Super World Interview Time – We speak to Stefan of the mighty Haldern Pop!

While finding out all about Super World Indie Tunes, one name kept popping up again and again – Haldern Pop, the festival label, and venue located in the German town of Haldern (obviously). We were delighted to catch up with Stefan Reichmann as they prepare for the 2019 festival, their 36th!

How did the first Pop Festival come about?

We were young, full of energy and we were bored. Perfect to set up something which we could run together in our small village. Between the big world and the music was the red line.

It has obviously gone from strength to strength, did you think it would still be running 36 years later?

It’s like a good football match, you lose and win but you did it together. That was the secret, and we collect so many stories and experiences in the end. We never had a clue about what will happen 36 years later. It was more to enjoy the moment for everybody and the sparkling risk was our ball we had to share.

What’s exciting you about the 2019 festival?

Everything. We don’t lose this sparkling feeling to play with our expectations but we learned that hospitality and passion is the key to create trust and positive experiences. We love what we do more than 36 years in a row. We run this together since the beginning out of the safety of our warm village but open for the big world and all the diverse stories. The music is our key instrument to bring everything together and to share with all our guests. So many bands and artists try to be on board to be part of this rare „festival boat“. The trust of each other will take care of us. Great artists will be on stage from the raw sweet power of IDLES and Fountaines DC to the smooth urban storytelling of Loyle Carner, the soul of Michael Kiwanuka to the fun of Haiku Hands.

There has been a real proliferation of festivals Europe-wide over the last twenty years, how do you keep your festival fresh, relevant and different?

Be true, not better.

You have expanded from the festival into venue/studio and record label? Was that always the plan?

No, but we discovered so much music. We learned that this trust we create over the years to artists and our audience is a great value. Our Haldern Pop universe runs a Label, Booking Agency, a record store, a live “off day Bar“ and the design & communication department. We have to bring it to the next generation like the light of a candle in a stormy night in cold days.

Photo: Christoph Buckstegen

What’s an average day like for you?

Bring my youngest son Hugo to the kindergarten, listen to two hours music which I got recommended, answer questions, drink coffee, look out of the window and ignore my mobile phone until 11 am.

What’s the musical ethos behind the Haldern Pop– how do you decide what fits and what doesn’t?

Listen. The silent revolution. Try to keep it simple, confident and true… god saves the queen.

What’s the secret of your success so far?

I never lose my love for music to the money.

Where do you do most of your listening?

In my car and early in the morning in the office.

How did/do you find talent?

A good network. I got a lot of recommendations from other artists. I use the time with all the artists who visit me in my own bar to talk about music and to share this with them. I’m an amateur.

Can you offer any advice to new bands? How should they go about getting their music heard?

This is what I can tell you: If you would like to be a known artist, be also a very attended audience member. Go out and listen to the other ones, get in touch with them and share your attention. Be true, not better.

Money For Rope – Actually, a recent Haldern Pop release.

What’s exciting you for the future?

The new blues will come from the east and be careful the dreams of the other ones.

What act, not currently on the label or appearing at the festival, would you love to engage with?

Peter Gabriel.

How do you feel about the health of the German music scene at the moment? What artists are currently putting the country on the map?

I’m not sure but the German scene is a little bit too clever as to be exciting. But some good examples are German bands like Die Nerven, Brand Brauer Frick and Bernd Begemann.

What’s the best new band/ artist you’ve heard?

Fontaines DC, Orville Peck and Rayland Baxter.

Is the upturn in vinyl sales having any effect on the label?

Yes, our society is not the main one but they have deep roots … vinyl teach them to listen to the whole story.

What makes you happy?

My wife and children.

What’s the most challenging thing that happened since you started Haldern Pop?

My family.

What would you do if you were invisible for a day?

Be part of a management meeting of my favourite soccer team FC Schalke 04.

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