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For the 50th time tenor berserkers, subversive audio agitators, electro nerds, angry poets and the legends of the tomorrow will invade a small village at the tranquil Lower Rhine: It is Whitsun, it is mœrs festival! An international sensation of the unforeseen, a celebration of acute senses - some people saw the world differently afterwards and came back even more curious the next year. We won’t disclose what will happen at the festival hall, festivaldorf, park and the whole city from 21. to 24. May 2021, we just let you know: It will be more different than you expect!

Missed a concert? Want to watch the stream again? Watch various concerts until December 2nd, 2020 at arte CONCERT. Please click here!

How can you get a refund or donate your ticket? Please click here!

Who will be playing when? Find the answer here!

I stream. You stream? We all stream! This year, mœrs festival comes to you! Where can you watch the analogue super-livestream-festival 2020 #vereinzeltversammelt?

The Livestream starts on Friday, 29th May 2020 at 2:40 PM on our website, on arte CONCERT and on facebook (control the applause with your likes). Up to 12 hours livestream each day!

# vereinzeltversammelt

How do you experience moers festival 2020? Send us your messages from the balcony, the backyard or park… Comment on facebook, post on Instagram, tweet, send us pictures, poems or videos, send us a mail! #vereinzeltversammelt

Become part of the analogue super-livestream-festival 2020 on, arte CONCERT or facebook! Enter our super-sweepstake and win the grand prize of the entire mœrschandise-Shop!*

How does it work?

Facebook: Tag us @moersfestival and use #vereinzeltversammelt. Please note: You’ll have to post publicly so that we can see what you posted!

Instagram: Tag @moersfestival in your picture or video and use #vereinzeltversammelt

Twitter: Tag @moers_festival and use #vereinzeltversammelt

Via E-Mail: Don’t like Social Media? Drop us an E-Mail: vereinzeltversammelt(@)moers-festival(.)de!

*the winner will be drawn after the festival. The grand prize is one of each item from our mœrschandise-Shop!

Yes, our musicians are on site, playing with real light on a real stage. Filmed live by Arte concert and streamed in real time. Of course, only the musicians who are allowed to be here, who do not have to observe entry bans or quarantine obligations. And so we are proud to present an exciting, surprising, real mœrs-festival program, with artists from well over 20 countries and from all continents. With a stylistic variety that makes Moers unique in the global festival landscape. Madrigals of murderers, chants of thanksgiving from jubilees, cheeky noise from the French, bruitistic electronics, finest impros, Dutch humour and Latin drum storms...

Here you can and read through the whole program.

The new form for moers festival 2020 has been met with great enthusiasm! When it comes down to it, we are one of the very few large-scale events taking place at the moment. However, there are still a lot of questions, concerns, worries, irritations and doubts out there – and we’d like to address them as best as we can.

Take a look at our FAQs or get in touch with us directly!

Dear friends of mœrs festival,

Perhaps you will recall our last newsletter from November 4th 2019, as Miss Unimoers barked out a command over the radio to the mœrs festival time capsule drifting in space: “TACIT!” (silence descended on the capsule – the smuggler commander drew nervously on his digital cigarette). “I’ve seen a whole lot in my time, since 1972, heard a lot, lived a lot...” (reverent nodding in the cockpit) “...and the benevolent moon above Moers shook its head often enough at me too. We are poised on the eve of a memorable event. Are you aware of this?” No, we weren’t aware at all.

At that point in time, no one could suspect what Miss Unimoers naturally already knew. She spoke constantly in riddles, “new ways to fly!”, “whatever it takes!” or “y’all come join us”, and made cryptic allusions. Now we all know what she was hinting at.

Since the first moment that we were confronted with the reality that nearly our entire cultural existence would come to a stillstand, for us it was never a question of whether mœrs 2020 would take place, but how it would take place. As everything to which we are accustomed was coming unhinged, we were working diligently in our time capsule on a way to be able to realise the festival and to make it as analogue and personal as possible in this digital manifestation.

We are going to have to go in new directions after 48 festival years – as artists, as organisational team, as audience, as fans. We’re going to improvise together and try out new ways of being connected, new modes of community. As a gathering of the scattered, together we will experience the whole story of the 49th edition of mœrs festival. Many artists have pledged their help, and our sponsors, funders and media partners also support this daring leap into the unknown.

And this is what mœrs 2020 looks like:

Two separate prominent areas, facing one another, at a reasonable distance. In between: kilometres of cable, high voltage current, bubbling noises, special workers in protective suits casting ashen shadows, industrial spies. Atop the slightly elevated main areas, sound magicians make frequent appearances, hailing from all the countries that still – or once again – enjoy the freedom to travel. Ha! Suddenly, cheering erupts, the enraptured crowd floods the sound and image incubation grounds, breaking through the barriers! Alas, hold on, no, it’s a hoax, merely pre-recorded footage harkening back to bygone days... In a dark corner, a gentleman sits smirking behind his protective mask, peculiar spectacles perched upon his nose, an electronic wishing-table at his feet. A sigh of relief: all of the distancing decrees have been followed to the letter.

mœrs 2020 is making a colossal effort: it’s making a space for art to unfold, it’s the last Mohican, it’s a vaccine, it overcomes social distance while strictly upholding physical distance, it aims to strengthen morale and encourage and connect people. It’s creating as much dialogue as possible, in order to be right up close for a tactile live experience. Thus, Miss Unimoers returns home in 2020 to see the Festival Hall transformed into a gigantic live television concert studio. She sees Jacques Palminger as master of ceremonies, telling elegant, surreal mini-stories while introducing a band in passing. She sees a light show and stage production going on in the background, a little discussion session off in a corner and a woman with scholarly insight conducting intermittent interviews with colleagues in a charming manner. Periodically, journalists and photographers flit across the screen. And you are there the whole time too, with your 21st century snapshots showing how you’re sharing festival moments with the protagonists in the concert hall, whether you’re on the banks of the Rhine, on your couch, or in Brooklyn. And the musicians can see and feel all of that on stage too.

To make this vision a reality, the festival needs your help: Send us videos, photos and messages that we can feature in our stream! Get your back-up batteries ready, get enough sleep beforehand, hoard enough supplies, connect the good old stereo and grab your best headphones, set up a screen in the garden: scattered, we gather! Tell us your Moers 2020 stories!

By coming together in this way, we all become an antidote that opens up the senses and enables us to take flight. In 2020, Moers is once again the right place to be, still celebrating the eve of a memorable event. But we actually already knew that, didn’t we?

Y’all have to come watch!

Sincerely yours,

Tim Isfort

P.S. Please stay at home with your tickets, have them refunded or not if you so choose (you’ll find more info regarding your options on our website). Show artists that they are “system-relevant” and please stay healthy!

Whitsun 2020, the 49th edition of moers festival, the “eve” of our golden anniversary. A very special occasion for us, for which we have developed a very special programme. In these unusual times, we would like to present a festival that spreads fun and boosts morale, that expands our focus and brings people together – in whatever form proves possible.

Under the slogan “new ways to fly” the festival once again sets out to new terrain, new adventures, discoveries and new very special sounds.

In 2020, projects by and featuring women are one of our main focal points. PENG Does Moers! mœrs festival is proud to co-operate with the Essen-based PENG Festival to present a number of formations in which the ladies set the tone – unfortunately still far from being a given in today’s scene. In addition, three internationally respected female improvisers will be presenting their 51 % project. Joëlle Léandre, Maggie Nicols and Silke Eberhard will each be inviting further female musicians to join in a heavy-hitting nonet, for a world premiere performance.

There is a crucial reunion on the agenda, with the charismatic Camae Ayewa and her band Irreversible Entanglements, who combine politically engaged lyrics with energetic free jazz – and this time they’re bringing along no less special a guest than Mr. Archie Shepp himself. The 83-year-old venerable master, who once played with Coltrane and has shaped the history of African-American jazz like few individuals before or since, fits the wide-awake, unrelenting attitude of the young quintet supremely.

After a 31-year absence, we are delighted to welcome Heiner Goebbels back to mœrs festival. His band The Mayfield formed in the wake of one of his more recent theatre projects. Five young musicians from four countries improvise here in an idiosyncratic, revolutionary style.

For just the second time in 49 years, we are delighted to host one of the giants of modern jazz in Moers: John Scofield will be bringing along two phenomenal artists in their own right, comrades Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart, who have been by the guitarist’s side for decades.

The festival Monday is devoted to the legendary John Zorn. The New Yorker saxophonist/composer/bandleader will be presenting two current compositions, featuring two world-class interpreters in soprano Barbara Hannigan and pianist Steve Gosling. On top of that, Zorn will also be performing an unaccompanied solo set, in a programme focus with the charming title “Picasso”. However: the genial painter isn’t the point of reference here – instead we celebrate the first unaccompanied horn solo in recorded jazz history, as committed to wax in 1948 by Coleman Hawkins. The Picasso spotlight will intervene in the stage programme repeatedly: in addition to Zorn, this section will also feature performances by Archie Shepp, Wolfgang Puschnig and other extraordinary artists.

Our city focus this year will celebrate the music culture of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Abeba. The members of Kaÿn Lab play a refined type of Ethiopian jazz, with crisp rhythms and a ton of energy. Norwegian super drummer Paal Nilssen-Love has dreamed up a brilliant collaboration: his 14-piece Large Unit will be expanded with two Brazilian and six Ethiopian musicians, including well-known dancer Melaku Belay. A bubbling melting pot and seriously intense listening experience.

Artists from São Paulo will also once again grace the stage in Moers. Above all of course this year’s wonderful improviser in residence, Mariá Portugal, who will be presenting (among other things) the newest project from her band Quartabê, a deep dive into the Brazilian music tradition. Fellow drummer Guilherme Kastrup will be making an appearance with his quartet, which has committed itself to the fusion of hot, tropical rhythms with jazz and electronics.

Three large-scale projects are devoted to the fascinating zone where new music meets free improvisation. No less than two projects examine the work of minimal composer and performer Julius Eastman, who passed away 30 years ago and is still largely unknown in Germany/Europe. The young American band Horse Lords has dedicated its most recent project to him, promising, in simple terms, “Eastman goes rock!” Next, four pianists, assembled around ringleader and Folkwang professor Patricia Martin, who herself once worked with Eastman personally, will perform original versions of his music on four grand pianos.

The world-renowned ensemble ChorWerk Ruhr, under the direction of Florian Helgath, will encounter Marc Schmolling’s quintet. Together, they will feel their way through Schmolling’s delicate compositions and improvisations and contrast them with the spirited madrigals of Gesualdo.

28 musicians join forces to form Onceim, a French ensemble for those especially extraordinary projects. Festival listeners will be treated to interpretations of the unique slow-burn music of 88-year-old composing legend Éliane Radigue, who started creating pioneering electronic music in the 1950s and transitioned over the decades to transferring her experiences and sound concepts to the world of acoustic instruments. A fine, subtle sonic stream to immerse one’s self in.

mœrs festival also plans to mark the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth. Two very different programme points, both from Vienna of course, are devoted to the master. Wolfgang Mitterer will use the composer’s nine symphonies as material for a stimulating, irreverent remix, to which old Moers hands Wolfgang Puschnig and Herbert Pirker will improvise. The virtuoso Auner Quartett, on the other hand, will explore the original versions of Beethoven’s late-period compositions and demonstrate how radical and modern this music still sounds today. For a further Beethoven interpretation, the string quartet will be joined by young musicians from the NRW State Youth Orchestra.

The composition competition composer kids will take place for the third year running – mœrs festival looks forward to receiving many submissions. Wolfgang Puschnig has already reserved the enviable role of learning, rehearsing and performing the young artists’ works along with the project band.

We’re going to improvise. Hang tight. And prepare to be surprised.
New Ways to Fly
moers festival 2020