this year. The festivities run from 9 through 16 July, and tickets are available now.

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