A Musical Guide to Tübingen, Germany

Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart…we often center our attention on the big cities when looking for exciting music events, but one of the best things about music is finding it in unexpected or undiscovered places. One such place is Tübingen. Tübingen is a traditional university town in the central German region of Baden-Württemberg, 30 kilometers from Stuttgart. The city hosts some praiseworthy, national-caliber music events that give larger German cities a run for their money.


One popular event is RACT!, a massive musical and political festival that draws around 30,000 people every summer. The musical component features mainly local bands from around Tübingen. The festival is also a platform for political demonstrations—you can find the Pirate Party camped out there. Every year there are about 40 bands, playing everything from hip-hop to rock, even some ska. The entrance is free, and anybody can take part in the organization process or play music. Some bigger German names that have played at the festival are Casper, Nick Suave, Maeckes & Plan B, and Olli Banjo.


The JAZZ & KLASSIKTAGE, which takes place in October, is true to its genres of jazz and classical music. The festival presents professional, international musicians and ensembles, but also puts unknown artists and local talents in the spotlight. The festival has an extensive open format; there are even performances of opera and choral music, as well as some acoustic guitar and jam sessions. In the evenings the festival opens up for dancing, with the music turning more to soul, funk, swing and bossa nova (don’t diss bossa nova ’til you’ve tried it). When all’s said and done there are 70 concerts everywhere in the city, in the streets, in bars and clubs, concert halls, and restaurants, so you can’t hide from the mass of diverse music.


For the mellower Birkenstock wearers, or if you need somewhere to take your artistic girlfriend (just kidding, that’s a gender stereotype), there is also the Singer & Songwriter Festival TÜBINGEN LAUSCHT. This event takes place in July in Tübingen’s historical market place in the city’s Altstadt. The Altstadt of Tübingen is undeniably one of the most beautiful spots in Germany and is naturally suitable for such a music event. Artists like Olli Schulz (Germany), Max Herre (Germany), Gisbert zu Knyphausen (Germany), Sophie Hunger (Switzerland), Christian Kjellvander (Sweden), Nada Surf (U.S.A.) and the legendary Lloyd Cole (U.K.) have already played at the festival.

When visiting Tübingen, additional notable sites to check out are the following venues: SudhausEpplehaus, Club Voltaire, and Zoo. The bands Boy and Crippled Black Phoenix will be stopping through Tübingen in the next couple months.

–Elisabeth Hergt