(Video subtitles available)
Hello Peter Holik! The Fährmannsfest is located between three districts in Hannover: Mitte, Nordstadt and Linden. Is this neighborly cooperation something typical of Hannover?
Absolutely! The Fährmannsfest started as a music festival, only on the Glocksee side in Mitte. In 1994 I brought the Children's and Culture Festival to the opposite side of the river, to Faustwiese in Linden. Since then it is also a district party. Without our neighbors we can not do this in the middle of it. Children's cultural festival, the neighborhood - they like that, even if they are not rock'n'rollers. And our neighbors, like the Faust or the Stärkestrasse, are also our suppliers for electricity and water.
The festival stands for inclusion, tolerance and anti-fascism. Nationalist parties all over Europe are getting more and more votes. Have festivals like the Fährmannsfest become more important?
They've always been important - like Woodstock. Woodstock was this first big fanfare, this rock'n'roll culture. For peace in the world and against the Vietnam War - that's Woodstock and we're part of Woodstock. We also call ourselves "The little Woodstock at the Leine River". The whole rock'n'roll scene in the world is infected with Woodstock. Call them peace people, even "potheads" if you wish. No culture really - Rock'n'Roller. And they were always against the right and against fascism and war.
"For peace in the world and against the Vietnam War - that's Woodstock and we're part of Woodstock."
Was that always the case at the Fährmannsfest?
The whole milieu of the Fährmannsfest has always been political for 36 years. But there was a big turnaround: Until 1989, the festival was made of 500 people, one day long. At that time there was already the DVU in Lower Saxony, a right-wing party, who created a tense atmosphere. Then the venues Faust and Glocksee, and musicians like Fury in the Slaugtherhouse said "Go. We ask the ferryman if we can do a 'Rock gegen Rechts' (engl. Rock against Right) festival."
And how did that go?
This was the first time that 5,000 visitors attended the Fährmannsfest. Since then we are a festival, we have written "colorful instead of brown" on top. What now turns out to be a historic farce - nationalism, chauvinism, folkish and all that stuff, this is deeply sad - it has nothing to do with our culture. We're really sorry that something like that ever grows in people's minds. But it is not part of us and we do not feel like a battering ram against it. We simply feel at home here. We have a 'homeland festival' right here.