Haldern Pop Festival: Who not to miss

haldern pop festival

Set in the heart of the countryside of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s legendary small-and-staying-that-way festival Haldern Pop is about to blossom upon the pastures for the thirty-first time. Its roots reach down to an annual party held by altar servers, with music being played from records only; since then, its stages have been graced by the likes of Bob Geldof,┬áBelle & Sebastian, Ian Brown, Bright Eyes, The War on Drugs and Fleet Foxes. With each edition selling out months in advance, this is a true musical pilgrimage. One patron has already informed us that he’ll be camped in prime position beside a manure heap, dressed as a “crashed-down zeppelin mechanic”. This is a festival tinged with wonder, and the music hasn’t even begun yet.

We have, however, compiled a fleeting list of performances that promise to be particularly magical – so now’s a nice time to reach for your coloured highlighter set and timetable and get scribbling.


Well, this is an obvious one. Patti Smith is an icon. Not only is she an incredible musician, but she’s also a writer and activist; her most recent book, Just Kids, is a masterpiece that’s embedded in the hearts of aspiring artists and muses the world over. It’s going to be a truly special treat to see her in such intimate surroundings.


Mockasin’s woozy, submerged-in-water sexual sounds are an adventure in aquatic audial bliss. An eccentric and quietly spoken character, he is schooled in the art of shaggy wigs and satin pyjamas. After playing the festival last year, he’s back to grace the stage with his blonde-bobbed, ethereal presence. His live performance adds a wonderfully tense element to the songs, stretching them out with extended jams that pull them tight like rubber bands, snapping into breathy silence.


These guys promise sweat, nudity, and serpentine stage gyrations. Enough said. It’s going to be killer. In fact, they’ve written a song about how much they’d like to be in Connan Mockasin’s band: perhaps there’s some cameo potential here?


Rollicking, rolling, warm and smooth; the music of Kurt Vile is like a shard of morning sunlight filtering between your blinds and brushing your shoulders.


Admittedly, I originally put this one forward a little tentatively upon finding their last record a bit iffy. But after seeing them play OFF Festival in Poland on the weekend, these guys get a tick and a gold sticker-star. There’s an Atlantan garage-rock monarchy unfolding here.


Toubin is the charismatic conductor of the New York Night Train, a late-night dance revolution that combines the sweet sounds of fifties and sixties R&B/rock and roll with soul 45s. Guided by the expertise of his nimble fingers and astonishing collection of seven-inches, prepare to twist until you’re wrung out like a flannel.

Well, that’s it! See you for a frolic in the fields, children. Look out for our festival review soon. For more deets about the festival, head to their website.

Chloe Mayne


Words by Chloe Mayne