Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are considered as a single event even though they take place in different parts of Germany. In many ways they represent the German festival equivalents of Reading and Leeds in England. Two festivals in different parts of the country, they take place at the same time, over three days, and have basically the same line-ups at each venue. With over 150,000 people attending the combined events, these are not just the largest German music festivals but also amongst the biggest in the world.
Rock am Ring is held annually at the famous Nürburgring in the west of the country and Rock im Park in the vicinity of the Frankenstadion in Nuremberg, over in the south east.
The Rock am Ring festival began back in 1985 when alterations were made to the race track at the tiny village in the Eifel region of Germany. More than 75,000 people turned out that year and the organizers were therefore encouraged to make the occasion annual. The present day format of the Rock am Ring was more or less reached by 1991 – well-known international artists, up-and-coming bands and good German performers all being showcased.
It was 1993 when Rock im Park was introduced, at that time being held in Vienna, but it has been at its current venue in Nuremberg since 1997. Both festivals now can fully expect to sell out for the weekend, with anything up to 100 separate acts performing at both venues. Famous names that have been on the bill during recent years include Depeche Mode, INXS, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns and Roses, REM, Placebo, Linkin Park, White Stripes, Stereophonics, Prodigy and far too many others to mention.
Rock am Ring actually takes place within the northern ‘loop’ of the old Nürburgring race circuit – the current Formula 1 race takes place on the modernized southern loop. Nürburg village itself and the medieval castle with the same name are actually inside the racing circuit, which is about 40 miles south of Cologne and 75 miles north west of Frankfurt. Camping is available on the site itself and the Festival village, in what is actually a fairly remote German region, is famous for its atmosphere. Cologne, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt Am Main are the nearest airports but be careful – Frankfurt Hahn, used by some budget airlines, is actually 75 miles west of the city itself.
Nuremberg, of course, is a much larger city, over half a million inhabitants, with attractions outside the Rock im park Festival itself. This makes the Nuremberg venue generally easier to access for visitors from Britain. Nuremberg airport is a hub for Air Berlin and, therefore, quite busy. Additionally, by rail Munich is now only one hour away and the major A3 autobahn from Holland to Vienna and the A6 France to Prague road both pass close to the city. Nuremberg also has an excellent public transport service and the Rock im Park Festival ticket allows free travel on all the buses and trams within the city.
These linked festivals are sure to appeal to lovers of rock music with more than 100 hours of the best modern music live on stage each year. The Rock am Ring and Rock im Park Festivals take place around Pentecost each year with the official dates for each festival being announced at http://www.rock-am-ring.com/ and http://www.rock-im-park.com/ .