That's exactly where I met with Anke Rebholz and Oliver Weber. The former long-time project manager and the experienced event technician told me about the romantic ambience of the castle courtyard and the many special features of the Rhine-Hessian festival.
Culture and joie de vivre in the castle
The path to Alzey Castle leads me across the busy Rossmarkt into Schlossgasse and through an old city gate. I look at the magnificent building, which in turn looks back on an eventful history of residence, war, destruction and reconstruction. I enter the building through a narrow gate and a few steps later find myself on the inviting green space in the inner courtyard. Here I have an appointment with Anke Rebholz and Oliver Weber. For many years, she was the head of the department for citizen services at the Alzey city council, and he is an event technician. Both are united by their passion for a common project: the Da Capo Festival.
For over 20 years, the castle has opened its doors to artists and visitors every summer. And the two have been an integral part of the event team for almost as long. "We're part of the old iron," Oliver Weber smiles. "And it was really fun from day one," adds Anke Rebholz. Da Capo is pure joie de vivre, she says, and "the absolute cultural highlight in the calendar of events in the city of Alzey." Under the open sky, the audience enjoys a varied, four-day cultural program as well as delicious catering including Rheinhessen wine. "This all-round wonder bar package is particularly great," enthuses the former project manager.
Big stars and big feelings
The Da Capo Festival has been following the same scheme for many years in order to offer attractive Program points to offer. Thursday starts with comedy, on Fridays and Saturdays rock or pop music is played, and on Sundays classical music is traditionally performed. "It has become clear that this range is really well received," explains Anke Rebholz. Time and again, she says, impulses come directly from the city's citizens - as do incredulous inquiries when world stars actually announce themselves. "We make sure that our guests are satisfied with the program, and we're happy if there's something in it that we personally particularly like.
I ask what that is, and Oliver Weber states that he is "very flexible due to his job. As long as the music has room to breathe and is not too electronic, he can live with anything. Anke Rebholz's musical taste is more concrete, with rock and pop music. In the context of the Da Capo Festival, she also expressly raves about the classical music concerts: "This precision and at the same time the sentimentality - that comes into its own quite excellently in this ambience. And that's something I particularly enjoy!"
Between the district court and the girls' boarding school
Speaking of ambience ... When I ask them what makes the Da Capo Festival so special compared to other open-air festivals, they both immediately agree: the setting. "We are here in a beautiful romantic castle courtyard," says Anke Rebholz, "and also in the jurisdiction of the district court of the city of Alzey." That really is very special. In fact, the Alzey castle houses both the court on one side and a boarding school for girls on the other. "Our artists also find this circumstance exciting and sometimes incorporate it into the stage show."
For Oliver Weber, this ambience is also unique, even though the castle presents him with many a logistical challenge. Because of the narrow access roads into the historic walls, the equipment needed for stage technology, lighting and sound technology can only be transported in extremely small pieces. In addition, the acoustics are different than at other open-air festivals. "And where is there a stage with a tree in front of it in the middle?" laughs the event technician. Thanks to the many years of experience of the Da Capo team, however, these challenges can all be mastered with routine.
Small and fine - and live
While we talk about said team, both emphasize the personal atmosphere of the event. "Da Capo is small and fine," says Anke Rebholz, and Oliver Weber agrees: "It's a small, dinky festival." That starts with the organization behind the scenes, continues with the artist support and ends with the immediate proximity between audience and star. "It's just nice to come back here every year. This community is what makes the festival," sums up the technical director, and Anke Rebholz nods eagerly: "The artists also really like it here, precisely because everything is so familiar."
When Anke Rebholz looks back over the years, it is always individual moments, encounters and conversations with them that are particularly memorable. She remembers the funny Samu Haber from Sunrise Avenue or the totally relaxed Bülent Ceylan. And of the wonderful performance by violinist Tamaki Kawakubo: "There was absolute silence and beautiful playing. And then a girl from the boarding school let a shutter crash down with delight." Although the artist reacted absolutely professionally, the audience could not help laughing. "Well, that's just live ..." By the way, in the meantime, the Da Capo Festival always takes place on the penultimate weekend of the summer vacations in Rhineland-Palatinate. You don't have to tempt fate!
Your visit to the Da Capo Festival in Alzey
The exciting stories of Anke Rebholz and Oliver Weber have awakened a desire for comedy or music in a romantic castle courtyard atmosphere? Perfect! Feel free to browse through the current Program and get the right Ticket.