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Some of you will remember that I attended the Elbjazz Festival in Hamburg earlier this year as part of my ambassadorship with Hamburg on Tour. The idea was to experience a real Hamburg festival for myself and then to help Hamburg on Tour bring that Hamburg festival vibe to LONDON. Here’s everything I got up to during the Hamburg on Tour 2018 London event in Shoreditch. From hip hop dance-offs to tasting coffee liqueur with tonic water (surprisingly good), there was a lot going on.
Bringing Hamburg Festival to LONDON
About Hamburg on Tour
Hamburg on Tour is an annual event that aims to bring a taste of Hamburg festival spirit to London. The festival is a giant celebration of all things Hamburg and is completely free to attend. There are various events, performances, displays, tastings and more running throughout each day of the festival. People of all ages attend to learn more about Hamburg and experience a snapshot of the various festivals held there throughout the year. This year it was held in Shoreditch on the 1st and 2nd of September. Keep an eye on the website to see the dates for next year.
You can read more about Hamburg on Tour here.
My Hamburg on Tour Festival Experience in Shoreditch
Having experienced Elbjazz in real life I was curious as to whether Hamburg on Tour would be able to properly convey the Hamburg festival vibe. But the minute I arrived at the Old Truman Brewery I knew it would be perfect. Firstly, Brick Lane was an excellent location choice. I’ve always thought that Brick Lane has a sort of constant festival vibe with the bright street art, drunk gangs of people, offbeat dress sense of the locals and the plethora of international food offerings.
I made sure that I was wearing the most sparkly outfit I could imagine in order to get myself properly into the festival spirit. SimplyBe kindly sent me the most glittery disco trousers I’ve ever seen in my life AND glittery runners. Everywhere I went sparkles trailed behind me. I ended up rubbing my hands on my trousers and putting the glitter on my face for an extra bit of shimmer. I felt like a glorious human disco ball.
As I walked to the venue I noticed spray painted signs on the ground pointing me towards the festival, as well as tall sailors with Hamburg tattoos and individual names written across their hats. Not to mention the gorgeous Hamburg mural painted by Davina Cochrane (@dave.davina) on Dray Walk, pointing passersby towards the festival.
When I arrived at the venue there were murals outside saying “Hamburg Festival”, inviting people inside. Symbols of the city, anchors and boats, had been painted on the walls too. They made for a great photo opp depending on the time of day (LOTS of foot traffic made it hard to get a photo at midday). There was no queue for entry when I arrived at 4pm so I just strolled right in.
The festival was on until 11pm on the Saturday, so I basically stayed for about 7 hours. There was just so much to do! There was beer tasting of the local beer of Hamburg, LÜTTE HÖÖG, which was completely free. And if you just wanted to buy a full bottle it was £2.50, BARGAIN! There was also Skin Gin, the local gin created by a man living in Hamburg, tasting with tonic. You could buy a gin and Lemonaid+ for £4.00 if you needed more than just a taste. I used to think I didn’t like gin, but it’s actually tonic I don’t like. The Skin Gin and Lemonaid+ was delicious.
If you’d rather no alcohol then there were several soft drink options. I loved the Fritz-Kola, a local cola created in Hamburg. When I posted a picture on my Instagram stories I got a message from one of my followers saying that she knew the guy on their logo. Such a small world! There was also a Lemonaid+ stand where you could create your own fresh, fruity, sparkling drink. Lemonaid+ was created in St.Pauli in Hamburg. It is made from organic ingredients and is fair trade certified so you can feel like you’re doing a good deed by drinking it.
I needed a little pep in my step to keep me awake so I made sure to attend the coffee tasting at the Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei stand. They were offering a taste of various coffees but in the spirit of it being a festival I opted for the coffee liqueur with tonic. It turns out coffee liqueur makes tonic much more palatable. After the little dose of caffeine I was ready to dance the evening away to the music on the main stage.
The crowds at the festival were so much fun. Toddlers ran around the outdoor area, pointing inquisitively at all the bright colours and unfamiliar faces. There were people of all ages and nationalities. Everyone was in high spirits and no one was rowdy. Much like my time at the Elbjazz festival!
On the main stage they had performances from several Hamburg artists. My favourite performance was the HipHop Academy Hamburg. Their dance off and singing was SO entertaining. I actually did an Instagram live stream during the performance. There was also a presentation giving info about how the Beatles got their start in St.Pauli in Hamburg, which was full of fun facts and info that I’d never heard before.
One of my favourite things at the Hamburg on Tour festival was the photography exhibition. Photographer Kevin Mcelvaney was given the task of attending several Hamburg festivals and photographing them to capture their spirit and vibe. He did an incredible job. His photos from Wacken festival made me want to visit the festival next year. There’s just so many Hamburg festivals to choose from!
Eventually my feet couldn’t hold me up any longer. There were plenty of spots to sit at the festival but I was so tired by 10.30pm, from running around all the various exhibits (and propping up the bar), that I feared I’d fall asleep if I sat down. So I left the festival and headed back down Brick Lane to my hotel, Motel One Tower Hill, for a good night’s sleep. Yeah, I know, that’s very boring of me, but the bed was so comfortable and inviting that I could nearly hear it calling my name. I’m not 20 anymore, no more partying until 4am for me, haha.
Make sure to keep and eye on the Hamburg on Tour website for the dates for Hamburg on Tour for 2019!
Would you attend the Hamburg on Tour Festival next year?