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Rethinking the jazz festival

Reiner Michalke becomes head of the Moers Festival, replacing its founder, Burkhard Hennen, who retires after 34 years.

Reiner Michalke is no stranger to the jazz scene. He is a bass player, but also a graduate in economics. Michalke has been the programme director at Cologne's "Stadtgarten" live music venue since 1986.

From 1989 to 1996 he also ran the "post this & neo that" festival in the Kölner Philharmonie. Moreover, since 1991, he has been an artistic codirector of the jazz and improvised music programme of the "MusikTriennale Köln". He is also on the board of the "Europe Jazz Network", an association of European concert directors.

For his new challenge he will work with managing director Beatrix Wirbelauer. Reiner Michalke says his task is to "rethink the jazz festival". While ensuring that Europe's biggest open-air jazz festival remains open, he does not want to see a "dumming down". The very first move in his new job is to give to the festival a new logo.

Burkhard Hennen cofounded the event in 1972 and ran it ever since. Having arranged the programme for the last 34 years, he chose not to renew his contract. Meanwhile, another Moers impresario also says farewell: Werner Schrick, the founder of the Moers Comedy Arts Festival, calls it a day in August 2006 after his 30th season.

Irmgard Bernrieder

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