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Culture calendar

Silke Wünsch / nmSeptember 1, 2014

Oktoberfest in Munich and Beethovenfest in Bonn are just some of the major parties in Germany this September. There's also plenty for fans of photography, literature and theater in this list of tips compiled by DW.

Hugh Masekela, Copyright: Brett Rubin 2014
Image: beethovenfest.de/Brett Rubin 2014

Musical sparks fly in Bonn

Bonn without #link:http://en.beethovenfest.de/:Beethovenfest# is like Bayreuth without its Wagner festival. The former German capital is the proud birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, but the annual music festival inspired by his name has become much more than a celebration of classical favorites. Each year, the city invites international artists to perform at the four-week event - from classical stars and great interpreters of Beethoven's works to top orchestras and world-famous conductors. There are also guests from other music genres, such as South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, pictured above. This year, the festival is themed "Divine Spark," a reference to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." DW is a media partner of the festival and will be running special coverage including artist profiles, background reports and features.

Party and panels in Berlin

#link:http://www.berlin-music-week.de/en/festival/:Berlin Music Week#, a conference and music festival all rolled into one, kicks off on September 3. The four-day event is bound to take you in all sorts of musical directions, and you'll be hard pressed to find anything too mainstream. Established artists such as the Berlin collective Jazzanova, or the electro group Zoot Woman, perform along with young, up-and-coming acts from Berlin's trendy clubs.

Meanwhile, renowned DJs like Sven Väth, Wankelmut or Henrik Schwarz, who are playing sets at the #link:http://www.berlinfestival.de/en.html:Berlin Festival# in the new Arena Park, promise revelers a 48-hour non-stop party. The atmosphere at the parallel conference "Word!," on the other hand, is expected to be somewhat calmer. The program of panels and lectures will focus on the music industry, the importance of digital sales channels and opportunities for new technologies and startups.

DJ Wankelmut, Copyright: DW
DJ Wankelmut's song "One Day" topped the charts in 2012Image: Universal/Lisa-Marie Koch

Around the globe

There'll be prose and poetry from around the world at the #link:http://www.literaturfestival.com/:International Literature Festival in Berlin# from September 10-20. Anything is possible at this event in the German capital - Baltic crime authors meet Kenyan writers, and British novelists cross paths with Egyptian intellectuals. There is contemporary literature for everyone. An interesting note: All the works will be presented in their original languages followed by translations, providing a unique experience for visitors to the festival. Many authors will read from their latest works, and of course there'll also be poetry slams. This year's festival will focus on the theme "Computer games and literature."

Maximum exposure

From September 16-21, the massive #link:http://www.photokina.com/en/photokina/home/index.php:Photokina# trade show for photography takes over Cologne's exhibition center. The biennial event is the largest of its kind in the world and attracts up to 200,000 visitors, More than 1,600 exhibitors will be showcasing gadgets likely to make the digital photographer's heart beat faster. There'll be smartphone cameras, high definition SLRs, the latest Camcorders, action cameras, software for photo and video editing, slide and film technology, studio equipment, and loads of camera accessories. The digital market is getting increasingly competitive, pushing manufacturers to come up with clever new marketing tricks. No doubt it will be interesting to see what big players like Canon, Nikon or Sony can pull out of their hats this year.

Photokina fair, Copyright: Hermann J. Knippertz/dapd
Photokina: A photographer's paradiseImage: dapd

From Germany to Brazil - a story of emigration

The head of the Hamburg Schauspielhaus, Karin Beier, has already achieved considerable success in her short time at the helm of Germany's largest theater. Her latest project is a German-Brazilian co-production, which premieres on September 20. "Pfeffersäcke im Zuckerland. Eine Menschenausstellung" (in English: "Moneybags in Sugarland. A one-man exhibition") tells the story of German emigrants who left for Brazil in the 19th century. The work is complemented by a new piece by Austrian Nobel Prize-winning playwright Elfriede Jelinek, "Strahlende Verfolger" (roughly, "Radiant Followers"). The project is a collaboration between the Goethe-Institut, Sao Paulo's Social Service of Commerce, Prod.art br. Sao Paulo, and the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, Copyright: dpa - Bildfunk
Hamburg's Schauspielhaus is Germany's largest theaterImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Photographing the stars

The #link:http://zephyr-mannheim.com/preview:Zephyr# contemporary photo exhibition space in Mannheim has a special treat for rock and pop fans kicking off on September 28. Photographer Norman Seeff has photographed hundreds of artists, among them Patti Smith, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, Debbie Harry, Frank Zappa, and Alicia Keys. And what makes his works unique is that these stars willingly allowed him to photograph them - even in the intimacy of their backstage rooms before or after concerts. About 200 of Seeff's shots will be on display as part of "The Look of Sound" exhibition, which runs at the Zephyr through January 25.

Drinking culture

Waitress carrying beer at Oktoberfest, Copyright: Frank Leonhardt/dpa
Each year millions of people descend on Munich for Oktoberfest. Prost!Image: picture-alliance/dpa

And finally, we come to one of Germany's best known festivals, and the largest festival in the world: #link:http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/:Oktoberfest#. The giant carnival runs from September 20 to October 5 at Munich's Theresienwiese. Most of the partying happens inside the beer tents run by Munich's breweries, and guests are encouraged to wear the right gear - namely, traditional lederhosen or dirndl. Last year, Oktoberfest attracted 6.4 million visitors, who were served 7.5 million liters of beer, according to the organizers. The drinks aren't cheap, though - be prepared to fork out 10 euros for every liter of beer.