A Festival that Brings People Together

When we are asked to contribute to graffiti festivals, we usually don’t need a whole lot of convincing. But when that festival takes place in the hometown of Montana Cans, Heidelberg, Germany, we are on fire! The Metropolink festival has now been held twice, and each time with an incredible outcome. As UNESCO, Creative City Heidelberg has been a hiphop and graffiti hub ever since it started flowing over to Germany from the USA via movies and pop culture. Even today, there continues to be a variety of events around urban art in different venues in the city.

Organizer Pascal Baumgärtner’s focus is to create new and beautiful places that bring people of different age groups and of all walks of life together. And even in the first year of the Metropolink festival, he took great strides to achieve his goal: Many live mural paintings were featured all over the city, 24 mobile cubes were used as exhibition rooms, there were workshops for kids, a symposium about art in public spaces was held, 6 different exhibitions opened their doors for the first time and 30 junction boxes were redesigned. For round two, the Metropolink team attempted to involve all of Heidelberg’s city districts.

The festival created an artistic synthesis from July 8 to July 22, 2016, including an extensive array of attractions. In the city district of Kirchheim, a public gallery was created by international artists such as Stohead, Pau and SweetUno. The ever-grey concrete walls of the industrialized apartment block in Emmertsgrund got a makeover by none other than Henrik Beikirch. The roster includes even more internationally renowned artists, such as Herakut, SMASH137, Limow and many more. In overseas ship containers positioned on the Bismarck plaza, spectators could debate with refugees or homeless people, and even give full scope to their creative minds. The „Raumfänger“, a mobile event tent, featured contextualized Poetry Slams and concerts.

A documentation center took you on a wild journey through Heidelberg’s graffiti history from its first steps up to today. One special highlight was the “Urban-Romatic-Tour” which enabled the passengers on board to watch artists while they do what they do best: contribute to the urban scope of originality. The convertible bus took you to 18 different stops in 8 districts. The diverse program proves that we have a city in which creativity can and should be lived out, says mayor Eckart Würzner. We agree and are proud to have been a part of this great beginning.

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Photos by ©MONTANA-CANS / Manuel Wagner