South of the city centre, the island of Wilhelmsburg is surrounded by the mighty Elbe river. The eponymous quarter is home to an all-around young and urban crowd — Artists and musicians value the area for its moderate rents and proximity to the centre. In order to give an overview of the many musical projects that have formed in this special part of town, the 48h Wilhelmsburg festival was established in 2010. Regardless of genre or origin, the weekend-long event attempts to portray music on the island in its entirety. Traditional, classical and modern music appear next to each other as equals. Turkish, Iranian and Spanish tunes can be listened to, just like reggae, rap and rock songs. The idea is to advertise the cultural diversity that is so defining for the quarters’ spirit rather than to make money: accordingly, the festival is entirely free of charge. Instead, visitors get the chance to purchase an armband for a small fee in order to express their support of the idea.
As a special treat, the founders of the festival have chosen to further exploit the similarity to New York’s Williamsburg quarter. An exchange programme has been created to bring New York’s finest talents to Hamburg.
Next to established music venues like Honigfabrik and Turtur, 48h Wilhelmsburg will take place in many makeshift off locations. In order to make sure that all participating artists can find a place to play their music to the eager audience, concerts will take place on boats, in nursing homes, in living rooms and gardens. In this way, the event creates spaces for people and cultures to meet and listen to music together.